Local Restaurants vs. Chains

A dataset of nearly 800,000 independent and chain restaurants for the contiguous U.S. was used to examine the total number of restaurants with the same name and created an average “chainness” score, which measures the likelihood of finding the same venues in other parts of the country.

The paper that examined how “chainy” a community is, by examining how geographic, socioeconomic and infrastructural factors relate. It finds that high rates of chainness predominate in the midwestern and the southeastern U.S., especially in places that are more car-dependent, closer to highways, and with high percentages of people who voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election. 

A zoomed-in look at chainness in Montgomery, Alabama. The chainness score in this area is above the national average.

Independent restaurants were more prevalent in coastal cities and were associated with more pedestrian- and tourist-friendly environments, wealthier and highly educated populations, and more racially diverse neighborhoods.

A look at San Francisco’s low chainness. 

The analysis and maps show where chains proliferate, and where independent restaurants tend to thrive.

The View South on 5th Avenue

The view, looking through the old Bellevue Hospital gates (hence the BH mullions), south on 5th Avenue.