Average Cost of a Franchise: How the Top Restaurants Compare

How much does it cost to open a restaurant franchise? Here's what the most popular restaurant franchises cost and how they stack up next to each other.

Jersey Mike’s Subs

The Jersey Mike’s franchise is a leader in the fast-casual sandwich sector. The franchise fee to open a Jersey Mike’s location is $18,500 with total initial costs ranging between $169,001-$804,045. As with any franchise, the range of costs depends on various factors: location fees, construction and design, permits, insurance, opening inventory, and more.

Jersey Mike’s currently has 1,742 franchise locations worldwide and is looking for new franchise opportunities throughout the United States.

Qualifying Jersey Mike’s franchisees must prove to have a net worth of at least $300,000 with $100,000 of that being liquid assets. The process of opening a Jersey Mike’s restaurant could take the better part of a year, which is not uncommon for franchise build outs.

For investors able to secure the capital, Jersey Mike’s prides itself on a company culture focused on store-level profitability and franchisee success, offering a proven business model and a strong return on investment (ROI).


The first Culver’s Frozen Custard opened in 1984, located inside the founder’s parents’ transformed A&W restaurant in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Culver’s began franchising in 1988 and now has 765 established units in the U.S. and is seeking new stores in 26 states.

Culver’s franchise costs are on the higher end, with a $55,000 initial franchise fee and total initial investment ranging from $2,349,000 to $5,356,000. Qualifying candidates must possess a net worth of $500,000 with $200,000 of that being liquid.

Culver’s credits much of its success to the fact that they encourage their own store runners to become franchisees. Prospective investors who are new to the franchise are required to spend a full week working inside one of the restaurants before even signing a franchise agreement.

Culver’s is slow and deliberate with its brand expansion, and the high initial investment is more likely to attract franchisees who are in it for the long haul, fully committed to growing their business. Culver’s believes in the sentiment: the higher the investment, the lower the failure rate.

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

With 3,377 units worldwide, Popeyes is certainly the largest franchise of the group. Franchising since 1973, Popeyes is actively seeking new franchise locations across the globe. The initial franchise fee is $50,000, and the total initial investment can range between $385,500 and $2,620,800. Such a broad fee spectrum is dependent on multiple factors — whether or not the store will be operating out of a new or existing location, and how much construction or refurbishment that structure may require. Qualifying investors must have a $1 million net worth, half of which being liquid.

The length of franchise term agreements typically fall between 5 to 20 years, and Popeyes is at the longer end of the spectrum with a 20-year requirement. Popeyes does not offer exclusive territories. Beyond the financials, Popeyes requires prospective franchisees to have at least five years’ experience owning or operating a restaurant in order to qualify for ownership.

Franchisees credit Popeyes’ broad appeal and recent proliferation across social media through various menu campaigns for their consistency, making for a predictable, if not rapid, return on initial investment.

Wayback Burgers

Wayback Burgers is an appealing franchise opportunity for first-time business owners and seasoned entrepreneurs alike. With an initial franchise fee of $35,000 and an estimated initial investment between $350,000 and $450,000, Wayback is well within the range for prospective investors who are dissuaded by other fast-casual franchises’ seven-figure price tags.

The Connecticut-based franchise currently has 160+ locations, with great interest in expanding both state-side and beyond. As one of the most promising franchises in the classic burger fast-casual sector, Wayback Burgers relies on innovation and franchisee engagement to continue surpassing the competition.

Wayback Burgers provides world-class training and ongoing support to qualified franchisees who are ready to build a rewarding business in an exciting and ever-evolving market. Visit us to learn more about franchising opportunities.

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