Shake Shack vs Chick-fil-A — Social Fans Edition — Part III

Apr 5, 2016 | Insights

(Be sure to check out Parts One and Two here and here.)


Shake Shack have seemingly targeted and favored major urban centers within certain “hipper” cities as the cornerstone of their growth strategy. This much seems evident. As such, an analysis of their audience reveals a sort of middle-to-upper-middle class, left-leaning — but notably entirely food fixated — group.

Chick-fil-A we believe has innocently gone about their business for years, which was if anything quite successful, with their belief-based personal corporate culture hardly of any concern to their customers. But then one day they made the papers, and were forced to defend their personal beliefs and First Amendment rights. We’d be curious to see their numbers from earlier days, the pre-scandalous era.

Clearly now, there is a — if not predominantly, let’s call it notably — right-leaning, Christian presence among their fans. This could simply be due to the regions where the maps in our last entry revealed the chain to be most popular — right-leaning, Christian areas, already — or this could be folks aligning themselves (specifically on social media) with the company in solidarity.

Again, anecdotally, I know a lot of people who don’t fit the above description who love Chick-fil-A’s food. And the chain is notably expanding in New York City, where few share their management’s beliefs. If more of these sorts of expansions occur successfully, it’s possible that the Chick-fil-A audience to whom StatSocial would then introduce us could be a bit more diverse.

Finally, to end our cultural chicken fight, we’ll seize this shot to tout our proud partnership with IBM Watson, and our integration of their Personality Insights™ tool into our reporting. Here you’ll get to see who these fast food buffs are beyond TV, or even religion.

What Personality Insights™ does is analyze the language used by an individual throughout the web (social media, the blogosphere, etc.), and with stunning accuracy and cognizance analyzes and interprets it, deriving from it a personality profile. Watson provides some more insight into all of this here.

(You can read an amusing and insightful StatSocial analysis of the internet’s angry, as identified by Personality Insights™, here.)

So, with our profiles of both audiences pretty well and fully compelling at this point, let’s see who the people behind all this fast food, and watching of Fox News and Man v Food are:


It’s funny, we sometimes forget what conservation means, or what its etymology is. But it is of course a belief in preserving and/or restoring a set of values and/or a state of being that the individual concerned with conservation either believes is already in place or has somehow been lost and must be regained (the latter is of course restoration, but for purposes of summarizing this personality type it fits). As we’d already begun to surmise, Chick-fil-A’s fans — to a degree exceeding the average social media user, although we must point out by an only statistically small amount — view such values as priorities.

As for number two? Have you ever been to the southern portion of our great nation? A land of shrinking violets they are not. Few are to be found without a smile, handshake, and sincere inquiry into your well being. We New Yorkers genuinely don’t know what to do the first time we encounter it.

And on the list goes, but we’ll visit some of the juicier items toward the bottom as we find the priorities shift when the list is sorted according to our “multiple” metric.


As a lifelong New Yorker I’m allowed to make fun of my own city. New Yorkers love to throw this word “adventure” around a lot, as though they’re all mini-Indiana Joneses; when most spend their evenings at home watching ‘Man v. Food.’ I suspect that each city’s most dedicated Shake Shack diners are basically that town’s honorary New Yorkers, complete with the same inflated, mostly wishful sense of audacity and enterprise.

When Shake Shack was still just a food cart, these individuals considered eating there, and waiting over an hour for a hamburger, an adventure. We promise you.

Typical Shake Shack diners take a short break from their lives of derring-do to enjoy some fries

The truly adventurous are all over this city, of course — take the extraordinary men and women who risk their lives every day as members of our extraordinary fire department — but they’re not fans of a hamburger joint on social media. This reads like a wish list, how one portrays themselves on the web vs. how they actually are.

Perhaps a truer story is soon to reveal itself as we now regard these lists through our “multiple” metric.


Said with nary a shred of criticism, this reads like the list of what every Christian, and really every individual of any spiritual discipline since the beginning of time, aspires to. This, to this author at least, speaks loudly to the Christian beliefs that drive a large portion of this particular audience.

That said, whatever your beliefs, it’s tough to find difficulty with a list of personality traits not only of this nature, but prioritized in this order.

And finally, let’s see if our challenge to the adventurous claims of our Shake Shackers are undone when viewed through the “multiple” lens (we already checked, “cowardice” was not number one).


While only to a degree exceeding the average by .26% I suppose you could contend an audience consisting of largely urbanites (over ⅕ of whom are New Yorkers) are probably a little more open. Surely, to the Chick-fil-A crowd, openness and liberalism were not among their top concerns. In this case the “multiple” overall confirmed the abundantly obvious narrative, but sometimes when viewed using the “multiple” metric the story you were certain your stats were telling you can change entirely.

In Racine County, Wisconsin, real Chick-fil-A enthusiasts are shown camping out overnight in the rain, to be first in line for a free chicken promotion. Now who are the true adventurers?

We’re actually pleased that these entries, and the selection of StatSocial tools we employed throughout them, revealed little real conflict, while still showing us from top to bottom radical and irrefutable differences in ethos between the two audiences.

And let us remember why we really showed you all of this.

StatSocial users can compare their social audiences to any audience they can imagine, whatever the purpose. The competition? The father-in-law? Or they can compare any two audiences of their choosing, those who use the #MetalRules hashtag vs. those who support Lyndon Larouche? Whatever the case, the insights gained will be utterly unique, and tell a deeper, richer, and more accurate story than that which can be found and/or created anywhere else.

To learn much more about StatSocial, the curious are encouraged to visit the StatSocial site itself, where you’ll find all sorts of stuff including sample reports.

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If you like what you’ve read, please take a few minutes to watch this overview of StatSocial’s data: