Is Chick-fil-A Ohio and America's top spot for fast food? Not so fast

Is Chick-fil-A Ohio and America's top spot for fast food? Not so fast
(Business Insider)

FOX19 - If Chick-fil-A were running for office, it would win in a landslide electoral victory, including Ohio which has voted for the winner in all presidential elections but one.

"These are the most popular fast food chains in every state — and America has a clear winner," Business Insider claimed in a tweet Thursday that was later deleted, along with a map showing the popular chicken sandwich place engulfing the United States.

Hold on, there are some serious issues with that claim. Crazy, right? Even if you love yourself some chicken sandwiches, it's a tall order to buy that it's the top dog in Ohio fast food. You would think it would be Wendy's or McDonald's — something that you see at every highway exit.

See California siding with Raising Cane's? There's only five of those in the entire state, all of them in Los Angeles and Orange County. No, Californians are flocking to L.A. to guzzle Cane's Sauce. As good as it is, that probably isn't a thing.

There are 59 Chick-fil-A locations in Ohio, a sizable amount, but not ubiquitous. But it is unlikely everyone in the Buckeye State is getting Spicy Chicken Sandwiches and Waffle Fries every day. The top place in Texas was In-N-Out, which there are only 35 of.

What's the problem? This isn't Quinnipiac, but data is data and the problem typically comes down to the methodology.

Business Insider used Foursquare data to determine "which chains received the most visits on average in every state based on the total number of visits to each chain divided by the number of locations in the state."

Bingo! That last bit could be what's skewing these results.

Since there are fewer Chick-fil-A spots in Ohio, folks eating there might be more prone to check in on Foursquare's app to share the special occasion with friends.

And when someone in Ohio checks in at McDonald's on Foursquare, the data are divided by the chain's 823 in the state. When the methodology of the data is the number of Foursquare visits divided by the number of locations, it is not far-fetched to believe a restaurant that has significantly fewer locations will win by that metric.

In 2016, too, Business Insider shared the results of another study with Foursquare showing different results. It's unlikely Chick-Fil-A picked up that much momentum on the electoral map in such a short amount of time.

But regardless of what Foursquare studies show, Chick-fil-A is America's favorite fast food restaurant, according to a 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index survey. In the survey, Chick-fil-A was ranked as the top fast food restaurant for three years running in terms of customer satisfaction. McDonald's scored the lowest.

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