Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

How to cash in on the census

It's way more than just a headcount -- it's market intelligence used by companies to make decisions about what people buy, what they eat, and even what they watch on TV.

1 of 6
What's on the menu -- Subway
What's on the menu -- Subway
You can order a meatball sub at any Subway store in the country, but you can't necessarily order the same drink. The line-up at the soda fountain can vary by zip code -- and that's thanks to census data.

Mark Roden owns 48 Subway franchises in Arizona and plans his beverage offerings based on census demographics distilled by third-party market researchers like PopStats or Nielsen Claritas.

When Roden looked at the data, he realized that in west Phoenix, where there is a large Hispanic presence, Fanta would be a big seller. In suburban Tucson, home to a lot of families with children, Hi-C pink lemonade sells well. Populations with a lot of older folks, on the other hand, seem to prefer root beer and Cherry Coke.

Soda selection isn't just a question of regional tastes, but a major revenue driver. Sandwich price points like the $5 Footlong may bring customers into the store, said Roden, "but selling added drinks -- that's where you make the money."

NEXT: What you watch -- Telemundo
Last updated March 16 2010: 5:24 PM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Designing the workplace of the future: Virtual reality and 3D panoramas As businesses go global and teams are scattered around the world, herding everyone into the same room for a meeting seems quaint. So companies are using technology to get creative. More
Sports teams want you back in the stadium Stadium attendance is down so pro sports teams are using technology to win back fans and get them in their seats. More
Homes in these ZIP codes are selling like crazy Strong job growth, growing interest from Millennials and affordable home prices are attracting home buyers to these cities. More

Special Offer