You'll Probably Never Guess New York's Most Searched Fast Food Chain

For many Americans struggling through a busy day, making food for lunch or dinner can be one of the last things on their mind. Thankfully, there is always fast food; the savior of overworked employees and single parents everywhere. Most folks likely have their go-to spot in mind when the clock reaches noon, and market intelligence startup My Telescope decided to investigate which fast food chain was the most sought-after in each state.

My Telescope used Share of Search data to determine its results, which Channel Sight explains goes a step beyond Google results by seeing what is getting the most searches within a given industry or category.

According to the results shared with Tasting Table, Chick-fil-A was the number one most sought-after fast food chain in the U.S., ranking first in 27 of the 50 states. Another popular option was Raising Cane's, which won in four states. (The Southern staple even traveled as far afield as Alaska to nab the top spot!) There was some state pride in Texas and Wisconsin, which most often searched for their respective local creations Whataburger and Culver's. And while most of the chains gracing My Telescope's top searched list are of the fried chicken or burger variety, regardless of their national reach, New York's number one choice was a pretty big outlier.

New York can't get enough of sweetgreen

One perhaps surprising result in the My Telescope report comes from New York, which was the only state in the U.S. to make sweetgreen its most searched fast food chain.

According to the brand's website, sweetgreen was founded in 2007 in Washington D.C. by two college students looking for quick, nutritious, and slightly more affordable food options. Since then it has gone on to develop a massive following that is willing to withstand long lines to get their favorite salad. And there's plenty fans love on sweetgreen's menu, like its seasonal teriyaki bowls, veggie sides, and — of course — its endlessly customizable salads. The chain makes an effort to highlight regional and seasonal ingredients, describing its choices in what ingredients to serve and where they're sourced from as allowing it to offer the "highest quality ingredients while supporting smaller farms," (via sweetgreen).

Eater reports that much of sweetgreen's success comes from its ability to "[sell] the idea of nourishment," declaring the chain New York's new power lunch in a 2019 article. The outlet points to the relative affordability of the chain's famous salads in comparison to the classic steak-and-martini lunch, as well as its ability to broadcast wellness and inclusivity through its marketing. While you may not think "$15 salad" when you hear the phrase "fast food," for New Yorkers sweetgreen prevailed as the most searched chain over other heavy hitters.