clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Here's How Americans Eat at Food Courts

Bloomberg Business dives into regional food courts and finds some surprising trends.


The shopping mall is a very American institution and perhaps the most sacred section is the food court. It's the once place where it's acceptable to eat lukewarm pizzas and stale Chinese food off of cafeteria trays. It's a safe haven for those who want to eat sushi and soft pretzels and end with frozen yogurt for dessert. Even though many malls are going through financial hardships, Bloomberg Business writes that they still "persist." The site analyzed 546 malls (out of a total of 1,100) and found a trove of information about food courts today.

One mall in King of Prussia, PA., is home to five Auntie Anne's locations.

First up, is a chart about "overrepresented food categories by location": Malls in New England tend to house a disproportionately high number of doughnut shops, followed by cupcake bakeries. In the Mid-Atlantic, malls offer customers a high number of bagel and bubble tea places. There's a slew of soup and cheesesteak places in the Great Lakes and the Southeast offers tons of Southern and Latin American joints. As for the Southwest? Gelato and nut options run abound, while in the Plains, malls are a great spot to find Tex-Mex and buffets. And while it's not a region, one mall in King of Prussia, PA., is home to five Auntie Anne's locations.

Most interestingly, chains with regions in their names are often incredibly popular outside of their namesake areas. For example, Boston Market, while popular in New England, has more locations in the Mid-Atlantic. Same with Uno Chicago Grill, which has the most number of outlets in New England. Even Texas Roadhouse has more stores in the Great Lakes than Texas. Surprisingly, burrito-chain Moe's Southwest Grill can most frequently be found in the Southeast. South Philly Steak & Fries remains true to its name, however, and has a number of locations in the Mid-Atlantic. Viva la food court.

Sign up for the Sign up for the Eater newsletter

The freshest news from the food world every day