Do you love burgers? If so, then you’re in luck, because there are tons of burger franchises out there. In fact, there are so many that it can be tough to choose the right one.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of the 30 best fast food hamburger franchises out there.
Whether you’re looking for a casual hamburger joint or something a bit more upscale, we’ve got you covered. Let’s get started!
What is a Burger Franchise?
A burger franchise operates under a business model where the franchisee owns and runs a burger restaurant using the branding, products, and operational systems of an established franchisor.
This arrangement allows the franchisee to benefit from the brand recognition, marketing strategies, and proven business processes of the franchisor. In return, the franchisee pays a fee to the franchisor and adheres to their guidelines and standards.
Today’s burger franchises often diversify their menu to cater to a wider audience, offering items like turkey burgers, chicken burgers, and even vegetarian options alongside traditional beef burgers, reflecting the evolving tastes and dietary preferences of consumers.
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The Burger Industry Today
As of last year, the burger industry has reached an impressive market value of $131 billion and is showing no signs of slowing down.
The success of this sector can be attributed to its ability to adapt to consumer preferences by offering a variety of burger options, including alternatives like chicken sandwiches and veggie burgers. The industry has shown resilience and adaptability, catering to both traditional burger lovers and those seeking healthier or alternative options.
The fast-food sector, more broadly, is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 2.4%, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.6% anticipated from 2020 to 2027.
This growth trajectory highlights the robustness of the burger franchise model and its appeal to entrepreneurs looking to invest in a dynamic and ever-evolving industry.
Why You Should Consider Becoming a Burger Franchise Owner
In America, burger chains are some of the most popular and profitable businesses around. Here are five reasons why you should consider becoming an owner of a burger franchise:
- Always in demand. People love burgers, and they’re always looking for new burger places with quality food to try. This means that there’s a constant demand for franchises, which can help you to be successful.
- Usually very affordable. When you compare the cost of starting a burger franchise to other types of businesses, you’ll find that a burger franchise is usually much more affordable.
- Resources and support. When you become an owner of a burger franchise, you’ll have access to all of the resources and support that you need to be successful. This includes things like marketing materials, training programs, and ongoing support from the franchisor.
- Easy to operate. Unlike some other types of businesses, burger franchises are relatively easy to operate. This means that you won’t have to put in a lot of extra effort to be successful.
- High ROI. One of the best things about burger franchises is that they tend to have a high return on investment. This means that you can make a significant profit if you do things right.
Our Methodology: How We Chose the Best Burger Franchises
In the competitive and ever-popular burger industry, selecting the right franchise involves more than just a taste for great food. It’s about a blend of brand appeal, operational efficiency, and market adaptability. Here’s our approach to finding the best burger franchise opportunities:
Flavor and Menu Innovation (10/10)
The quality, taste, and variety of the burgers and accompanying menu items are paramount. We prioritize franchises known for their delicious recipes and innovative menu offerings.
Brand Recognition and Market Share (9/10)
Strong brand presence in the burger market is crucial for attracting customers. We give importance to franchises with well-established brand recognition and a loyal customer base.
Training and Franchisee Support (9/10)
Comprehensive training and ongoing support ensure franchisees are well-prepared to maintain quality standards and manage successful operations.
Supply Chain Reliability (8/10)
A reliable supply chain for quality ingredients is vital for consistency in taste and service. We assess the efficiency and dependability of each franchise’s supply chain system.
Financial Performance and Profitability (8/10)
We analyze the financial stability of the franchise, including profitability, revenue potential, and the financial support available to franchisees.
Marketing and Promotional Support (8/10)
Effective marketing and promotional strategies provided by the franchisor are essential for local market penetration and attracting a steady flow of customers.
Customer Loyalty and Satisfaction (7/10)
High levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty are indicative of a franchise’s commitment to quality service and great food.
Adaptability to Market Trends (7/10)
The ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences, such as offering plant-based burger options or health-conscious menu items, is crucial for long-term success.
Environmental and Social Responsibility (6/10)
We value franchises that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and responsible business practices, particularly in sourcing ingredients and packaging.
Operational Efficiency (6/10)
Efficient operational processes, including order processing, kitchen management, and customer service, are key for running a successful burger franchise.
Investment and Cost Transparency (6/10)
A clear understanding of the initial investment, ongoing fees, and overall cost structure is essential for prospective franchisees.
