Though Chick-fil-A is one of the most successful fast food chains in the United States, it is one of the cheapest in terms of starting a franchise. The company tells Business Insider that it charges franchises $10,000 to open a new restaurant and doesn’t require candidates to meet a threshold for net worth or liquid assets. To keep costs low for new franchise owners, Chick-fil-A pays for all startup costs, which include real estate, restaurant construction, and equipment. In exchange, Chick-fil-A leases everything and charges an ongoing fee equal to 15 percent of sales plus 50 percent of pretax profit, according to Chick-fil-A spokeswoman Amanda Hannah.
This model contrasts from other major U.S. fast food chains. For example, McDonald’s requires potential franchises to pay between $955,708 and $2.3 million, along with a $45,000 franchise fee, and to have liquid assets of at least $750,000. Taco Bell requires $1.2 million to $2.5 million in startup costs, a minimum net worth of $1.5 million and liquid assets of at least $750,000. In comparison to Chick-fil-A, however, ongoing fees are lower. McDonald’s ongoing monthly service fee is equal to four percent of gross sales and an additional fee for rent, which is also a percentage of sales.
Regarding the Chick-fil-A franchise model, Hannah says, “The barrier to entry for being a franchisee is never going to be money. We seek to find the very best business partners who find great joy in making other people's days. They do so with a combination of great business acumen, an entrepreneurial spirit, and a passion for serving others.” Chick-fil-A receives more than 20,000 inquiries from franchise candidates each year. Of these 20,000, 75 to 80 are selected. Interested candidates submit a form online.