A recent survey of the top emerging restaurant markets in the U.S. conducted by QSR magazine and Pitney Bowes Business Insight ranked the top 40 cities for expansion. The Growth 40 listed the top large, medium, and small markets for expansion in the New Year, finding Buffalo, NY, to be the best large city for restaurants to expand into.
Overall, for small, medium, and large markets, the regions of the northwest, southwest, and northeast were best for restaurant expansion. McAllen, TX, ranked No. 1 for medium markets, and Yakima, WA, was the No. 1 small market for quick-service expansion.
“What was most interesting,” says QSR’s editor, Blair Chancey, “was when you looked at just competition levels or just population growth, those numbers didn’t tell the whole story. Restaurateurs really need to be in places where there’s a growing, stable population and where the market isn’t already saturated with other brands.”
The other top Growth 40 cities in the large-market category are: Seattle (2); Rochester, NY (3); Portland, OR (4); Pittsburgh (5); Philadelphia (6); Austin, TX (7); Houston (8); Tucson, AZ (9); and Boston (10).
The other top Growth 40 cities in the medium-market category are: Brownsville, TX, (2); El Paso, TX (3); Utica, NY (4); Boulder, CO (5); Anchorage, AK (6); Spokane, WA (7); Eugene, OR (8); Poughkeepsie, NY (9); and Albany, NY (10).
The other top Growth 40 cities in the small-market category are: Hilo, HI (2); Ithaca, NY (3); Dunn, NC (4); Sierra Vista, AZ (5); Wenatchee, WA (6); Bellingham, WA (7); Kingston, NY (8); Las Cruces, NM (9); East Stroudsburg, PA (10); Torrington, CT (11); Sante Fe, NM (12); Albany, OR (13); Vineland, NJ (14); and Olympia, WA (15).
“When retail sales, disposable income, and home prices go up with unemployment declining, then you’re looking at a positive opportunity for quick serves,” says Al Beery, director of client services for Pitney Bowes. “The more people available to patronize quick-service units, the better the situation for restaurants to make market headway.”
The Growth 40 can act as a guide for 2011 restaurant expansions, Chancey says. “In this type of economy, businesses have to be very calculated in the decisions they make. No one can afford to sell franchises in a market without any potential.”
For more information about the Growth 40 and to find out which cities are best of restaurant expansion, go to QSRmagazine.com.