How many chain restaurants are in Raleigh?

Raleigh's chaininess map | Screenshot of the Restaurant Chaininess Map via Georgia Tech

When you’re grabbing dinner on your way home from work, do you stop by a fast food chain, or an independent restaurant? How easy is it to “eat local” in Raleigh?

We took a look at the Restaurant Chaniness Map (made by a lab in Georgia Tech’s Center for Spatial Analysis and Visualization) to see how many restaurants in Raleigh were considered chains.

The map scores places based on the number of other restaurants that share their name in the US — so if we opened a restaurant called RALtoday, we would have a score of 1, while McDonald’s has a chaininess score of over 10,000

On the map, the darker red dots are chains + the yellow dots are independent restaurants

When you search for Raleigh (by using the box in the bottom left), the map zooms to the greater Raleigh metro. It gives the total number of restaurants pictured in this area + their average chaininess score — 2,435 restaurants, with a chaininess score of 1,378

So is that score high or low? Let’s compare. Raleigh’s NC neighbor, Charlotte, has a chaininess score of 1,186 out of 2,533 restaurants. Pretty similar. If you go up north to somewhere like Boston, the scores start getting smaller — 615 out of 7,737 restaurants. 

Bojangles + Cookout both being headquartered in NC may have something to do with the higher scores. We looked at the numbers of a few fast food chains in Raleigh, and McDonald’s appears to have the most locations in the capital city, with 13 restaurants. 

Wendy’s was a close second at 12, Bojangles had 10 locations, and Cookout had 5. 

When looking at the map, the red spots in Raleigh are clustered around areas like Hillsborough Street + Capital Boulevard, while Downtown appears more yellow.

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