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NYC's Burger Economy

 |  StatsBee

Burger and fries

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May is National Hamburger Month, and there is no shortage of places to celebrate in a city where everyone seems to have an opinion on the best burger joint. Like pizza, everyone has their favorite, but rather than weigh in on which one is the best, we are going to stick to looking at the numbers.

Using the latest NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene restaurant inspection data, we analyzed the 627 burger joints in the City to see how they break down into chain and independent restaurants. The findings were not too surprising: the big three chains (McDonald’s, Burger King, and Wendy’s) account for the majority (60%) of all burger places in the city. Another 26% are smaller chains like White Castle and Five Guys, and the remaining 14% are places with only a single location in the City.

This week’s poll on asked you which borough you thought had the most burger joints. 42% of respondents said Brooklyn had the most, followed by Manhattan with 32% of the vote and Queens with 21%. How the numbers really stack up:

With 216, Manhattan has the most of any borough. While it is not the most populous borough, its economy caters to the daytime population which includes workers and tourists. Manhattan also has the smallest share of big three burger joints (46%) and the largest share of those with a single location (22%).

When taking the resident population into account, Manhattan again leads the way with 13.5 burger places per 100,000 residents. Queens and the Bronx each have 6.8, and Staten Island has 6.4. Brooklyn has the fewest with 5.3 burger places per 100,000 residents. In other words, regardless of where you are in the City, there’s enough to go around.

Types of Burger Joints by Borough

Burger Chart


NYC Burger Joints by Type

Burger chart


StatsBee is a column featuring interesting statistics about NYC, written by economists at the Economic Research & Analysis department within NYCEDC’s Center for Economic Transformation.



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