2015 Growth 40 - Medium Markets

For the third consecutive year, the Growth 40 leveraged data from market research firm The NPD Group to predict the top large, medium, and small U.S. markets for quick-service restaurant expansion. Rankings this year leverage a proprietary NPD Score, which measures market opportunity by balancing quick-service restaurant density in a market and the difference between traffic growth and population growth. Using this methodology, Southern markets dominated the 2015 Growth 40, comprising one-half of the list. In addition, smaller markets such as Meridian, Mississippi; Alpena, Michigan; and Presque Isle, Maine, secured positions on the top small markets list despite low projected population growth—proof that even stagnant towns across the country have plenty of potential for the restaurant industry.

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Market Rankingsort ascendingDesignated Market Areas (DMA)Census DivisionScoreQSR Traffic Growth Forecast 2014-2019QSR UnitsUnit Density (Units per 100k population)2014 PopulationProjected 2019 PopulationPopulation Percent Change
1Harlingen–Weslaco–Brownsville–McAllen, TXSouth2514%1,15887.741,319,7341,412,2517%
2Tucson–Nogales, AZWest188.6%1,08790.211,204,9731,274,5756%
3Milwaukee, WICentral181.3%2,03687.322,331,7332,363,7811%
4Columbia, SCSouth176.5%98390.281,088,8661,134,8434%
5Fresno–Visalia, CAWest156.6%1,83791.072,017,1012,130,5936%
6Des Moines–Ames, IACentral148.9%1,09997.171,131,0131,174,4044%
7Green Bay–Appleton, WICentral131.1%1,02790.411,135,9181,172,2983%
8Louisville, KYSouth124.5%1,64895.311,729,1161,774,1893%
9Huntsville–Decatur–Florence, ALSouth127%98797.21,015,3821,050,2693%
10El Paso, TXWest114.7%97791.481,067,9951,149,4408%
11Richmond–Petersburg, VASouth110.9%1,34192.61,448,2151,488,4123%
12Buffalo, NYNortheast117.5%1,642102.441,602,9211,607,4940%
13Ft. Myers–Naples, FLSouth107.2%1,20797.491,238,0921,303,0735%
14Shreveport, LASouth108.7%1,049101.221,036,3091,072,6114%
15Memphis, TNSouth105.8%1,85599.841,857,9241,899,0402%

Methodology: The Score is a proprietary metric that is the measure of market opportunity. It takes into account the quick-service restaurant density in a market, as well as the difference between the traffic growth and population growth. A high score could be driven by a large difference between population and traffic growth and/or a low quick-service restaurant density.

About The NPD Group

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining unique data assets with unmatched industry expertise, we help our clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food/foodservice, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit www.npd.com and npdgroupblog.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

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