Fast-food nation, again

Every time America talks about getting in shape and cutting down on obesity, some negative Nancy has to come along with data showing that we’re actually eating at fast-food restaurants more. This time that naysayer is a research company called Experian Simmons which just released a study (pdf) of the fast-food industry covering a mammoth five-year time period.

Sadly the results are not surprising.

While Americans’ visits to fast-food restaurants slightly declined from 2004 to 2007, they have jumped over 50 percent in the past year, to nearly a dozen times a month. The worse the economy, the more people eat at fast-food restaurants. Now is a great time to be in the fast-food business, especially if your name is McDonald’s or Burger King, the number one and two chains in America.

The exception is Wendy’s. From 2004 to 2007 it was the third-largest chain in America, but since then it’s been passed by Subway and Taco Bell. But that’s no surprise because its problems are well documented. Subway is the faint hope that maybe Americans are eating healthier, or at least think they are.

The region of the country that loves fast food the most is, yep, the Midwest. We average close to one more fast-food trip per month than the rest of our fellow Americans. Midwesterners especially like Arby’s, Panera, Chipotle and Dairy Queen. The researchers also divided the results by sex, and men are more likely to eat fast-food alone than women, though people of both sexes between 18 and 24 hate eating alone.

What does it all prove? Well, that if you’re a single Midwestern male over 24 like me, I’ll be seeing you at the Arby’s drive-through. 

Categories: Dining, Food & Drink