The Cost of Owning a Chick-fil-A Franchise: Everything You Need to Know

Understanding the Franchise Fee and Initial Investment

Before you consider owning a Chick-fil-A franchise, it is important to understand the franchise fee and initial investment required. The franchise fee for a Chick-fil-A restaurant is $10,000, but the total initial investment ranges from $343,000 to $2,165,000, depending on several factors such as location, restaurant size, and equipment needs.

The initial investment covers expenses such as construction, equipment, signage, and inventory. The cost of real estate is not included in the initial investment, as Chick-fil-A typically does not own the land or building where its restaurants are located. Therefore, franchisees are responsible for finding and leasing or purchasing a suitable location for their restaurant.

In addition to the initial investment, Chick-fil-A franchisees are required to contribute 15% of their restaurant’s gross sales to the company. This fee covers ongoing support and training, as well as the use of Chick-fil-A’s established brand and operating system.

It is also worth noting that Chick-fil-A is very selective in its franchisee approval process. The company looks for individuals with a strong track record of leadership, customer service, and community involvement. If you meet these qualifications and are able to secure financing for the initial investment, owning a Chick-fil-A franchise can be a lucrative and rewarding opportunity.

Ongoing Costs and Royalties: What to Expect

Owning a Chick-fil-A franchise involves ongoing costs and royalties that franchisees must be prepared for. In addition to the 15% gross sales royalty fee, franchisees are responsible for paying ongoing fees for advertising, insurance, and accounting services. These fees can add up to several thousand dollars per month.

Chick-fil-A also requires its franchisees to participate in ongoing training and development programs. This includes attending a week-long training program at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, as well as periodic training sessions throughout the year. The cost of these programs is not included in the initial investment and must be covered by the franchisee.

Another ongoing cost to consider is the cost of employee wages and benefits. Chick-fil-A is known for its excellent customer service, which is achieved in part by employing a large team of friendly and efficient workers. As a franchisee, you will be responsible for paying competitive wages and providing benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.

While these ongoing costs can add up, they are necessary to maintain the high standards of quality and service that Chick-fil-A is known for. With careful planning and budgeting, franchisees can manage these costs while running a successful and profitable restaurant.

Financing Options for Prospective Franchise Owners

Financing the initial investment required for a Chick-fil-A franchise can be a significant challenge for many prospective owners. However, there are several financing options available to help make this dream a reality.

One option is to secure a traditional bank loan. This requires a solid business plan, collateral, and a good credit score. Many banks have experience working with franchise owners and can offer competitive rates and terms.

Another option is to use retirement funds to finance the franchise. This can be done through a process called a ROBS (Rollover for Business Startups) arrangement. This involves rolling over funds from an existing retirement account into a new account that is used to finance the business.

Chick-fil-A also offers financing assistance to qualified franchisees through its approved lender program. This program provides access to loans with favorable terms and interest rates.

Finally, some franchisees may choose to partner with an investor or group of investors to provide the necessary funds. This can be a good option for those who have strong business skills but may lack the necessary capital to start a franchise on their own.

Regardless of the financing option chosen, it is important to have a solid business plan and financial projections in place before approaching lenders or investors. Working with a financial advisor or accountant can help ensure that your plan is realistic and achievable.

How to Qualify as a Chick-fil-A Operator

Chick-fil-A is known for its selective and rigorous franchisee approval process. The company looks for individuals who have a strong track record of leadership, customer service, and community involvement. Here are some of the qualifications required to become a Chick-fil-A operator:

  1. Strong leadership skills: Chick-fil-A franchisees must be able to lead and motivate a team of employees while maintaining a high level of customer service.

  2. Financial stability: Prospective franchisees must have a strong financial history and be able to demonstrate their ability to manage the financial responsibilities of running a franchise.

  3. Previous business experience: While not required, having previous experience in a management or ownership role can be beneficial.

  4. Involvement in the local community: Chick-fil-A is committed to making a positive impact in the communities it serves, and franchisees are expected to share this commitment.

  5. Willingness to follow the company’s operating system: Chick-fil-A has a strict operating system that franchisees must follow in order to maintain the company’s high standards of quality and service.

  6. Full-time commitment: Franchisees are expected to be fully committed to the operation of their restaurant and must be willing to work long hours as needed.

If you meet these qualifications and are interested in becoming a Chick-fil-A operator, the first step is to submit a franchise application through the company’s website. From there, the approval process typically takes several months and involves interviews, background checks, and financial evaluations.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Chick-fil-A Franchise

Owning a Chick-fil-A franchise can be a lucrative and rewarding opportunity, but it is important to consider both the pros and cons before making a decision. Here are some of the key advantages and disadvantages of owning a Chick-fil-A franchise:


  1. Established brand: Chick-fil-A is a well-known and highly respected brand with a loyal customer base.

  2. Proven business model: The company’s operating system and business model have been refined over decades, making it a reliable and successful franchise opportunity.

  3. Comprehensive training and support: Chick-fil-A provides extensive training and ongoing support to help franchisees succeed.

  4. Potential for high profits: With careful planning and execution, a Chick-fil-A franchise can be a highly profitable business.

  5. Opportunity for community involvement: Chick-fil-A encourages its franchisees to be active members of their local communities and to make a positive impact through charitable giving and volunteer work.


  1. High initial investment: The initial investment required to open a Chick-fil-A franchise can be significant, and financing can be challenging to obtain.

  2. Ongoing fees and royalties: Franchisees are responsible for ongoing fees and royalties that can add up to several thousand dollars per month.

  3. Limited menu options: Chick-fil-A has a limited menu compared to other fast-food restaurants, which may limit its appeal to some customers.

  4. Strict operating system: Franchisees are required to follow a strict operating system, which may limit their ability to make changes or innovations to the business.

  5. Competitive application process: The application process for becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee is highly competitive, and not all applicants are accepted.

Overall, owning a Chick-fil-A franchise can be a highly rewarding and profitable experience for those who are able to meet the qualifications and navigate the application process. However, it is important to carefully consider the pros and cons before making a decision.

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