This map of each state’s favorite fast food is highly suspect

Illustration for article titled This map of each state’s favorite fast food is highly suspect
Photo: John Greim (Getty Images)

We weren’t born yesterday. We know that these maps listing the most popular X type of food by state, released every so often by various consumer research firms, are usually baffling and suspicious for any number of reasons. Typically, we question their methodology: Does Wyoming, for example, really purchase more chocolate roses per capita than any other state in the nation, or did the creators of the map simply use loosely corroborative data points or fudge (ha) the numbers to make the map look more dynamic and give us more to talk about? But now, the good citizens of Twitter has descended upon a map that appears to have perhaps applied no methodology at all:

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There’s very little context for this map, so users were left asking one question: What the hell is MOD Pizza? Started in 2008, MOD Pizza is a Seattle-based fast casual pizza chain. It’s a build-your-own artisan-style pizza concept that, while very popular, is still limited to 400 locations in the U.S. and U.K. McDonald’s and Wendy’s, of course, have thousands of locations and over a half century of growth to MOD’s 12 measly years, making the fast food giants’ sparse appearance on the map something of a head-scratcher.

But MOD’s relatively recent debut might be what landed it so prominently on this map, depending on what data it’s using to inform the selections. In 2018, MOD was the fastest-growing restaurant chain in the U.S., along with Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza, which features essentially the same build-your-own model. Why Blaze isn’t similarly scattered all over this map is yet another example of how Cheddar has left us with more questions than answers.

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Many Twitter users outright accused MOD of sponsoring the map—but MOD was quick to defend itself.

If you live in one of the dozen states that supposedly can’t get enough MOD Pizza, then we must ask: Have you ever eaten it? Should we?

Marnie Shure is editor in chief of The Takeout.

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DISCUSSION

Can somebody explain how In-n-Out is the favorite restaurant of North Dakota of all places, a state that is over 800 miles from the closest In-n-Out in Riverdale, Utah?

Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if that speaks highy of In-n-Out or poorly of the food selections in North Dakota...