10 best and worst places to open a restaurant

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As unforgiving as the restaurant business may be to newcomers, there are spots where entrepreneurs are likely to find mercy for a first-time venture, according to a new study. Here are the 10 cities it identifies as the markets where a restaurant startup is most likely to succeed—along with the 10 toughest places for a new concept to scratch out a foothold.

The rosters are based on an analysis of 50 U.S. metropolitan areas, according to LendingTree, the financial services concern that conducted the research. Among the factors it weighed was the cost of labor in each area, along with the ratio of restaurants to households with annual income of at least $100,000; the number of restaurants per 100,000 residents aged 35 to 54, an age bracket with a high percentage of avid restaurant fans; and estimated revenues, based on the information provided in 5,400 small-business loan applications processed by LendingTree.

Here are the 10 best and worst places to open a restaurant, along with the payroll data per restaurant employee for each location. That information is included here because of mounting indications that operators are giving labor costs more consideration when choosing sites for new restaurants.

The full information can be found here.

10 best places to open a restaurant

Market  Avg. annual pay per staffer 
1.  Milwaukee $14,510
2.  Cincinnati      $14,813
3.  Minneapolis $17,094
4.  Louisville, Ky. $14,979
5.  Raleigh, N.C.      $15,396
6.  Riverside, Calif.     $17,675
7.  Kansas City, Mo.   $16,489
8.  Hartford, Conn.   $18,119
9.  Richmond, Va. $15,221
10.  St. Louis    $15,381


10 worst places to open a restaurant

MarketAvg. annual pay per staffer
1.  New York City $22,581
2.  San Francisco$23,325
3.  New Orleans $17,426
4.  Providence, R.I.  $17,781
5.  Boston   $20,570
6.  Portland, Ore.    $19,125
7.   Los Angeles$19,634
8.   Seattle         $21,851
9.   Miami  $18,892
10.  Buffalo, N.Y.$16,309

Source: LendingTree

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