The Top 5 Easiest Food Franchises to Open: A Beginner’s Guide to Investing in a Turnkey Business

08 - 07 - 2023

Food franchises offer a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs to start a business with the backing of established brands, highlighting the five easiest and most affordable options.

Key Points

  • 🍦 Baskin-Robbins: Low initial investment with extensive support and training, ideal for entrepreneurs interested in desserts.
  • 🐔 Chick-Fil-A: Minimal upfront cost, but significant profit sharing, suited for those seeking a hands-off marketing approach.
  • 🥪 Quiznos: Affordable entry with low royalty fees, best for entrepreneurs looking for a compact, efficient operation.
  • 🍕 Papa John’s: Recognizable brand with moderate startup costs, offering comprehensive training.
  • 🍔 Juici Patties: Offers a unique product with a range of investment options, appealing for those looking to tap into ethnic cuisine trends.

Did you know that nearly 4% of all small businesses in the United States are franchises? Franchising generates more than $2.1 trillion annually. Food franchises allow you to step into a proven model. While your grit and creativity ultimately determine your results, you never feel like wandering the unknown. This list will help if you’re looking for the easiest food franchise to open.

Recommended reading: Chain Restaurants vs. Franchise Restaurants

The Benefits of Food Franchises for Entrepreneurs

In a franchise setup, a franchisee pays for licensing that grants access to a brand’s proprietary business products, ingredients, vendors, knowledge, processes, trademarks, and name association.

Finding the easiest food franchise to open is about pinning down a turnkey business model. The term “turnkey” refers to a business that is ready to use, ready to go, and already recognized by the public. It means that you merely need to “turn the key” to unlock the doors of your own business.

Of course, even the easiest food franchise to open requires more ground-level commitment. As the franchisee, you’re building your own business using the established framework and support of a growing, thriving brand. The benefits include:

  • There’s no need to spend time on your market research and analysis because the brand you’re joining has already done the work.
  • There’s no need to investigate the best location because the brand has already pinpointed ideal spots.
  • Access to supply chains and vendors.
  • Name recognition.
  • While local franchises often do some of their marketing, regional and national chains will do large-scale marketing that directly benefits your location.
  • Franchisees enjoy clear, predictable investment pricing.

For most first-time franchisees, the goal is to identify the most affordable restaurant franchises. Next, take a look at the facts behind some popular franchises.

The Five Easiest and Most Affordable Restaurant Franchises to Open

Did you know that most “big” fast food franchises won’t even talk to you unless you have a minimum of $1 million in personal wealth and hundreds of thousands of dollars available in cash to put forward? In this article, we’ll skip past those to highlight the easiest food franchise to open, even if you’re not rich.

5. Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins is famous for its ice cream, cakes, and sundaes. The brand runs nearly 8,000 shops in 52 countries. Baskin-Robbins locations have standalone buildings, indoor malls, strip malls, stadiums, casinos, college buildings, and airport terminals.

The initial investment to open a Baskin-Robbins franchise is just $25,000. However, the actual start-up cost could range from $90,000 to $400,000, based on your location. Franchisees pay a 5.9% royalty on monthly gross sales. They must also contribute a 5% advertising fee toward the company’s marketing program. Franchisees must be willing to staff a space ranging from 800 to 1,500 square feet. It’s also possible to purchase an existing shop with established sales, staff, systems, and community recognition.

Baskin-Robbins offers franchisees a 10-day training program that covers marketing, preparing Baskin-Robbins desserts, leveraging Baskin-Robbins technology, setting growth goals, and hiring qualified staff.

4. Chick-Fil-A

Most people are familiar with this fast food chain’s tasty hand-breaded chicken sandwiches and waffle fries served with world-class hospitality. However, they may need to know that this might be the easiest fast-food franchise to open if you’re in the right position. Chick-Fil-A is an outlier within the “big name” clique because the company only requires $10,000 as an upfront investment when opening a new franchise. Additionally, Chick-fil-A purchases the real estate and equipment on behalf of the franchisee. The catch is that they are then leased to the franchisee via monthly rent payments.

Chick-Fil-A handles all marketing costs and operational decisions on behalf of franchisees. While Chick-Fil-A’s startup fee is meager, the company does take 15% of sales and 50% of any profit. Of the 50,000 applicants trying to open Chick-Fil-A franchises each year, less than 1% of franchisees are accepted.

3. Quiznos

If Quiznos has been around forever, it might be because the franchise opened its doors in 1981. Quiznos is known for its cold and hot subs, salads, and soups.

The initial franchise fee to open your own Quiznos is just $30,000. Additionally, the company’s 5% royalty fee is among the lowest in the industry. However, you must have a minimum of $100,000 in liquid assets or cash to qualify.

