How many chain restaurants are in Asheville?


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 Asheville?

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

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

Asheville’s chaininess map | Screenshot of the Restaurant Chaininess Map via Georgia Tech

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

When you search for Asheville (using the box in the bottom left), the map zooms to the greater Asheville metro. It gives the total number of restaurants pictured in this area + their average chaininess score — 916 restaurants, with a chaininess score of 1,140

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

We looked at the numbers of a few fast food chains in Asheville, and McDonald’s appears to have the most locations in town, with 7 restaurants + Bojangles was a close second at 6.

Wendy’s and Taco Bell have 4 locations a piece, Burger King has 3, and Cookout has 2. 

When looking at the map, the red spots in Asheville are clustered around areas such as Merrimon Avenue, Patton Avenue + Tunnel Road, while Downtown appears extremely yellow.