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Curious List: Best Cities to Start a Restaurant


Looking at per capita income and restaurants, size of the workforce and median incomes, a restaurant equipment reseller has published its list of the 50 best U.S. cities in which to start a restaurant. Using U.S. Census Bureau and American Community Survey data, it’s a data-based ranking that’s worth a look.

Weighing the various factors, Bid-On-Equipment.com’s list gives the highest ranking to annual restaurant sales per capita. The number of restaurant competitors, size of the workforce and income are weighted less heavily to compile this best-of list.

At the top of the list is Arlington, Virginia, with $4,556 in per capita restaurant sales, 370 restaurants per capita within the city, 7,711 industry workers per capita and a median income of more than $108,000. In case I don’t get another opportunity, allow me to say per capita one more time.

Moving down the list, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Atlanta round out the top five. From there, it’s Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts, booming Plano, Texas, Seattle and Bellevue, Washington taking us through the top 10.

Red-hot Austin, Texas, came in at #12, Denver at 14, New Orleans at 22 and my home of Minneapolis at 27, one spot behind Houston. It’s likely no surprise that New York City, Chicago and Los Angeles are not included in the ranking. At least Chicago and L.A. have suburbs represented, but no love for the biggest cities, which have a reputation of onerous regulations that stifle the development of new restaurants.

Click HERE for the rest of the list, and remember that any city can be a good opportunity with the right brand, cuisine and business plan.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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