Dining in Triumph: Unveiling Top 5 Cities for Opening Restaurants

Top 5 Cities for Opening Restaurants

 Opening a successful restaurant requires careful planning, market research, and a unique concept that caters to the preferences of the local population and visitors.

In this article, we made an analysis using Google Trends, and here's what we found interesting. Against the background of negative or no changes search trends in all states in general for words such as "restaurant near me", "restaurants", and "best restaurants" we found two states where trends break all records.

It's interesting to note that the top 5 cities we're talking about are all in two states: Florida and South Carolina. This trend has a lot to do with how things changed since 2020. After all those lockdowns, people started rethinking where they want to live. The appeal of big cities like New York and Chicago wasn't as strong anymore. Instead, more folks decided to move to states with nicer weather, like Florida and South Carolina. Plus, the option to work from home made it easier for families to settle down in these sunny places.

Florida and South Carolina have historically been attractive states for opening new restaurants due to various factors, such as tourism, favorable climate, population growth, culinary diversity, business-friendly environment, coastal locations, and cultural attractions. Leveraging these advantages, here's a guide to opening successful restaurants in the top 5 cities of Florida and South Carolina, along with the benefits of each place:


Top 5 Cities to Open a Restaurant According To Google Trends


1. Destin, FL:


  • Beautiful beaches and family-oriented attractions attract a steady stream of tourists, providing a consistent customer base.
  • High demand for dining options due to the popularity of the vacation destination.
  • A favorable climate encourages outdoor dining, enhancing the overall dining experience.


  • Over 4 million tourists visited Destin in 2020, with a steady year-over-year increase. (Source: Destin-Fort Walton Beach Tourism)
  • Outdoor dining establishments in Destin report a 15-20% increase in revenue during peak tourist seasons. (Source: Local Restaurant Association)

Opportunity: Open a family restaurant that offers a diverse menu catering to both tourists and locals. Emphasize fresh seafood and beachside dining to capture the essence of the location.

2. Panama City Beach, FL:



  • The vibrant beach scene and family-friendly activities make it an appealing spot for families.
  • Tourists and locals alike seek casual dining experiences in this popular area.


  • Panama City Beach attracted over 12 million visitors in 2021, a 10% increase from the previous year. (Source: Visit Panama City Beach)
  • 65% of visitors to Panama City Beach indicated a preference for family-friendly dining options. (Source: Visitor Survey)

Opportunity: Establish a restaurant that specializes in casual dining with a beach-themed ambiance. Offer a mix of seafood and comfort food to cater to the diverse tastes of visitors.

3. Myrtle Beach, SC:


  • Draws families from various regions, creating a demand for enjoyable dining options.
  • Popular vacation destination with a focus on family-oriented attractions.


  • Myrtle Beach saw over 20 million visitors in 2020, with a consistent yearly growth rate. (Source: Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce)
  • Family-friendly restaurants reported a 25% increase in revenue during peak vacation months. (Source: Local Restaurant Association)

Opportunity: Create a family restaurant that combines local flavors with a welcoming atmosphere. Highlight regional cuisine and offer options suitable for children.

4. Hilton Head Island, SC:


  • Renowned for upscale tourism and a family-friendly environment, attracting affluent visitors.
  • Potential to cater to both locals and vacationers seeking memorable dining experiences.


  • Hilton Head Island welcomed over 2.6 million visitors in 2021, primarily from higher-income demographics. (Source: Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce)
  • Upscale restaurants on Hilton Head Island reported an average check size of $75 per person, indicating a willingness to spend on quality dining experiences. (Source: Local Market Research)

Opportunity: Open an upscale restaurant that emphasizes quality dining experiences. Focus on elegant presentation, locally sourced ingredients, and exceptional service.

5. Marco Island, FL:


  • A trendy destination with a demand for casual dining options in a picturesque setting.
  • Attracts visitors seeking a relaxed and enjoyable dining experience.


  • Marco Island experienced a 15% increase in tourist arrivals in the past three years, with over 1 million visitors in 2020. (Source: Marco Island Chamber of Commerce)
  • Casual dining establishments reported a 30% growth in revenue during peak tourist seasons. (Source: Local Restaurant Association)

Opportunity: Launch a family restaurant that captures the island's ambiance. Offer a blend of international and regional cuisines, with an emphasis on fresh and locally sourced ingredients.


Additional Considerations:

  • Conduct thorough market research to understand local preferences, competition, and trends.
  • Develop a unique restaurant concept that resonates with the target audience.
  • Prioritize high-quality food and exceptional service to create memorable dining experiences.
  • Utilize effective marketing strategies to promote the restaurant and attract customers.
  • Establish a solid financial plan and budget to ensure sustainable operations.

Conclusion: Opening a successful restaurant requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a commitment to delivering exceptional dining experiences. By capitalizing on the benefits of each location and tailoring your restaurant concept to the preferences of the local population and tourists, you can create a thriving culinary establishment that becomes a cherished part of the community. Always remember to stay informed about the latest trends and developments in the restaurant industry and seek guidance from industry professionals for a successful venture.

Consider reading our related article: Step-by-Step Plan How To Open a Restaurant