10 Burger Franchise Alternatives to McDonald’s

burger franchises

When you think of burger franchises, your mind probably immediately goes to the big names like McDonald’s and Burger King.

But there are actually plenty of other alternatives within the industry. Some cater to specific niches, while others simply aim to offer more options to burger fans everywhere.

If you see a potential burger franchise in your future, the 10 options below offer a variety of different opportunities you might want to consider.


mcdonald's burger franchises list

The Smashburger chain of fast casual burger restaurants specializes in making burgers with fresh ingredients. The company has grown quickly since its initial launch in 2007. It now has locations in 32 states and 5 countries.

Big Smoke Burger

mcdonald's burger franchises list

Big Smoke Burger is a gourmet burger chain that started in Toronto, Canada, in 2007. Currently, the company offers franchise opportunities for both single and multi units. It allows franchisees to build an experience that works best for them, while still offering support for things like marketing and training.


mcdonald's burger franchises list

This restaurant chain, which specializes in burgers, fries and shakes, now has over 81 units in the U.S. and internationally. Mooyah uses fresh American beef, along with turkey and veggie burgers. But the company’s main focus is on creating a fun and family-friendly guest experience for its customers.

Elevation Burger

mcdonald's burger franchises list

This Virginia based business sets itself apart from other burger chains by using different ingredients. Instead of using meat from grain fed cows, Elevation Burger uses fresh, organic meat from grass fed cows only. And even the fries are made with olive oil instead of vegetable or canola oil. The company offers a flexible footprint for new restaurants, a management team that can help with everything from construction to marketing, and one of the fastest growing names in the organic restaurant industry.

Wayback Burgers

mcdonald's burger franchises list

Wayback Burgers is one of the fastest growing chains in the fast casual burger market, with more than 200 contracted locations and 76 currently operating throughout the U.S. The restaurant specializes in burgers, potato chips and milkshakes, but also serves other items like hot dogs, chicken and sandwiches. Franchisees have the choice of offering various service to customers, including drive-through, delivery, catering and fundraisers.

Drifter’s Hamburgers

mcdonald's burger franchises list

The company, which was founded in 2008, specializes in creating quality burgers instead of offering endless discounts to get customers through the door. In addition, since Drifter’s is an emerging brand, franchisees can enjoy prime location selection in the markets of their choice.

The Counter

mcdonald's burger franchises list

The Counter Custom Built Burgers offers entrepreneurs an opportunity to really get cretive with burger options. The restaurant features award winning burgers with unique ingredients and innovative flavors. The unique menu and environment make The Counter an attractive option for driven and creative entrepreneurs.

Good Stuff Eatery

mcdonald's burger franchises list

The first Good Stuff Eatery opened as a family run operation in Washington D.C. in 2008. The restaurant now has a handful of locations along the East Coast, in Chicago, and even internationally. The growing business allows you to choose from a variety of different locations and build the restaurant that is right for you.


mcdonald's burger franchises list

Caliburger’s goal is to bring its Southern California style burgers and fresh cut fries to people around the world. The company’s ideal franchise candidates are willing to take on multiple units and enthusiastic about sharing California style burgers.

Burger 21

mcdonald's burger franchises list

Burger 21 restaurants feature chef inspired burger creations along with a contemporary styled atmosphere. The company is an affiliate of Front Burner Brands, the management company for big name restaurants such as The Melting Pot. Franchisees can enjoy benefits such as training and support for everything from real estate to financial management.

Hamburger Meal Photo via Shutterstock More in: 2 Comments ▼

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found on her personal blog Wattlebird, and exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

2 Reactions
  1. All these burgers look a hell of a lot better than anything I’ve seen from McDonald’s.

  2. Kevin W. Thomas

    I live in south Pinellas county in west central Florida, and have never seen a White Castle restaurant in ALL of Pinellas county. Myself, I love those little burgers. I used to love it when I would be working a job that caused me to pass one I knew of, and they mowed it down and put a drugstore in its place. DAMN!!!

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