Growth Potential and Expansion Opportunities (6/10)
The potential for growth and expansion, both domestically and internationally, is a significant factor in our evaluation of a franchise’s viability.
Our methodology for choosing the best burger franchises is designed to highlight opportunities that not only serve mouth-watering burgers but also demonstrate strong business acumen and growth potential. We aim to identify franchises that offer comprehensive support, a robust operational model, and a commitment to adapting to evolving market trends and customer preferences.
Top Burger Franchises
The best burger franchises are ones that have a proven track record of success and are loved by customers. Here are some of the best burger franchises out there:
1. Burger King
To open a Burger King franchise, you’ll need to have a minimum of $500,000 in liquid assets and a $1 million net worth. There’s a franchise fee of $50,000 along with an initial application fee of $5,000. They were one of the first chains to offer meatless burgers.
2. Five Guys Burgers
Five Guys began offering franchising in 2002 and has since become one of the most popular burger chains in the world. They also currently offer their signature burgers and hot dogs in 1,500 locations across 16 countries.
McDonald’s is one of the most well-known brands in the world that offers franchising opportunities and has been in business selling classic burgers since 1940. To open a franchise, expect to invest between $1.25 million and $2.3 million.
Wendy’s began offering franchise opportunities in the early 1970s and you can expect to spend between $2 million to $3.7 million.
5. MOOYAH Burgers
MOOYAH has been offering franchise opportunities since 2007 and it costs between $477,918 and $989,793 to open your own.
6. Elevation Burger
Elevation Burger has been franchising since 2008. They use 100% organic, grass-fed beef in their signature burgers and they’re committed to sustainability. Your minimum investment would be about $400,000.
7. Wayback Burgers
Wayback Burgers is a fast-casual burger chain that has been franchising since 2010. Your investment here would be about $350,000 to $450,000.
8. Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box has been franchising since 1951 and it’s one of the leading fast-food hamburger chains in America. Your minimum investment would be $1.5 million minimum.
9. Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers
To open a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers, you’ll need an initial investment of between $641,000 and $2.1 million.
10. Good Stuff Eatery
Good Stuff Eatery is a casual restaurant chain founded in 2007. If you want to open one of these, expect a total investment of $500,000 – $800,000.
11. Farmer Boys
Farmer Boys was founded in 1981 and can be franchised for between $1 million to $2.5 million.
12. Sonic Drive-in Restaurants
Sonic Drive-In is an American chain of fast-food restaurants that was founded in 1953. It can require an investment of almost $3.5 million, not including the cost of land.
Opening a Fatburger American restaurant will run you as much as $770,000, but you’ll need a net worth of at least $1.5 million, with a minimum of $500,000 available in liquid assets.
14. Big Smoke Burger
Big Smoke Burger is a burger restaurant that was founded in 2007. They require franchisees to have a minimum of CAD $200,000 of non-borrowed personal resources.
A&W is a fast-food restaurant chain founded in 1919. You can open one with a top-of-the-range cost of about $1.5 million, excluding real estate costs.
- READ MORE: What is a Franchise?
More of the Best Burger Franchises
Here are some more burger chain restaurants that are very popular in our country:
16. Red Robin
Red Robin Gourmet Burgers is a casual dining restaurant chain founded in 1969 with a total initial investment range to open a franchise of $1,865,000 to $4,115,000. ***
Culver’s is a restaurant chain founded in 1984 by Craig and Lea Culver. The first restaurant was opened in Sauk City, Wisconsin. To open your own will require an investment of up to $4,652,000.
To open a Hardee’s restaurant chain, your total investment would be about $1.1 million. As with most of these franchises, the investment cost does not include real estate.
Checkers was founded in 1986 and it’ll cost you about $1.3 million to start your own fast-food restaurant either under the Checker or Rally’s brand.
20. Steak ‘N Shake
Steak ‘N Shake has been around since 1934. To open a franchise, you’ll need an estimated initial investment of at least $672,000.
Fuddruckers was founded in 1980 and has been franchising since 1984. You’ll need a capital investment of $400,000 to get started.
22. Carl’s Jr.
Starting your own Carl’s Jr. fast-food joint will cost you about $1.3 million in total. You’ll need a net worth of over $1 million to get started.
BurgerFi is a fast-casual restaurant chain founded in 2011. Opening your own will cost a minimum of $629,900 with a franchise fee of $45,000.
