11 Popular Franchises You Can Own—And What It Costs To Open Them

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Ever wonder what it takes to run your favorite restaurant chain? If being a franchise owner is your dream, we’ve got a crucial fact for you: Before you open up shop, you’ll have to pay a franchise fee. The cost varies from company to company, and many businesses also require that potential franchisees meet a minimum net worth. So, whether you’re an aspiring business owner, or just interested in learning some behind-the-scenes facts about your favorite chain store, we’ve got the details here:

1. SUBWAY: $15,000

Subway has one of the lowest franchise fees, at just $15,000. It also requires a minimum net worth of $80,000 and minimum liquid assets of $30,000. The company has approximately 35,000 franchises around the world, and franchisees have managed to set up shop in some pretty interesting locations. For example, in Buffalo, New York, there’s a Subway restaurant inside the city’s True Bethel Baptist Church.

2. KRISPY KREME DOUGHNUT CORP: $12,500—$25,000

The franchise fee for a Krispy Kreme location ranges from $12,500 to $25,000. But shelling out the dough for your very own Krispy Kreme store won't give you access to their donut recipe—that’s a heavily guarded secret. The recipe is kept in a vault in the Winston-Salem N.C. plant that manufactures its dry doughnut mix.

3. PIZZA HUT: $25,000

One of the lower fees on this list, with just a $25,000 franchise fee, but a required net worth of $700,000, and liquid assets of $350,000. Plus, the company has delivered its pizza pretty much everywhere: in 1989 the restaurant delivered pizzas to the White House, for First Lady Barbara Bush’s pizza party. Then, in 2001, Pizza Hut became the first pizza delivered to the International Space Station.


Cold Stone claims to offer the “Ultimate Ice Cream Experience.” The company opened its doors in 1988, and has been awarding franchises since 1994. The franchise fee is $27,000, with a required net worth of $250,000; the company estimates that, on average, the process of purchasing and opening a Cold Stone franchise takes four to twelve months.

5. BEN & JERRY'S: $37,000

A “socially conscious” ice cream option, Ben & Jerry’s requires a minimum net worth of $350,00 and minimum liquid assets of $100,000. The company, founded by two childhood best friends in 1978, is specifically looking for franchisees who “are socially conscious” and “active in [their] community.” Their whimsical headquarters in South Burlington, Vermont features a slide that connects the building’s main level and second floor, plus a scoop shop called “Scoop U” that’s used for franchisee training.

6. WENDY’S: $40,000

The going rate to open a Wendy’s franchise is $40,000, plus a minimum net worth of $5 million, and minimum liquid assets of $2 million. The restaurant, which first opened in 1969, was also the first fast food chain to open a salad bar.

7. TACO BELL: $45,000

Opening up a Taco Bell will initially set you back $45,000. The company also requires potential franchisees have a net worth of at least $1.5 million and $750,000 in liquid assets. But the investment might be worth it: there are Taco Bell locations all over the world—except in Mexico. The company has twice attempted to open locations in Mexico, once in 1992, then again in 2010. Both times, the restaurant was forced to close due to low patronage.

8. MCDONALD’S: $45,000

McDonald’s is one of the few franchises that doesn’t list a minimum net worth—though you’ll still need at least $750,000 in liquid assets plus the $45,000 franchise fee before you can open one of their locations. But it might just be worth it: McDonald’s restaurants serve over 68 million people every day—that’s greater than the population of the U.K.

9. KFC: $45,000

Opening a KFC is on the pricier end of the spectrum, though potentially lucrative, proposition: on top of the $45,000 franchise fee, the company requires franchisees meet a minimum net worth of $1.5 million, and liquid assets of $750,000.


In their original franchise agreement, Sonic didn’t charge a franchise fee—instead, the company’s owners received a penny for every logo-stamped hamburger bag used. But today, Sonic follows a more traditional franchise model, charging a $45,000 franchise fee, and requiring both minimum net worth and liquid assets be at least $1,000,000.

11. DUNKIN' DONUTS: $40,000—$90,000

The popular donut and coffee spot first opened in 1950, and has been franchising for nearly 60 years. The franchise fee ranges from $40,000 to $90,000, and requires a minimum net worth of $250,000 with liquid assets of at least $125,000. If you’re interested in purchasing a Dunkin Donuts, consider opening one in an airport—in 2012, the company was voted #1 airport franchisor in Airport News.