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  • The Top 20 Markets to Open a Quick-Service Restaurant

    Growth December 13, 2018 By Rachel Taylor
    1 of 21
    Visit Tampa Bay

    What cities are best for quick-service restaurant growth? Which are rising markets? Which are fading? Operators across the country are tasked with figuring out the answers as they look to start or scale their brands, and QSR's Growth 40 report details some of the top markets across the country to target. Here are the top 20 from this year's report.

    Note: The Growth 40 uses historical information from NPD's CREST reports, which track consumer usage at foodservice outlets, as well as a population forecast from California-based Applied Geographic Solutions (AGS) to produce the QSR Traffic Growth Forecast statistic. The Score is a proprietary metric that is a 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.

    2 of 21
    Visit Yuma Facebook

    1. Yuma and El Centro, Arizona

    NPD Score: 32

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 153

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 148

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 283

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 71.9

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 2%

    2018 Population: 393,625

    2023 Population Projected: 408,512

    Projected Population Growth: 4%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    3 of 21
    Doug Kerr | Flickr

    2. Elmira, New York

    NPD Score: 29

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 177

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 179

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 224

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 93.5

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 12%

    2018 Population: 239,463

    2023 Population Projected: 231,701

    Projected Population Growth: -3%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    4 of 21
    Visit McAllen Facebook

    3. Harlingen, Weslaco, Brownsville, and McAllen, Texas

    NPD Score: 27

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 63

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 58

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 1,156

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 83.9

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 9%

    2018 Population: 1,377,874

    2023 Population Projected: 1,447,823

    Projected Population Growth: 5%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    5 of 21
    Doug Kerr | Flickr

    4. Watertown, New York

    NPD Score: 25

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 174

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 180

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 228

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 91.4

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 1%

    2018 Population: 249,457

    2023 Population Projected: 229,264    

    Projected Population Growth: -8%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    6 of 21
    City of Erie Government

    5. Erie, Pennsylvania

    NPD Score: 23

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 150

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 154

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 363

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 91.1

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 4%

    2018 Population: 398,285

    2023 Population Projected: 387,350

    Projected Population Growth: -3%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    7 of 21
    Quincy Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Facebook

    6. Quincy, Illinois; Hannibal, Missouri; and Keokuk, Iowa

    NPD Score: 22

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 173

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 174

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 218

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 84.6

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: -3%

    2018 Population: 257,570

    2023 Population Projected: 248,715

    Projected Population Growth: -3%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    8 of 21
    Visit Duluth Facebook

    7. Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin

    NPD Score: 22

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 146

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 146

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 357       

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 84.9

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: -1%

    2018 Population: 420,508

    2023 Population Projected: 415,817

    Projected Population Growth: -1%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    9 of 21
    Minnesota's Rochester Facebook

    8. Rochester, Mason City, Austin, Minnesota

    NPD Score: 21

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 156

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 155

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 331

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 87.5

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 4%

    2018 Population: 378,117

    2023 Population Projected: 387,348

    Projected Population Growth: 2%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    10 of 21
    City of Idaho Falls Facebook

    9. Idaho Falls, Pocatello, Idaho

    NPD Score: 21

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 152

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 144

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 375

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 95.0

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 16%

    2018 Population: 394,648

    2023 Population Projected: 422,237

    Projected Population Growth: 7%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    11 of 21
    Visit Tampa Bay Facebook

    10. Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Florida

    NPD Score: 21

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 13

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 13

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 4,512

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 92.4

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 16%

    2018 Population: 4,883,614

    2023 Population Projected: 5,389,457

    Projected Population Growth: 10%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

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    Utica, New York Facebook

    11. Utica, New York

    NPD Score: 20

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 168

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 170

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 245

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 91.5

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 2%

    2018 Population: 267,685

    2023 Population Projected: 263,038

    Projected Population Growth: -2%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    13 of 21
    Visit Buffalo Niagara Facebook

    12. Buffalo, New York

    NPD Score: 20

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 54

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 55

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 1,540

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 96.8

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 7%

    2018 Population: 1,591,288

    2023 Population Projected: 1,566,429

    Projected Population Growth: -2%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

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    The Haute Facebook

    13. Terre Haute, Indiana

    NPD Score: 20

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 155

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 156

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 356

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 93.7

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 5%

    2018 Population: 379,893

    2023 Population Projected: 374,406

    Projected Population Growth: -1%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

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    City of Fort Myers-Government Facebook

    14. Fort Myers and Naples, Florida

    NPD Score: 20

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 60

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 54

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 1,274

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 91.6

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 17%

    2018 Population: 1,390,927

    2023 Population Projected: 1,566,875

    Projected Population Growth: 13%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

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    The City of Yakima Facebook

    15. Yakima, Pasco, Richland, Kennewick, Washington

    NPD Score: 20

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 109

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 105

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 703

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 94.8

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 13%

    2018 Population: 741,250

    2023 Population Projected: 787,126

    Projected Population Growth: 6%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    17 of 21
    The City of Plattsburgh Facebook

    16. Burlington, Vermont and Plattsburgh, New York

    NPD Score: 19

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 97

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 100

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 830

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 98.9

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 9%

    2018 Population: 838,830

    2023 Population Projected: 829,353

    Projected Population Growth: -1%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    18 of 21
    Monroe City Facebook

    17. Monroe, Louisiana; and El Dorado, Arkansas

    NPD Score: 19

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 134

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 138

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 444

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 93.2

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 3%

    2018 Population: 476,470

    2023 Population Projected: 466,620

    Projected Population Growth: -2%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    19 of 21
    City of Miami Government Facebook

    18. Miami and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

    NPD Score: 18

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 15

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 14

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 4,719

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 98.3

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 14%

    2018 Population: 4,800,970

    2023 Population Projected: 5,046,819

    Projected Population Growth: 5%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

    20 of 21
    City of Springfield, MA Facebook

    19. Springfield and Holyoke, Massachusetts

    NPD Score: 17

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 116

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 116

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 739

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 105.6

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 14%

    2018 Population: 699,837

    2023 Population Projected: 701,713

    Projected Population Growth: 0%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here. 

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    Huntsville-Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau Facebook

    20. Huntsville, Decatur, and Florence, Alabama

    NPD Score: 17

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2018: 80

    Designated Market Area Population Rank, 2023: 79

    QSRs Open as of March 31: 1019

    QSRs Per 100,000 Population as of March 31: 98.1

    Forecasted QSR Traffic Growth 2018-2023: 9%

    2018 Population: 1,038,577

    2023 Population Projected: 1,060,724

    Projected Population Growth: 2%

    Read more in the 2018 Growth 40 here.