Buxton, the leading provider of customer analytics, used encrypted location data from mobile devices to discover for the first time where Chick-fil-A customers go on a Sunday.

Buxton’s new Live Mobile Insights platform mapped pings from mobile devices at Chick-fil-A outlets nationwide from Monday through Saturday and compared the data to restaurants those diners visit on Sundays to measure the uptick in foot traffic when their favorite quick-serve chicken eatery is closed.

Among the key findings are:

  • Cracker Barrel enjoys the biggest increase in foot traffic nationally on Sundays. The chain known for fried chicken and biscuits is the favorite Chick-fil-A substitute in 19 states, including its home state of Tennessee, the No. 2 choice in a further six and places third in four more.
  • Restaurants known for breakfast see a significant pickup in Sunday traffic. IHOP appears among the top three choices in 28 states while ranking first in eight. Waffle House makes the list 10 times, while Denny’s is in the top three nine times and achieves a No. 1 ranking in Nevada and California.
  • The analysis highlights several regional preferences, with New Albany, Ohio-based Bob Evans Restaurants seeing the most additional Sunday foot traffic in its home state, while local burger and sandwiches brand Frisch’s Big Boy places third in the Buckeye state.
  • Culver’s gets the biggest visitor uplift in its home state of Wisconsin, while San Antonio-based Whataburger has the largest surge in Sunday visits in its native Texas, where it ranks No. 1. Red Robin is the top selection in Washington, where the burger chain began in 1969.
  • The analysis also highlights a behavioral shift, with Chick-fil-A customers showing a preference for sitdown, waiter-served meals over quick-serve and drive-through options come Sunday, perhaps indicating a more leisurely, family-oriented experience.

“While the exercise has a fun side, there is also a serious point, namely that by utilizing the expertise of Buxton, businesses can gain a much more accurate picture of where they should be investing their marketing dollars and building new premises,” said Buxton Senior Vice President Phillip Crow. “By combining location data from the Live Mobile Insights platform with other financial and lifestyle metrics, restaurant owners get a more comprehensive insight into who their core customers really are.”