Chick-fil-A is one of the most successful fast food franchises, renowned for its chicken sandwiches, waffle fries, and exceptional service. But how much does it cost to open your own Chick-fil-A franchise? This guide examines the Chick-fil-A franchise fees, startup costs, and requirements to own a location.
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Chick-fil-A Franchise Overview
Here are some quick facts on the Chick-fil-A franchise opportunity:
- Headquarters: Atlanta, Georgia
- Founded: 1967
- CEO: Dan T. Cathy
- Store count: 2,600+ (all franchised)
- 2020 Sales: $4.3 billion
- Initial franchise fee: $10,000
- Total investment: $343,000 – $2.3 million
Chick-fil-A pioneered the chicken sandwich fast food segment. Their closed on Sundays policy also sets them apart.
Chick-fil-A Franchise Fee
The initial franchise fee to open a new Chick-fil-A location is $10,000. This grants you a license to operate a restaurant using their brand and system.
Some other fees include:
- Royalty fee – Chick-fil-A charges an ongoing royalty fee of 15% of gross pre-tax sales.
- Renewal fee – To renew the franchise agreement every 20 years, a 50% rebate of your initial franchise fee is required. This essentially works out to $5,000.
These fees allow Chick-fil-A to support franchisees with site selection, training, marketing, technology, menu development and other services.
Chick-fil-A Franchise Startup Costs
Total investment to open a new Chick-fil-A franchise runs between $343,000 – $2.3 million including:
- Franchise fee – $10,000
- Real estate – $250,000 to $1 million
- Construction and buildout – $75,000 to $1 million+
- Signage – $50,000 to $150,000
- Equipment and furnishings – $150,000 to $500,000
- Initial inventory and operating capital – $250,000
- Grand opening marketing – $75,000+
As a premium fast food brand, Chick-fil-A requires higher buildout investments to meet brand standards. But this leads to higher sales.
Chick-fil-A Franchise Requirements
Chick-fil-A has strict franchisee requirements:
- Cannot be a multi-unit operator or absentee owner
- Must be free of other legal obligations that take time away
- Operators are carefully selected based on community ties and leadership ability, not prior restaurant experience
- Significant community involvement is expected
- Closed on Sundays policy must be honored
Chick-fil-A hand-selects qualified franchisees focused on hands-on restaurant operations and community engagement.
Benefits of Owning a Chick-fil-A
Besides profits, perks include:
- Top-tier average unit volumes exceeding $4.5 million
- Strong brand recognition and customer loyalty
- Operational and marketing support from Chick-fil-A
- Multi-unit opportunities later on for proven operators
- Closed on Sundays policy allows work-life balance
- Prestige of owning a premium, sought-after franchise brand
For qualified operators, Chick-fil-A offers rewarding profits, lifestyle, and reputation. But hands-on ownership is mandatory.
How to Qualify for Chick-fil-A Ownership
Here are tips to boost your chances of getting approved:
- Align your values and passions with Chick-fil-A’s extensive community involvement and leadership priorities
- Be ready to operate the restaurant full-time. Absentee owners are not approved.
- Have ample liquid capital to finance at least $1 million+ in startup costs
- Show stability through long residence, work, and community ties in the area you plan to open
- Highlight any leadership roles, awards, entrepreneurship experience, or restaurant industry experience
- Attend information sessions to make your interest known and learn more about operations
- Make sure you can fully comply with Chick-fil-A’s Christian values and closed on Sundays policy
The top consideration is finding franchisees dedicated to the brand, not just profits.
Next Steps to Own a Franchise
If you believe Chick-fil-A would be a good fit, here are next steps:
- Thoroughly research the brand, requirements, costs, and operations
- Attend an information session for prospects
- Meet with a Chick-fil-A franchise recruiter to discuss your background and goals
- Submit a detailed preliminary application should you receive an invitation to move forward
- If selected, you’ll complete an in-depth application, interviews, selection camp, and paperwork
The process takes 6-12 months as Chick-fil-A vets candidates deeply. Patience is key.
FAQ About Chick-fil-A Franchising
Here are some common questions:
Is a college degree required?
No, there is no formal education requirement. Qualified candidates from all backgrounds are considered.
Do you need restaurant experience?
Restaurant experience is not required since training is provided. More important is community leadership experience.
How much equity is required?
You need to be able to contribute at least $1 million cash toward startup costs. Financing may fill gaps.
Can the restaurant be open 6 days a week?
No, to uphold brand values you must commit to closing on Sundays. No exceptions are made.
Are multiple locations allowed?
Typically operators start with one restaurant. After demonstrating success over time, additional units may be awarded.
Is Chick-fil-A Ownership Right for You?
The reasonably low franchise fee belies the extensive capital, time and brand commitment required by Chick-fil-A. Hands-on owners who wholeheartedly embrace the brand values experience immense rewards. But the process is thorough. If you believe you’re up for the challenge, the opportunity could be life-changing.