The 50 Best U.S. Cities To Open A Restaurant: Can You Guess Any?

To Open a restaurant is a risky endeavor that includes many factors that play into the success of a restaurant. Between hiring qualified staff, obtaining the proper work permits as well as marketing there is a lot to be done before even opening the doors to the restaurant for business.  And this doesn’t take into consideration possibly the most important factor of all for a restaurant to be successful and that is the location of the restaurant. So where are the best locations in the United States to open a restaurant? Bid On Equipment recently released a report that analyzed 236 cities across the United States which included the 150 most populous cities, to try and determine the 50 best cities to open a restaurant.

open a restaurant

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In the report they analyzed the following factors:

  • Annual restaurant sales per capita
  • Competition and market saturation (broken down by restaurants per capita)
  • Workforce (broken down by the number of restaurant industry workers per capita)
  • Medium income in each city

Data for restaurant sales, restaurants per capita and workforce was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau. Median income data was collected from the American Community Survey.

The Washington D.C. locale was well represented in the list claiming two of the top three spots. Overall the rankings were a mix of big and medium sized cities from across the United States. San Francisco had the most restaurants per capita and came in at number four on the list.  Many cities with growing restaurant scenes were also featured on the list.  Cities like Denver, Austin, and Portland Oregon. One big take away for potential restaurant owners is that there is as much or if not more opportunity in mid-sized cities as there is in large cities across the nation.

The full list can be seen below:

  1. Arlington, Virginia
  2. Ann Arbor, Michigan
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. San Francisco, California
  5. Atlanta, Georgia
  6. Cambridge, Massachusetts
  7. Boston, Massachusetts
  8. Plano, Texas
  9. Seattle, Washington
  10. Bellevue, Washington
  11. Scottsdale, Arizona
  12. Austin, Texas
  13. Tampa Bay, Florida
  14. Denver, Colorado
  15. Miami, Florida
  16. Orange, California
  17. Orlando, Florida
  18. Costa Mesa, California
  19. Thousand Oaks, California
  20. McAllen, Texas
  21. Charleston, South Carolina
  22. New Orleans, Louisiana
  23. Huntsville, Alabama
  24. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  25. Springfield, Illinois
  26. Houston, Texas
  27. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  28. Paradise, Nevada
  29. Wilmington, North Carolina
  30. Stamford, Connecticut
  31. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  32. Santa Clara, California
  33. Clearwater, Florida
  34. Savannah, Georgia
  35. Raleigh, North Carolina
  36. Columbia, Missouri
  37. Knoxville, Tennessee
  38. Berkeley, California
  39. Naperville, Illinois
  40. Salt Lake City, Utah
  41. Fort Collins, Colorado
  42. Portland, Oregon
  43. Madison, Wisconsin
  44. Tempe, Arizona
  45. Huntington Beach, California
  46. San Diego, California
  47. Nashville, Tennessee
  48. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  49. Lakewood, Colorado
  50. Providence, Rhode Island

To see the full analysis check out the graphic below.

Start A Restaurant



About the Author

Jacob Wolinsky
Jacob Wolinsky is the founder of ValueWalk.com, a popular value investing and hedge fund focused investment website. Prior to ValueWalk, Jacob was VP of Business Development at SumZero. Prior to SumZero, Jacob worked as an equity analyst first at a micro-cap focused private equity firm, followed by a stint at a smid cap focused research shop. Jacob lives with his wife and four kids in Passaic NJ. - Email: jacob(at)valuewalk.com - Twitter username: JacobWolinsky - Full Disclosure: I do not purchase any equities anymore to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest and because at times I may receive grey areas of insider information. I have a few existing holdings from years ago, but I have sold off most of the equities and now only purchase mutual funds and some ETFs. I also own a few grams of Gold and Silver