Total startup fees for Quiznos franchisees could reach $216,100 to $500,000. The company’s marketing fee is just 2% of gross sales. Quiznos does a solid job of providing everything franchisees need to get their locations up and running quickly. One of the hidden details making this the easiest food franchise to open for many is that Quiznos locations typically have less square footage than other franchises. That means that rent costs are often lower than average. Smaller footprints often mean that franchisees save money by needing fewer employees.

2. Papa John’s

Most people know Papa John’s for serving fresh, hot, and fast pizza for takeout and delivery. The Papa John’s franchise fee is just $25,000. There’s also a $5,000 development fee for each new location. While the initial investment, with all factors considered, is closer to $130,000 to $900,000, this is still quite low based on the brand’s recognition. Franchisees must also have at least $250,000 in cash or liquid assets.

Papa John’s franchisees are charged a very reasonable royalty fee of 5%. However, the 8% advertising fee is on the higher side. One of the perks of opening your own Papa John’s location is that the company provides six to eight weeks of training. There’s also ongoing training for the whole team. Generally, new franchisees are asked to commit to locations ranging from 1,200 to 1,400 square feet with an average of 20 employees.

1. Juici Patties

Considered by many to be both the easiest food franchise to open and the most exciting option right now, Juici Patties flips the script on stale burgers by offering “fresh and fast” food consisting of Jamaican-born beef patties and sides. While some of the other affordable restaurant franchises lure franchisees in with low initial investment fees before adding in itemized costs,

Juici Patties simply states that initial investments will be:

  • $386,950 to $509,500 for a small-format space,
  • $577,450 to $732,350 for a standard-format space,
  • and $659,450 to $832,550 for a large-format space. The franchise fee is built in ($45,000).

Franchisees also pay a 6% royalty-free and 4% marketing fee. Most Juici Patties locations range from 600 square feet to 2,000 square feet. However, the brand is flexible about considering custom spaces that might work for specific franchise locations.

Don’t forget to check: How to Buy an Exciting New Franchise

When someone invests in a Juici Patties location, they take ownership of one of the first authentic Jamaican restaurant concepts in the United States. This means being at the forefront of tapping into the growing preference for fresh ethnic cuisine that’s also accessible and affordable!

One of the reasons why this is often considered the easiest food franchise to open is that Juici Patties franchisees enjoy unparalleled support. Once accepted, a franchisee becomes privy to a streamlined and customized restaurant buildout selection. They also receive training with the tools they need to run their franchise. Of course, training and support extend beyond opening day. This includes ongoing training, mentorships, access to vendors, and the use of proprietary recipes and ingredients.

Best Easiest Food Franchises to Open

The Big Difference Between The Cheapest Fast Food Franchise And Affordable Food Franchises

Cheap versus affordable franchises often differ significantly in value and overall costs. A “cheap” franchise might have a low initial investment. Still, it could incur high ongoing costs, such as royalties and marketing fees, or offer limited support, ultimately making it more expensive in the long run. On the other hand, an “affordable” franchise like Juici Patties balances a reasonable startup investment with comprehensive franchisee support and manageable ongoing fees.

Juici Patties, for instance, stands out among competitors by including substantial pre-opening training and custom restaurant buildout options in its franchise package, offering significant value for the investment.

This approach not only facilitates a smoother startup process but also enhances the potential for long-term success, making it an ideal choice for entrepreneurs interested in entering the food franchise industry with a fresh and ethnically diverse offering.

What to Look for in the Easiest Food Franchise to Open

Pitfalls are easy to come by when searching for the easiest food franchise to open. First, hidden fees can quickly turn a good opportunity into something that feels rewardless. This is why looking for franchise opportunities with clear, no-nonsense information about pricing and fees is important.

It’s also important to choose a franchise that you feel passionate about! We all know that most restaurants have served the same things over and over for years. The trick is to find a fresh idea propelled by something more than novelty. Tapping into the growing desire among consumers for fresh “fast food” is one way to stay ahead of the pack.

According to a recent study on satisfaction and revisit intentions at fast food restaurants, concerns about healthy food substantially affect a customer’s expectations and choice of restaurant. Researchers identified the qualities of aroma, juiciness, crispness, and new food posture as the factors consumers use to assess freshness. These qualities are great visuals to consider when assessing the true value of the easiest food franchise to open!

Meet the Founder and CEO of Juici Patties Franchise in the United States, Daniel Chin. As the son of Jukie Chin, he inherited a legacy of mouthwatering patties. Recognizing the brand’s potential, Daniel joined the business in 2013 and is now the driving force behind Juici Patties’ success in the U.S. With a strong commitment to quality and exceptional customer care, Daniel aims to expand our presence while staying true to our core values.

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