Many people may not realize that there's a significant geographic bias against the northern border states by Drive-In-Style fast food chains, but this map clearly shows one exists. The map shows states with the most Sonic Drive-Ins (red), followed by those with fewer than 125 stores (purple) and those with no stores (brown). There are a few factors at work here:
First, the chain started in Oklahoma and thus most stores are in the states surrounding that state. Second, neither North Dakota nor Montana have large urban populations. Third, and most importantly, the weather can be a serious issue. How many people want a Cherry Lime-Aid Slushie when the ground is covered slush? Actually, we want one right now because they're delicious.
Nevertheless, Sonic is considering breaking through the Cheese-Tot-Maginot-Line that stretches from Montana to Maine by opening up their first store in Savage, Minnesota. The company has even developed cold-weather uniforms for use in places like Nebraska and Ohio. So fear not New Hampshire and Michigan, your Sonic Sunrise Shake may not be as far away as you think. [Star Tribune]