How Much Does It Cost To Own A Chain Franchise?

So, you want to run a restaurant of your own. How about a chain franchise? Think about it: You pay some money and delivered into your lap is a fully built-out restaurant with a built-in devoted following, a tried-and-true concept, a set menu, and a supply chain. All you have to do is staff it, keep it running smoothly, and maintain relations with corporate. Not a bad deal, right? Should you happen to find yourself in the market, we've done the research for you, and have found the franchising prices for 15 of the nation's top chains.

How Much Does It Cost to Own a Chain Franchise? (Slideshow)

So what is a franchise, exactly? When a restaurant opens multiple locations, it becomes increasingly difficult to run them all via a corporate headquarters. So what the company will do is sell the rights to open an outpost to highly qualified individuals after they've been put through a thorough vetting process. McDonald's, for example, only owns and operates about 20 percent of their locations; the rest are franchised out. 

One notable exception from the franchise pack is In-N-Out Burger, which refuses to franchise operations and keeps all of their locations company-owned-and-operated in an effort to control quality across the board. A brand is only as strong as its weakest franchise, which is another good reason to vet everyone who could potentially become a franchise owner.

So yes, it's true that if you want to open a franchise you can't just walk into the corporate office with a pile of cash and buy one. It's a lengthy vetting process, but if you pass the test you can be well on your way to become quite wealthy as an owner, especially if you're able to purchase multiple franchises over time.

But exactly how much does it cost to buy a franchise at the top chains? While many chains don't have set franchise costs, there are very strict rules about what your personal finances need to be before they'll even consider granting you a franchise license. Click here to learn all about them.