OK, I have to be honest right off the bat: the survey I’ll be quoting in this article just may be the worst piece of slapped-together clickbait I’ve ever come across.

According to the marketing agency that compiled the data:

Food experts at TOP Data analyzed aggregated visit data from 12M Americans to compare which restaurant chains and states are getting the most foot traffic compared to 2021 figures.

I saw the headline “Most Popular Fast Food by State” and I was intrigued. Of course, I immediately wanted to know what ours was. According to this survey, the top five fast food chains (determined by increase in foot traffic from 2021 to 2022) in New Jersey are:

1. Church’s Chicken

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2. Shake Shack

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3. Taco John's

attachment-Taco John's

4. KFC

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5. Chipotle

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Now, this left me a little puzzled; if Church’s is so popular in New Jersey, why don’t I see more of them? I thought either they just weren’t in my part of the state or that I was just that unobservant that I didn’t notice them.

So I went to the Church’s website to find the location nearest to me. I put in my ZIP code and it returned no results. I then clicked on the “locations by state” and saw New Jersey there. I clicked on that and it showed a grand total of ONE Church’s Chicken in New Jersey (it’s in Lawnside).

It's hard to believe that the franchise with the greatest growth in New Jersey only has one location. But, wait, it gets better.

The inclusion of Taco John’s (at #3, no less) also got me a little curious. How many of them are there because, just like with Chruch’s, I can’t remember seeing one. Back to the internet I went, this time to the Taco John’s website, of course.

The Taco John’s website also had a “locations by state” list and I went to click on New Jersey, but there was a problem. The alphabetical list of states went from Nevada to North Dakota, with no mention of New Jersey at all. The reason that there is no mention of New Jersey is that there ISN’T ONE IN NEW JERSEY.

Let that sink in: this study says the third most popular fast food franchise in New Jersey is one that doesn’t even do business in New Jersey.

I think the moral of the story is: don’t believe internet studies.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle only.

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