Top States for Full-Service Restaurant Growth

 

Where should restaurant chains go to expand? Look at these states.

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Utah

Population: 2,763,885

Projected Population Gain by 2020: 22.3%

Number of Full-Service Restaurants: 1,372

Full-Service Restaurants per 100,000 Residents: 49.6

Utah Restaurant Association: www.utahdineout.com

Projected 2012 Growth in Restaurant Sales: 3.6%

Business Tax Index: 34.533

Unemployment: 5.8%

Median Household Income: $56,787

At 22.3 percent, no state is projected to see a higher rate of population growth by 2020 than Utah.

That’s good news for the state’s restaurateurs, especially since so many residents place a premium on family time that propels restaurant spending, Utah Restaurant Association President and CEO Melva Sine says. Meanwhile, a surge in the Gen Y demographic, so many of them eager for new experiences, has further energized the state’s culinary scene.

“We are seeing an increase in all cuisines in Utah,” Sine says.

Sine cites recent national rankings as the Best Managed State and Best Place to Do Business as proof of Utah’s pro-business environment. The state motto, in fact, is one word: “Industry.”

“Utah has a balanced budget and a governor who wants to reduce many of the regulations that prevent business growth,” Sine says.

In spite of the state’s challenging liquor laws, Utah restaurateur Hersh Ipaktchian, who owns nine Iggy’s Sports Grill eateries in Utah, including eight in the Salt Lake City area, sees positives for operators who understand the regulatory environment.

“So long as you don’t rely on the same liquor sales formula that takes place in other parts of the country, you’ll be fine,” Ipaktchian says.

Slim populations but compelling numbers

Three states—Wyoming, Alaska, and North Dakota—claim numbers as robust as any on our list. So why didn’t they make the cut?

All three Western states are large in area, but not in population, thereby making aggressive restaurant expansion a challenge.

Even so, a quick spotlight on each state certainly bears mentioning and investigation from entrepreneurial restaurateurs.

Alaska

Population: 710,231

Projected Population Gain by 2020: 12.8%

Number of Full-Service Restaurants: 469

Full-Service Restaurants per 100,000 Residents: 66.0

Projected 2012 Growth in Restaurant Sales: 3.5%

Projected Growth in DPI in 2012: 3.1%

Business Tax Index: 25.238

Unemployment: 7.4%

Median Household Income: $58,198

Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant & Retailers Association: www.alaskacharr.com

North Dakota

Population: 672,591

Projected Population Gain by 2020: 7.5%

Number of Full-Service Restaurants: 512

Restaurants per 100,000 Residents: 76.1

Projected Growth in Restaurant Sales (2011-12): 4.1%

Projected Growth in DPI in 2012: 5.2%

Business Tax Index: 38.328

Unemployment: 3.3%

Median Household Income: $51,380

North Dakota Hospitality Association: www.ndhospitality.com

Wyoming

Population: 563,626

Projected Population Gain by 2020: 20.1%

Number of Full-Service Restaurants: 529

Restaurants per 100,000 Residents: 93.9

Projected 2012 Growth in Restaurant Sales: 3.7%

Projected Growth in DPI in 2012: 4.9%

Business Tax Index: 16.850

Unemployment: 5.6%

Median Household Income: $52,359

Wyoming Lodging and Restaurant Association: www.wlra.org

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