20 Fast Food Franchise Opportunities

fast food franchise

Fast food chains are popular around the country, offering various foods from drive-thru windows and counters. If you’re interested in breaking into the fast food world, read on for a guide.

What is a Fast Food Franchise?

Fast food franchises are quick-service restaurants that use a franchise system to grow. Independent operators run their own locations, connected to the larger brand.



The Fast Food Restaurants Industry in 2022

The fast food industry is still popular even with supply and worker challenges. Fast food joints continue to offer cost-effective and convenient options that customers value.

Why You Should Consider Becoming a Fast Food Franchise Owner

If you’re looking to start your own business in 2022, here are some reasons franchise owners should consider a fast food business model:

  • Choose from tons of options: There’s a franchise opportunity for nearly everyone within fast food, from burger joints to specialty food counters.
  • Enjoy a reliable model: Fast food has been around for decades and is consistently popular.
  • Get plenty of brand recognition: Many brands are well known throughout the country, giving your business immediate trust.
  • Start quickly: A franchise model lets you find a location, equipment, ingredients, and team members quickly.
  • Earn profits: Fast food tends to be fairly profitable compared to other food service businesses. Franchisees enjoy extra buying power thanks to their connection to a nationwide brand to keep costs low.

Top Fast Food Franchises

If you’re looking for fast food franchises to start in 2022, here are some to consider.

1. Burger King

Burger King offers a well-known brand with tons of markets still open for growth. The company offers extensive training and buying power for a $50,000 franchise agreement fee.

2. McDonald’s

McDonald’s franchise opportunities are among the most popular due to the high brand recognition. Various models are available, from simple drive-thrus to large restaurants with play places. Franchisees pay an initial fee of $45,000.

3. Subway

Subway restaurants offer a build-your-own sandwich model that’s popular around the world. The initial fee is $15,000 in the U.S. and Canada.

4. KFC

KFC offers a varied menu and flexible restaurant models. The initial investment for ground-up construction starts at around $1 million, but there are also nontraditional options starting at around $250,000.



5. Taco Bell

Taco Bell restaurant offers franchise opportunities around the U.S. and internationally. The brand is popular with young people, and initial fees range from $25,000 to $50,000.

6. Wendy’s

Wendy’s is a traditional burger franchise with lots of unique menu options and significant brand recognition. The franchise fee for a 20-year term is $50,000.

7. Auntie Anne’s

Auntie Anne’s is a pretzel bakery with a counter-service model. Franchisees are often set up in malls, but various models are available including kiosks and trucks. The franchise fee is $35,500, with initial costs starting at around $145,000.

8. Jersey Mike’s

Jersey Mike’s is a counter service sub shop with lots of available markets across the U.S. The franchising fee is $18,500, with the total initial investment starting at around $145,000.

9. Popeye’s

Popeye’s is a southern-style fried chicken franchise with room for growth across the country. Costs vary by location and restaurant model, but the initial fee is $50,000 and total expenses start at around $235,000.

10. Chick Fil A

Chick Fil A is another popular chicken chain known for quality service and Christian values. Various models are available, so startup costs vary. But the franchise fee starts at just $10,000.

11. Five Guys

Five Guys is a popular burger chain with a simple menu and competitive pricing. The initial fee is $25,000 to get started.

12. Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen is a popular ice cream brand that also offers “Grill ‘n’ Chill” quick service models. The franchise fee is $45,000, and the total initial investment starts at around $1.5 million.

13. Dunkin’

Dunkin’ is a popular coffee shop that also offers baked goods and breakfast foods from various store designs. Franchise fees range from $40,000 to $90,000, and the total initial investment starts at about $530,000.



14. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut is a popular chain with various models available, from counters to full-service restaurants. Nontraditional investments start at around $40,000, while full-service restaurants start at $367,000.



15. Papa John’s

Papa John pizza is a delivery and quick service franchise with opportunities available in the U.S. and internationally. New franchisees must pay a $25,000 fee and have at least $75,000 in liquid assets.

16. Teriyaki Madness

Teriyaki Madness is a Japanese-inspired quick service model often found in shopping centers and large complexes. The initial startup costs range from $346,000 to $768,000.

17. Cinnabon

Cinnabon is a popular bakery chain with various models available from full stores to kiosks. They also co-brand with Auntie Anne’s. The initial franchise fee is $30,500, and total costs start at around $230,000.

18. Smoothie King

Smoothie King is a popular smoothie stand that offers additional menu items. Units can be in-line locations or drive-thrus. The initial fee is $25,000 to $30,000, with startup costs starting at $320,000.

19. Culver’s

Culver’s is a burger and frozen custard restaurant known for fresh ingredients. The company has several markets available throughout the U.S. for a franchise fee of $55,000.

20. Checker’s

Checker’s and Rally’s are racing-themed burger restaurants that focus mainly on drive-thru service. The initial franchise fee ranges from $20,000 to $30,000.

How to Choose the Best Franchise to Set Up Your Fast Food Restaurant Business

Aside from looking for a recognizable brand that offers franchises in your area, here are some other factors to consider.

Determine Your Budget

How much are you able to spend upfront? And what ongoing costs seem reasonable to you?

Analyze Your Market

Consider opportunities that are unique in your area or whatever location you plan to start your business.

Research Opportunities

Look over the franchise business review, franchise disclosure document, and FAQs for any opportunities that appeal to you.

Speak with Candidates

Once you’ve found an opportunity that appeals to you, reach out to their franchising team to discuss and get a better feel for their requirements and process.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Fast Food Franchise?

Since there are so many fast food franchises available, startup costs vary widely from about $200,000 to over $2 million. Many fall around $300,000 to $500,000, including everything from the initial franchise fee to other startup costs like restaurant equipment. Many also charge royalties or a monthly service fee.

Are Fast Food Franchises Profitable?

Fast food can be a very lucrative business. For many restaurants, gross sales and low food costs allow you to maintain a profit margin between 5 and 10%.


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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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