On the topic of McDonald’s slowly going downhill, the Economist came up with a decent little chart on fast-food around the world.
See it yourself on the Economist’s site; below are some of my thoughts on the matter.
1. There are a lot of restaurants in the States compared to the rest of the world.
You can check the interactive map over at the Economists – it’s 224 restaurants per million people in the US. Think of demand-supply. There are a lot of restaurants in the States because there is a high demand for fast-food.
See that, young padawan? Only in the Us and Canada are there more than 200 restaurants for each 1 million citizens. Australia and Iceland also fall towards the end of the spectrum, however, let us not forget that the population of Iceland errs around 400 thousand people, Australia’s at 23 million. Both Iceland and Australia have a population density of 3 people per every square mile. (One day I will write up an article just on population density and urban development.) (US pop.density 34; population is at 320 million.) Less customers to serve by the same ratio of restaurants.
2. Canada has just as much.
Checking the number of restaurants between Canada and the US, we can see that Canadians have 1/10th of the number of McDonalds. Does Canada have less citizens, too? Yes. 35 million vs. US’s 320 million. Tenth of the restaurants for tenth of the citizens, numbers decrease proportionally.
However, an important point, that probably relates to #1 and #2, is that this map is very America-centric. I’d presume there is a good chance of the States and Canada having the most amount of Mcdonald’s / KFC / Starbucks / Subway / Pizza Hut for these chains are American. Whereas in other countries the local chains are not being considered in this map.
3. Subway takes it all.
Look who has the most restaurants in the most countries! Yes! Subway takes it all. What I love about this last chart is Greece and South Korea: they both have more Starbucks than other restaurants. In fact, Greece has 31 Starbucks and 43 everything-else; and South Korea has 700 Starbucks and 960 everything-else. (Everything-else being KFC, Pizza Hut, Subway, and McDonald’s.) Them Greek and South Koreans really love overpriced, mediocre coffee.
Conclusion: this is a good map, but it’s very America-centered. There is a good chance that local chains, that aren’t represented on the map, have a strong presence in countries, which would definitely give a biased representation of # of fast-food restaurants per population on this map, as we could see in the points above.
Now run along, and click around in this sweet little chart on the Economist’s site. By the way – it was made with Raphael.js. A UX job well done, Economist’s data team!