Kentucky's Favorite Fried Chicken Restaurant Chain Might Surprise You

If someone asked you to guess what Kentucky's favorite fried chicken restaurant is, odds are you'd say KFC. After all, the name KFC was originally an abbreviation for Kentucky Fried Chicken, so it's kind of a no-brainer. Turns out, however, that Kentucky's taste is not as predictable as you may have thought. The state's favorite fried chicken restaurant isn't KFC at all — it's Bojangles (via Tristate Homepage), the chain specializing in Cajun-style chicken and biscuits that originated in Charlotte, N.C. (via Southern Living). Apparently, Colonel Sanders is no hero in his home state.

In fact, not only is KFC not Kentucky's favorite fried chicken restaurant. It's not even in the top three. Kentucky's second favorite is Zaxby's, and the state's bronze medal for fried chicken goes to Popeyes. KFC comes in at a shocking fourth place, just ahead of Chick-fil-A — a surprisingly low ranking, considering how much its Kentucky heritage is part of KFC's brand identity.

If not Kentucky, then where?

KFC may not be the No. 1 choice in its home state, but it's still plenty popular in America. The chain was ranked most popular fried chicken restaurant in 14 U.S. states, according to TOP, the marketing agency that used GPS tracking data and consumer spending data to compile the report. More than half of these states were in the Northeast, with all of New England plus New York and New Jersey opting for KFC's chicken.

Of the seven fried chicken chains included in the analysis — KFC, Bojangles, Chick-fil-A, Popeyes, Church's Chicken, Zaxby's, and Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers — there was one clear loser, a restaurant that wasn't the most popular choice in any of the 48 states surveyed. Despite a 23 percent increase in sales this year, impressive in a year when fried chicken fast food restaurant visits were down 6 percent over all, Chick-fil-A still wasn't ranked the most popular fried chicken restaurant in any continental U.S. state.