This State Has the Most Fast Food Restaurants in America

Updated: Apr. 03, 2021

Fast food restaurants may not be gourmet, but they do have a time and a place in some people's diets. Here's the one state that takes its love of fast food restaurants above the rest.

BANGKOK - OCTOBER 10 : Happy meal set ,in soft focus, with blurred Ronald Mcdonald at McDonald's restaurant on October 10, 2017 in Bangkok, ThailandRatana21/Shutterstock

Fast food restaurants are convenient, quick, and affordable. That’s probably why there are approximately 50,000 different chains across America with around 500,000 locations. But if you live in the state of Alabama, you have the most fast food restaurants at your disposal in the entire country, including some of the 15 most convenient fast-food restaurants.

According to a recent study by Datafiniti, there are 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents in Alabama—making it the state with the most fast food restaurants in America per capita. Nebraska and West Virginia follow with 5.4 and 5.3 restaurants per capita, respectively.

Meanwhile, Vermont has the least fast food restaurants per capita. New Jersey and New York followed at 2.0 and 2.1 per capita. But do you know which one of those three has the only U.S. state capital without a McDonalds?

A trend in the research also shows that southern and central states have far more fast food restaurants than the East or West coasts. In fact, the only non-southern states in the top ten are Nebraska at 5.4 and Indiana at 5.0. This makes sense considering the slew of southern food chains with cult-like followings including Bojangles’, Whataburger, and Jack’s, among others.

As for the largest and most popular restaurant chains in the research, Subway and McDonalds account for more than a quarter of the restaurants in the study. Burger King is a very distant third. And although Subway might seem like a surprise at the top of the list, the restaurant chain actually has a location on every continent (minus Antartica!). They are also one of the least expensive restaurants to franchise, which may be part of why they are the largest restaurant chain in the world. Next, check out these things your fast food worker won’t tell you.