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New list ranks the most hated fast-food restaurants in America

Published Dec 30th, 2020 1:39PM EST
fast food
Image: bit24/Adobe

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  • Opinions on fast food can vary wildly, but is there one fast-food restaurant that is hated more than the rest?
  • A new state ranking uses data compiled from social media mentions of nearly 200,000 individuals, along with their location data, to determine the most-hated fast-food restaurant in each state.
  • Looking at the picture as a whole tells us which fast-food restaurant has the most vocal critics, at least online.

When it comes to opinions on restaurants, fast-food chains tend to bring forth the strongest reactions from both fans and critics alike. In a single breath, one might slam the likes of McDonald’s but extol the virtues of a late-night run to Taco Bell. It often makes very little sense, but that’s just the way we are.

So, it should come as no surprise that people complain about the most popular fast-food chains a good bit online. A website called The Daring Kitchen began to collect those complaints on Twitter, using the geolocation data of the tweets to determine what state the complaint was made in. After compiling all the data, a picture began to emerge, and we now know what the most-complained-about fast-food restaurant in the US is, at least when it comes to Twitter: Burger King.

In scanning the tweets, data was gathered on the most popular fast-food chains in the country. This makes sense since you can’t really compare a regional or localized fast-food brand against the big dogs. So, the list that the site went with included Burger King, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, Arby’s, KFC, Jack In The Box, and White Castle. Now, some of these are indeed regional to a degree, but they’re big enough that they have lots and lots of complaints on Twitter.

Interested in what fast-food joint your state hates in particular? Here’s a handy map that The Daring Kitchen whipped up:


So that’s pretty interesting. Burger King takes the top spot in Twitter complaints, but McDonald’s isn’t far behind. Taco bell slides in third place and the rest is a pretty even mix. What’s most telling about this data is that those three most-complained about restaurants are also the most popular and widespread.

The data here is showing that the more people eat at a restaurant, the more complaints there will inevitably be, which is basically common sense. If we were able to compare the number of complaints (overall, not just on Twitter), with the number of customers, we could come up with a complaint-per-customer ratio that would offer us a better insight into what restaurants are failing to satisfy their customers more than the rest.

It’s still an interesting data dump, but it’s far from a conclusive study on which restaurants are the best or worst.