The Growth 40

A Closer Look: The following data is from American Express Business Insights. According to the company's experts, each quick serve will watch different factors to decide whether expansion into an area is right. But negative numbers don't always tell the full story. For example, if a city posts a declining transaction size but its number of real transactions is up, it may be a good place for operators to expand, if their concepts rely on high traffic and low ticket averages.

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RankingMetropolitan Areasort descendingPopulation Change (2000-10)Change in Spend (2000-10)Change in # Transactions (2000-10)Change in Avg. Transaction Size (2000-10)Score
7Washington, DC785,98719%18%1%56
38Virginia Beach, VA95,31314%16%-1%129
36St. Louis, MO114,20916%17%-1%118
2Seattle, WA395,93134%28%5%29
14San Jose, CA101,09219%19%0%75
12San Francisco, CA211,65122%21%1%63
27San Diego, CA281,48016%18%-1%95
19San Antonio, TX430,80516%16%0%84
20Salt Lake City, UT155,33917%17%0%84
13Sacramento, CA352,27018%18%0%67
30Rochester, NY16,49219%17%1%96
4Riverside, CA970,03019%18%1%45
23Richmond, VA161,29417%15%2%90
21Raleigh, NC333,41915%18%-2%87
37Providence, RI17,85516%23%-5%124
3Portland, OR298,12828%19%7%38
24Pittsburgh, PA-74,80220%21%-1%91
1Orlando, FL489,85023%20%2%28
31New York, NY574,10719%24%-4%105
39New Orleans, LA-148,74616%18%-2%129
22Nashville, TN278,14516%15%1%89
9Minneapolis, MN311,02725%26%-1%57
8Miami, FL557,07122%21%0%57
34Memphis, TN110,89615%18%-2%116
16Los Angeles, CA463,21019%19%0%82
6Las Vegas, NV575,50418%18%0%55
40Kansas City, MO-KS199,29614%15%-1%130
25Jacksonville, FL222,84616%18%-2%91
28Houston, TX1,231,39315%14%1%96
15Detroit, MI-156,30722%22%0%80
10Denver, CO364,24219%17%2%62
33Columbus, OH223,84215%18%-3%114
17Cleveland, OH-70,90323%17%5%83
32Chicago, IL362,78916%18%-1%107
29Charlotte, NC427,59015%20%-4%96
11Boston, MA161,05823%23%0%63
26Birmingham, AL75,80918%16%2%91
18Baltimore, MD157,49520%22%-2%84
5Austin, TX466,52619%16%3%54
35Atlanta, GA1,020,87914%16%-2%117

Methodology: The Growth 40 cities are ranked based on a cumulative score. That cumulative score is made up of population rank, spending rank, number of transactions rank, and average transaction size rank. Population data is based on the 2010 U.S. Census. Spending, number of transactions, and average transaction size data were provided by American Express Business Insights. Ties in the cumulative scores were decided based on raw population data, with the larger metro ranking higher.

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