Orange County No Longer the Promised Land for Fast Food?

Taco Bell, Del Taco, In-N-Out, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.–the list of fast-food chains with headquarters in Irvine is among the largest in the country. They came to our land of plenty not just because of a friendlier business environment, but also because Southern California has always offered deliverance to fast-food innovations. Taco Bell, Del Taco, In-N-Out, McDonald's, Wienerschnitzel–that list is even longer.

But that era is over, if you believe a recent QSR Magazine report.


QSR is the bible of the fast-food industry, not just for its stellar reporting, but also for its detailed reports: on revenue, fastest-growing companies and the like. Earlier this week, it published its annual Growth 40 list, QSR's compilation of the markets (large, medium and small) it feels are best for the growth and expansion of locations for fast-food chains.

Orange County didn't make the list. Nor the Inland Empire. Nor any Southern California city.

The report took in various factors, from education to household income, as well as the relative lack of chains in such markets. That explains why Buffalo is QSR's top choice for potential franchises to branch out. Compare that to OC, where we have a fast-food outlet every other strip mall. Then again, consider Five Guys, the Habit and other regional chains who are bringing their dining dogma to our parts. . . .

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