24. Hamburger Mary’s
Hamburger Mary’s opened in 1972. In general, you’ll need access to at least $250,000 to open your restaurant, but some locations have opened with less.
To start a Smashburger you’ll need to invest between $545,500 and $894,500. They currently have locations in 35 U.S. states, D.C., and 2 Canadian provinces.
26. Johnny Rockets
Johnny Rockets is a 1950s diner-style restaurant chain founded in 1986. It can cost up to $1.1 million to open one.
27. BUILT Custom Burgers
BUILT Custom Burgers is a fast-casual restaurant chain that offers counter-custom burgers. They were founded in 2006 and it can run you upwards of $856,500 to open your own.
28. Drifter’s Hamburgers
Drifter’s Hamburgers specializes in cooked-to-order California-style specialty burgers that are made with local beef. Initial start-up costs for a franchisee can range from $151k to over $526k.
29. The Counter
The Counter offers entrepreneurs a gourmet burger franchise opportunity. It can cost almost $2 million to open your own location.
30. BGR The Burger Joint
BGR The Burger Joint is a casual fast food restaurant chain that requires an investment of almost $600,000 to open.
Burger Franchise Decision-Making Checklist
When considering which burger franchise to invest in, there are several crucial factors to evaluate. This checklist provides a framework for comparing various aspects of burger franchises, aiding you in making a well-informed decision.
|Decision Factor||Description||Notes for Evaluation|
|Initial Investment||The upfront cost required to open the franchise.|
|Ongoing Fees||Royalties, marketing, and other recurring fees.|
|Brand Recognition||The level of consumer awareness and trust in the brand.|
|Franchisor Support||Training, marketing, operational support provided by the franchisor.|
|Business Model||The operational structure and strategy of the franchise.|
|Market Presence||The current reach and growth potential of the franchise.|
|Product Diversity||Menu options beyond traditional burgers, like chicken or veggie burgers.|
|Target Customer Base||The primary demographic the franchise appeals to.|
|Location Availability||Availability of franchise opportunities in desired areas.|
|Long-term Potential||The franchise's potential for growth and continued success.|
How to Choose the Best Franchise to Set Up Your Burger Business
Selecting the right burger franchise requires careful consideration of several key factors:
- Consider the Cost of the Franchise: Analyze the financial requirements of different franchises, including both the initial investment and ongoing operational costs. Assess if these costs align with your financial capabilities and future revenue expectations. Ensure that the franchise you choose is within your budget to avoid financial strain down the line.
- Look at the Franchisor’s Support: Examine the level of support and training the franchisor offers. This can include operational training, marketing assistance, and ongoing business guidance. A franchisor that provides comprehensive support can significantly enhance your ability to establish and grow your business successfully.
- Evaluate the Business Model: Review the franchisor’s business model to ensure it’s a good fit for your goals and market. Consider factors such as the size of the franchise territory, the brand’s market presence, and the target customer demographic. The franchise should align with your vision and the market demand in your chosen location.
- Think About the Future: Look for a franchise with strong growth potential and long-term viability. Consider the brand’s adaptability to changing market trends, its track record of innovation, and its overall industry reputation. Choosing a franchise with a forward-looking approach can help ensure sustained success.
How Much Does It Cost to Start a Burger Franchise?
Starting a burger franchise can vary significantly in cost, typically ranging from $100,000 to nearly $5 million. The wide range is due to factors like the brand’s market position, location costs, size of the operation, and the level of support provided by the franchisor.
Higher-end burger franchises with a strong brand presence and larger operational scale tend to require a more substantial investment. When considering a franchise, factor in costs like the franchise fee, real estate, equipment, staffing, and marketing.
Are Burger Franchises Profitable?
Burger franchises can be highly profitable, offering a solid return on investment. The profitability depends on several factors, including the franchise’s brand recognition, location, management efficiency, and market demand for the product.
While they often require less capital to start compared to other business models, it’s crucial to conduct thorough market research and financial planning to ensure profitability.
What Is the Best Burger Franchise?
Identifying the ‘best’ burger franchise can vary based on individual preferences and market conditions. Generally, top hamburger franchises share characteristics like strong brand recognition, effective marketing strategies, good ROI, and extensive support for franchisees.
Evaluating your personal preferences, market needs, and financial capabilities will help determine the best burger franchise for your entrepreneurial venture.
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