Infographic of the Day: Which Burger Chains Dominate the U.S. Landscape?

McDonald’s isn’t quite as ubiquitous as it seems–and that tells you something about the power of its brand.

Burger Force

America is littered with fast food restaurants. But which ones dominate in each region? You might be surprised.


WeatherSealed analyzed location data for eight of the country’s major burger chains, and mapped the results–with a twist:

Each individual restaurant location has equal power. The entity that controls each point casts the most aggregate burger force upon it, as calculated by the inverse-square law–kind of like a chart outlining the gravitational wells of galactic star clusters, but in an alternate, fast food universe.

That simply means that the graph above shows relative density of each chain. And what it reveals is that McDonald’s isn’t quite the behemoth it seems, but they’re pursuing a far different strategy than all the rest. Outside of a powerbase in the Northeast, they cover the country in a loose but consistent density. The other chains are playing a different game, trying to become so common in certain regions that they seem unavoidable. (The one thing missing in the graph is other types of fastfood chains–Subway being the most glaring omission.)

And that, you could argue, is an indicator of relative brand strength: McDonald’s doesn’t have to have four stores in a single block, because people will come to the one that they do have. Everyone else has to shout a lot louder to compensate.


Read More: Infographic of the Day: McDonald’s Heat Wave

[Via Chart Porn]

About the author

Cliff was director of product innovation at Fast Company, founding editor of Co.Design, and former design editor at both Fast Company and Wired.