A Disturbance In The Force

McDonald's Versus The Competition

by Stephen Von Worley on February 23, 2010

Imagine, if you will, the burger force – a field of energy radiating from every freshly-cooked patty, earth-penetrating and inverse-squared with distance, that compels the hungry carnivore to seek out and devour the well-done ground beef at the source.

Now, wrap that concept in a Star Wars motif – set in the present day, with the second-tier burger chains as the rebels – each, by themselves, without mutual aid, battling the 12,000-plus restaurant McEmpire. The situation is most dire, for the upstarts control but a few significant islands of territory amid the overwhelming and darkly-rendered influence of the McForce:

The Burger Force: Top 8 U.S. Burger Chains

Territory controlled by the eight largest U.S. burger chains.

In this and the following graphic, each individual restaurant location has equal power. The entity that controls each point casts the most aggregate burger force upon it, as calculated by the inverse-square law – kind of like a chart outlining the gravitational wells of galactic star clusters, but in an alternate, fast food universe.

By far, the largest pocket of resistance is Sonic Drive-In’s south-central stronghold: more than 900 restaurants packed into the state of Texas alone. Sheer density is the key to victory!

The rebels already have the numbers – over 24,000 locations in total – but they’ve divided and conquered themselves by strict adherence to the peacetime principles of brand identity and corporate structure. This is war, and for the sake of self-preservation, all must be sacrificed. Kings and Queens: get used to hanging with the common folk. Tone down the sarcasm, Jack. And everyone, please, stop yanking Wendy’s pigtails. Y’all need to work in harmony to succeed with the winning strategy: an Alliance!

Together, the rebels double the output of the McEmpire, and, behind the united force of their burgers, dominate all but a few stubborn pockets of the Northeast and Midwest:

Burger Territory: McDonald's Versus Allied Competitors

Territory controlled by McDonald's versus allied competitors.

Viva a New Hope: under the guise of char-broiled patties, seasoned curly fries, and having it your way.

Now, pan the camera to a bluff above a generic Great Plains suburb, and zoom towards the lone silhouette at top: an aboriginal American, staring down into the sprawl, chewing on a hunk of pemmican, and gently weeping.

Many thanks to AggData for providing the geolocated store location information that made this article possible.

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