Expert data nerd Stephen Von Worley has created Beefspace, a great visualization that depicts the density of major fast food chains across the country. Using information from AggData, Von Worley assigned each fast food chain a different color and then plotted the locations.

Here's how he explains his method:

The colors now represent the three most influential chains at each point, weighted by cumulative force at a 4:2:1 ratio, where black is McDonald’s, red Burger King, yellow Wendy’s, magenta Jack In The Box, periwinkle Sonic, cream Dairy Queen, green Carl’s Jr., and cyan Hardee’s. Together, you can think of these tweaks as elegantly exposing the subtle contours of market dominance, then splattering them with the individual restaurant locations

Basically, if you're seeing anything with dark tinges, it means there's a McDonald's present. (And here's a map by Von Worley of the concentration of McDonald's alone).

Here's what he ended up with:


Click for larger version

On his website, he zooms in to certain areas of the country. It's a strangely beautiful take on fast food.

Also on HuffPost:

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  • 10. Sonic

    America's Drive-In rounds out the top 10 with U.S. revenues of $3.6 billion.

  • 9. KFC

    KFC, the biggest chicken vendor in America, comes in ninth with revenues of $4.7 billion, though there were 107 fewer outposts in August 2011 than there were the year before.

  • 8. Pizza Hut

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/27/pizza-hut-ads_n_911106.html" target="_hplink">Good ads</a> equal big revenues for the biggest pizza chain in America. Pizza Hut took in a solid $5.4 billion in 2010.

  • 7. Dunkin Donuts

    America runs on Dunkin' to the tune of $6 billion a year -- that's almost $20 for each and every person in the country.

  • 6. Taco Bell

    2010 U.S. revenues of $6.9 billion make Taco Bell the biggest Mexican restaurant chain in the country.

  • 5. Starbucks

    Starbucks may have had a few hiccups <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/13/starbucks-bistro-boxes_n_897768.html" target="_hplink">when it comes to introducing food</a>. But its success in beverages has propelled American's biggest coffee purveyor into fifth place among fast food chains, with 2010 revenues of $7.6 billion.

  • 4. Wendy's

    Wendy's fries may be <a href="http://www.slashfood.com/2011/04/20/wendys-fries-vs-mcdonalds-fries-taste-test/" target="_hplink">number one</a>, but its revenues aren't there quite yet.

  • 3. Burger King

    Number two burger chain Burger King was sold for $3.26 billion to 3G Capital in 2009. 2010 revenues of $8.6 billion make that sound like a deal to us! (We know, we know, there's a difference between revenues and profits...)

  • 2. Subway

    Subway has the most outlets of any fast food brand; it expanded that total by 816 in the past year alone. But because each store is relatively small, revenues, at $10 billion, pale in comparison with those at the number one chain.

  • 1. McDonald's

    With revenues standing at a whopping $32.4 billion in 2010, the Golden Arches aren't being dethroned any time soon. What's surprising about its success is that per store sales at McDonald's are bigger than those even cult-ish brands with fewer outlets. With $2.4 million <em>per store</em>, they're second only to Chick Fil-A, which fans travel miles to visit.