Where Chain Restaurants Dominate

Yelp released revealing new data about city restaurants, showing which cities have a culture of independent eateries and which are dominated by chains.
February 11, 2018, 5am PST | Casey Brazeal | @northandclark
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Thomas Crenshaw

According to data from Yelp, people don't like restaurant chains very much. "Nationally, mom ’n’ pop eateries were always preferred by a small margin, but since 2012, the gap in Yelp’s 142 million ratings between them and chains has nearly doubled. For fast-food restaurants, the average rating gap stands at almost a full star now," Henry Garbar reports in Slate.

So why do these chains dominate so many cities? "Poorly rated indies might also be more likely to go out of business than poorly rated chains," Garbar suggests. There's also the issue of how people get around, and where they're likely to stop. "The bottom of the list, meanwhile—the place where the chains dominate—is a who’s-who of the Sun Belt."

In these cities, often homes to long drives, it may be hard to pull folks off highways to try independent offerings. Older, more walking-friendly cities might be more conducive to experimenting with local fare.

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Published on Thursday, February 8, 2018 in Slate
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