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An Overview of the Restaurant Industry in Raleigh, North Carolina

An Overview of the Restaurant Industry in Raleigh, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina, is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. From 2000 to 2010, its population increased by 59.3 percent, according to City-Data. That number is likely even higher now, seven years later. It’s home to North Carolina State University and is part of the Research Triangle, together with Duke University (located in nearby Durham) and Chapel Hill, which houses UNC-Chapel Hill. The research triangle contains numerous tech companies and startups that have enjoyed tremendous success, and it’s a thriving area where the restaurant scene is going strong.

Contributions to the Economy

Restaurants are a driving force for Raleigh’s economy as they help provide jobs and build careers for thousands of people and entrepreneurs. The city and surrounding area is excellent place for those interested in buying an existing restaurant business, thanks in part to the growing population and numerous college student residents, who are typical customers of the restaurant and bar scene.

In North Carolina overall, there are 18,169 eating and drinking establishments. Currently, restaurant and food-service jobs make up about 10 percent of total employment within the state, and that number is expected to grow to 15 percent by the year 2027.

Southern Living named Raleigh as one of the Top 10 tastiest towns in the South in 2011. The restaurant scene in Raleigh is marked by many eateries focusing on farm-to-table cooking, utilizing farmer’s markets for locally grown and harvested ingredients and mixing in culinary staples like barbecue and sweet tea.

The area also has a wide range of options to suit whatever diners are looking for, whether it’s pub grub, seafood, classic Southern fare, pizza or foreign cuisine.

If you are interested in purchasing a restaurant in the Raleigh area, call LINK Business Raleigh at 919-299-9880 or visit for more info.

Successful Restaurants Abound in Raleigh

When it comes to businesses that are put up for sale in the area, choices include Japanese restaurants, Puerto Rican/Latin establishments, traditional diners, coffeeshops and eateries serving American cuisine. Many opportunities that are available are independently owned and not franchises, though franchising is also an option in the area.

One award winning restaurant in the area specializes in steakhouse cuisine. It was named #22 on the Top 100 list of successful independent restaurants in the United States by Restaurant Business Magazine for 2017. The eatery garnered over $20 million in sales in 2016 and served nearly 300,000 meals to hungry patrons. It’s an excellent example of a successful independent restaurant in the Raleigh area.

Millennials Help Drive Restaurant Success

In 2014, Forbes magazine named Raleigh as one of the best cities in the US for millennials to live; it ranked #12 in a list of 25 cities. To come up with this ranking, Forbes analyzed census data and surveys from a half million college students and graduates between 2010- 2014. Fourteen percent of Raleigh’s overall population is within the 25-34 age demographic, and its Morrisville neighborhood was identified as the best area in the city for millennials to live.

Recent marketing research has shown that millennials are more likely to splurge on experiences than stuff, and dining out is an experience. That’s good news for restaurant owners who are able to create a unique, enjoyable environment or offer delicious delicacies that aren’t available just anywhere.

Restaurants in the Raleigh area are likely to continue to grow in the future and further contribute to North Carolina’s strong economy. Anyone looking to purchase a business in the area might want to consider getting into food service. If you are interested in purchasing a restaurant in the Raleigh area, call LINK Business Raleigh at 919-299-9880 or visit for more info.