MUNCIE — Muncie has had sort of a fast-food business boom in recent months. One chain is introducing itself to the community (Five Guys). Another is returning (Hardee’s). And a third is adding a location to serve a different part of the city (Taco Bell).
It’s inevitable, when The Star Press publishes a story about a chain like these coming to Muncie, no matter the reason, many ask this question in the Facebook comments section: Why does Muncie need another fast food restaurant?
It’s an interesting discussion, and not a bad question, given how many we already have and these recent additions. But does Muncie really have "too many" fast food chains? Are we more concentrated in fast food than other cities of our size?
The data show otherwise.
Wait, how is that possible?
Living in the Muncie bubble, it’s difficult to picture how we could have fewer fast food restaurants than other cities.
Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler is pleased with the new retail developments because they're providing more food options, but he said he understands how a drive down McGalliard Road could give the impression. "It looks like we're overrun with fast food restaurants," he said.
Overall, Muncie has 14 of the nation's 17 favorite fast food chains, according to a USA TODAY story of American Customer Satisfaction Index's 2018 Restaurant Report. A very informal Google Maps search shows that for its nearly 70,000 people, Muncie has four McDonald’s locations, nine Subways, three Wendy’s restaurants, three Burger Kings, three Dairy Queens, three Arby's restaurants, three KFCs and five Taco Bells. (That was a mouthful.)