Between fear-mongering documentaries and an ever-increasing number of people convinced they're allergic to gluten, it's tough out there in the burger game, but that hasn't stopped many a burger brand from taking hold of America's hearts, minds, and wallets. But mostly its hearts. But which of America's biggest burger chains are most beloved? And what parts of America love them?
To answer these questions, we crawled over 20,000,000 Foursquare check-ins to see how many people eat what type of burger and where. Then we calculated which brands over-indexed the highest in every county. Then we got really hungry and ate burgers until we passed out. Then we woke up and made this map, which you can look at in even greater detail via this enlarged version.
Keep reading (and picture-looking) for a detailed breakdown of each chain's imprint on this burger-loving country.
The king doesn't necessarily seem to reign (get it?!) in any one particular geographic area (though upstate NY seems to love a good Whopper). As you'll see with McDonald's and Wendy's, this particular approach is probably friendlier to regional chains with rabid followings as opposed to the biggest national powerhouses. Maybe its breakfast policy will change things?
An impressive showing from CJ out West, particularly in the less-populated areas of California and almost all of Alaska, where they demand their bacon ranch fries.
Checkers' presence is rather... checkered (boom!) across the Eastern portion of the United States, though it's pretty steady along the Gulf Coast.
It was kind of Wisconsin to share the ButterBurger with the rest of the country (or a good portion of it at least). While the rest of the country may love it, though, Wisconsin REALLY loves it.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries
One of the fastest-growing burger presences in the country, Five Guys has expanded past its DC-area roots (where it still projects considerable influence), to become a dominant meat force along the Eastern Seaboard and in several large swaths of the Northwest.
If you combine the imprint of fraternal burger twins Hardee's and Carl's Jr. (one of the most confusing arrangements in all of fast food), you get a pretty impressive national reach. Must be the creative advertising.
More from Thrillist:
Follow Thrillist on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Thrillist