02.22.11

Fast Food Capitals: Ranking the Top Cities for Chain Restaurants

Which city has the most Starbucks locations—and where can you find the most IHOPs per resident? The Daily Beast finds the urban headquarters of the country's most prominent fast food joints.

In Boston, nearly four out of every 10 chain restaurant is a Dunkin’ Donuts. In Seattle, there’s a Starbucks outpost for every 5,000 residents. And, Norfolk, Virginia, has more Ruby Tuesday locations that any other city in the country.

Gallery: Fast Food Capitals

Some cities are a haven for the neon sign or signature sauce of particular brands. At The Daily Beast, we’ve catalogued nearly all the ins and outs of the fast food industry, from the dietary dangers and commendable offerings, to the metropolises with the most fast food joints per resident. But, given the particular nature of most fast foodies’ palates, we decided to analyze which city can boast to be best for each of the nation’s largest chain restaurants. While there are a few urban outliers, the list shows that where one chain flourishes, many flourish. (For proof, visit Orlando, Florida.)

To formulate the ranks, The Daily Beast asked data collector AggData to collect the total number of fast food locations of the nation’s 30 largest chains in nearly 500 cities. The list of the 30 largest fast-food chain restaurants was provided by Technomic, a food-industry research firm. Our final list was limited to cities with a population of at least 200,000, according to the U.S. Census, and was ranked based on total locations per 100,000 residents.