When it comes to which fried chicken chain is the most popular in the U.S., Kentucky Fried Chicken comes out on top.
At least that’s what a recent report from TOP Marketing Agencies has tried to suggest based on GPS tracking and consumer spending data it analyzed from 2020. Its research found that KFC was most frequented in 14 states out of the 48 that were inspected (Alaska and Hawaii were not factored in the “Fried Chicken Report”).
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Connecticut, Maine, Montana, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming
Although KFC was determined to be the most popular nationally, it was not the No. 1 pick in its home state. In fact, it was ranked fourth in Kentucky after its competitors Bojangles, Zaxby’s and Popeyes, but was ahead of Chick-fil-A.
KFC performed best in the Northeast and West. It also notched the top spot in a single state in the Midwest and the South.
After KFC, the most popular chicken chain is tied between Church’s Chicken and Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, which are both a top pick for nine states.
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Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Washington
Arizona, California, Colorado, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio and Texas
Texas-based Church’s Chicken was largely a favorite in the South, Midwest, Intermountain and West while Louisiana-based Raising Cane’s was largely a favorite in the Midwest, Intermountain and West.
The third most popular chicken chain in the U.S. is Zaxby’s, according to TOP Data. The Georgia-based fried chicken joint was declared the No. 1 go-to chicken chain in seven states, including its home state.
Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia
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Zaxby’s mainly performed best in the Southeast, but the restaurant was also a top pick in Indiana and Utah – two outliers in the Midwest and West.
Coming in at fourth place was Popeyes, a surprising finding considering the chicken sandwich craze the chain led in late 2019 and into 2020.
Arkansas, Delaware, Idaho, Iowa, Mississippi and South Dakota
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Popeyes was selected as the top fried chicken spot in six states. Two of those six states were in the South, but did not include its home state of Louisiana. Another two states that favored Popeyes were in the Midwest.
The remaining two states are located on opposite ends of the country, which are in the Northwest and Northeast.
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The fifth most popular fried chicken chain in the U.S. is said to be Bojangles. The North Carolina-based restaurant didn’t secure a top spot in its home state, but it was a No. 1 pick in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
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Bojangles at least ranked higher than Chick-fil-A, according to TOP Data. However, the marketing analytics firm stated sales at Chick-fil-A have gone up 23%.