The Twin Cities loves fast food, study finds

Apparently, we're fit, but also like burgers and shakes as much as anyone.
Apparently, we're fit, but also like burgers and shakes as much as anyone.

We may be fit, but apparently Twin Citians also love fast food.

According to a study by QSR (for quick-service restaurant) Magazine, from 2000 through 2010, the Twin Cities had the third-largest increase in fast-food spending of any metropolis over 1 million in population.

That, combined with the fact that the Twin Cities also had the second-largest increase in the raw number of fast-food transactions, led QSR to conclude that the Twin Cities is the ninth hottest market for quick-service restaurant growth in the country.

QSR's rankings are based on population growth, change in the overall number of transactions and transaction size, and the total increase in fast-food spending. According to QSR, the hottest fast-food growth market is Orlando. Seattle, Portland, Riverside, and Austin round out the top five.

Interestingly, the average amount spent per fast-food transaction in the Twin Cities actually decreased by 1 percent during the decade QSR scrutinized. But the total number of transactions increased by 26 percent, indicating that consumers were thinking outside the bun with more fourth-meal trips while spending less per-transaction.

At least one prominent national fast-food chain plans to act on QSR's advice and enter the Twin Cities market. Georgia-based Chick-fil-A is reportedly planning to enter the Twin Cities market in earnest next year. Currently, the chain's tender chicken breasts are only available at locations on-campus at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State University-Mankato.

The Minneapois/St. Paul Business Journal reports that the Chick-fil-A market entry would be the Twin Cities' largest since Sonic debuted here four years ago. Other notable recent quick-service entries into the local market include Panda Express in 2010, Five Guys Burgers and Fries in '09 and Little Caesars in '06.

Talk about a metro area of contrasts. We're the most fit, but also some of the nation's foremost fast-food connoisseurs? Perhaps Twin Citians simply order a lot of salads at McDonald's. Either that, or we burn off all those dollar-menu calories by working out like Olympic athletes in training. 

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