Industry News | January 7, 2013

Denver No. 1 in QSR Magazine’s Growth 40 Report

Denver is on a Rocky Mountain high, with a winning quarterback, a growing population, and a thriving arts and culture scene. Now the Colorado metropolis has another reason to brag: The city is the best destination for fast-food restaurant operators.

According to QSR magazine’s third-annual Growth 40 report, Denver is the No. 1 large market in the U.S. for quick-service restaurant growth potential.

“Denver has a lot of things going for it: population growth, a thriving business climate, and a popular food and beverage scene,” says Sam Oches, editor of QSR. “And between 2011 and 2016, the city’s quick-service traffic is expected to increase 11 percent. These and other factors will contribute to it being a popular destination for limited-service brands.”

The Growth 40 is the result of a partnership between QSR and NPD Group, a leading source for foodservice trends and performance indicators. The report found the top 15 large markets (more than 2.5 million residents), 15 medium markets (1­–2.5 million residents), and 10 small markets (less than 1 million residents) for growth potential.

Waco, Texas, is the top medium market, while Yuma, Arizona, is No. 1 among small markets. But Denver, with its size and potential, offers the best opportunity for restaurant operators looking to grow in a new city.

“The entrepreneurial spirit and business climate in Denver go a long way in making the city an attractive target for quick-service operators,” Oches says. “Major restaurant companies, including Chipotle, Red Robin, and Smashburger, are based there, giving Denver a deep foodservice talent pool to draw from. So it should certainly be in the plans for any growing quick-service brand.”

To review the Growth 40 report and see which other cities made the cut, visit For more information, contact Sam Oches at [email protected].

About QSR magazine

QSR magazine is a thought leader for the quick-service and fast-casual restaurant industries. Now in its 16th year of publication, QSR takes seriously its role in promoting industry values through its award-winning editorial content. In 2012, the magazine furthered that mission by promoting a healthy and active lifestyle, and in 2013, it will spotlight the many contributions women make to the foodservice industry.


Denver is into unique food items, and really supports quiality, so time will tell.

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