According to a new study from Sandleman & Associates, a California-based market research firm, Seattle is - as many resident eaters have long suspected - one of the least fast-food-oriented cities in the country. Of 87 media markets surveyed, Seattle finished 79th in percentage of frequent fast food patrons.
Eighteen percent of Seattle's population eats fast food or fast casual food 20 or more times a month. While that number sounds significant, the equivalent figure for Dallas, identified as the "number one market for incidence of super-heavy fast-food users in the United States" is nearly twice as high.
All but one of the top 10 fast food markets are in the South: Providence is the lone representative of a region typically distinguished by heightened health consciousness and a vibrant independent restaurant scene. Sandleman's Paul Clarke says researchers believe the exception can be explained by Dunkin' Donuts' ubiquity in Rhode Island.
Although Starbucks is also classified as a fast food restaurant, survey respondents were asked to self-report their fast food restaurant visits. "They might not consider Starbucks as fast food," Clarke says. "Somebody says fast food, you think of McDonalds, Taco Bell, KFC."