Bagels have a long history in the United States. They’ve been around since the late 19th century when Eastern European immigrants arrived in New York City. Today, it’s a multibillion-dollar industry.
New York City remains the bagel capital of the country. The majority of franchise opportunities started in New York before spreading to other states. The food franchises are well known by both locals and visitors.
As an industry category, bagel franchises are often lumped in with donut franchises but for purposes of the list below, we separated them.
Selecting the Perfect Bagel Franchise: Our Methodology
When it comes to breakfast or a quick, delicious snack, bagels have become a beloved staple for many. If you’re considering the entrepreneurial path of owning a bagel franchise, you’re in for a treat. Bagel franchises offer the opportunity to deliver mouthwatering delights to your community while running a thriving business. But how do you pick the best one from the sea of options available? We’ve ranked these criteria on a scale of importance, using a 1-10 rating scale, with 10 being the highest importance and 1 being the lowest.
Let’s take a look at the criteria we used when creating our list of the top bagel franchises:
- Taste and Quality of Bagels (Rating: 10/10)
- The taste and quality of the bagels should be exceptional, as it’s the core product and a key factor in attracting and retaining customers.
- Brand Reputation and Recognition (Rating: 9/10)
- A well-established and recognized brand is crucial for drawing customers. Brand reputation often aligns with product quality.
- Location and Foot Traffic (Rating: 9/10)
- Selecting the right location with high foot traffic is vital for success. It’s equally crucial as brand reputation because it directly impacts visibility and sales.
- Menu Variety and Customization (Rating: 8/10)
- Offering a diverse menu with customization options can enhance the customer experience and cater to various preferences.
- Franchise Fees and Costs (Rating: 7/10)
- The financial aspect is important, but it’s not as vital as taste, location, and brand. Consider initial franchise fees, ongoing royalties, and startup costs.
- Marketing and Advertising Support (Rating: 7/10)
- Effective marketing support from the franchisor can significantly boost brand visibility and customer acquisition.
- Supplier Relationships (Rating: 6/10)
- Maintaining reliable and cost-effective supplier relationships is significant but slightly less crucial than core factors.
- Training and Support (Rating: 6/10)
- Comprehensive training and ongoing support from the franchisor are essential but not as high-priority as core elements.
- Equipment and Technology (Rating: 5/10)
- Proper equipment and technology matter for efficient operations but rank lower in importance compared to others.
- Community Involvement (Rating: 4/10)
- Engaging with the local community can be beneficial, but it’s not as critical as the core factors.
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Bagel Franchise Opportunities
Here are the best bagel franchise businesses for aspiring entrepreneurs to consider:
1. Einstein Bros. Bagels
The Einstein Bros. Bagels franchise may be the largest, with more than 300 franchises in 27 states. So there’s tons of brand recognition in high quality locations throughout the country. The Einstein Bagel franchise also includes made-to-order sandwiches and extravagant desserts.
As with others in the bagel business. specialty coffee is a mainstay of the menu. Einstein’s is called Darn Good Coffee (because it is). Einstein also offers catering.
This food franchise is looking to expand. The franchise fee is $35,000.
2. Manhattan Bagel
This bagel business is also owned by the Einstein Bros. Bagels parent company. The franchise opportunity includes locations in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Manhattan Bagel specializes in the traditional NYC bagel, with “boil and bake” style preparation. The business also offers specialty sandwiches, all made with quality ingredients.
Manhattan has been offering franchise opportunities since 1987. The franchise fee is $25,000.
3. Big Apple Bagels
No mention of Big Apple Bagels is complete with the inclusion of My Favorite Muffin, which is part of the menu offerings. Big Apple keeps the quality food franchise offerings varied with specialty sandwiches and salads.
Compliment any menu choice with the Big Apple signature Brewster’s brand coffee. The franchise fee is $25,000.
4. NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop
Since 1995, the NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop has been offering franchise opportunities in the New York and New Jersey areas.
The signature touch of the NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop business is in the preparation. The bagels are made, then left to ferment for 12 hours. After the 12 hours have passed, the bagel is boiled.
A NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop franchise opportunity is available in those base states, and the business is likely to expand. As many of the franchises do – and it’s obvious in the name – the fare includes a sandwich shop.
The NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop franchise fee is $29,500.
Related: Sandwich Franchises
5. Brooklyn Water Bagel
You may wonder – why is Water in the name of this business? That’s because the ingredients include special, proprietary water. Brooklyn Water Bagel uses an old-world recipe to provide quality menu items and a memorable brand experience.
The business has been franchising since 2011, with a franchise fee of $35,000.
Shmagel’s is hugely popular with residents and visitors to Ocean City, Maryland. There are two Shmagel’s in Ocean City, and the company is seeking to expand.
Shmagel’s is advertising that the company is actively seeking to expand.
7. Between Rounds
Between Rounds is a bakery cafe and bagel shop. The company launched in Connecticut in 1992.
Between Rounds is known for the modern, comfortable interior of its shops, and also for offering drive-thru services. Like Shmagel’s, Between Rounds is seeking to expand.
The franchise fee ranges from $22,500 to $25,000.
The Rise of Specialty Bagels: A Trend to Embrace
In recent years, the bagel industry has witnessed a surge in specialty and artisanal bagels. These unique creations go beyond the traditional plain or everything bagel, offering customers an array of flavors and textures. As an aspiring bagel franchise owner, embracing this trend can set your business apart and attract a broader customer base.
Here’s why specialty bagels are a trend worth considering:
- Diverse Menu Appeal: Specialty bagels allow you to cater to a more diverse customer base with varying tastes. Whether it’s a blueberry bagel for a touch of sweetness or a jalapeño cheddar bagel for a spicy kick, these options expand your menu’s appeal.
- Creativity and Innovation: The possibilities with specialty bagels are endless. You can experiment with unique ingredients and toppings, creating signature bagels that become customer favorites. Think outside the box and collaborate with your franchisor to develop exclusive recipes.
- Upselling Opportunities: Specialty bagels often command higher prices, providing an opportunity to increase your average transaction value. Customers are willing to pay more for a gourmet or artisanal experience, boosting your revenue.
- Customer Engagement: Introducing limited-time or seasonal specialty bagels can generate excitement and anticipation among your customer base. It encourages repeat visits and engagement on social media platforms as customers share their discoveries.
- Competitive Edge: Embracing the specialty bagel trend can give you a competitive edge in your market. While traditional bagels are beloved, offering something unique can help you stand out and draw customers away from competitors.
|Taste and Quality of Bagels
|Exceptional taste and quality are paramount for customer satisfaction.
|Brand Reputation and Recognition
|A well-established brand often aligns with product quality and attracts customers.
|Location and Foot Traffic
|Selecting the right location with high foot traffic is vital for visibility and sales.
|Menu Variety and Customization
|Offering diverse menu options with customization enhances the customer experience.
|Franchise Fees and Costs
|Consider initial franchise fees, ongoing royalties, and startup costs.
|Marketing and Advertising Support
|Effective marketing support can boost brand visibility and customer acquisition.
|Maintaining reliable and cost-effective supplier relationships is significant for consistent operations.
|Training and Support
|Comprehensive training and ongoing support from the franchisor ensure smooth operations.
|Equipment and Technology
|Proper equipment and technology matter for efficient operations but rank lower in importance.
|Engaging with the local community can be beneficial but is not as critical as core factors.
How Much Does a Bagel Franchise Cost?
The franchise fee is typically from $25,000 to $35,000. Although that is affordable, the cost of the initial investment can range from $200,000 to $800,000. The investment includes brick and mortar, purchase of real estate and equipment, purchase of inventory and more.
The NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop has one of the lowest startup costs at $120,000. But this is a base cost in the industry, with many other factors at play.
Are bagel shops for sale? Yes. There are business opportunities to purchase already-established franchises. For an additional investment, the franchisee may purchase a multi-unit business.
Are bagel shops profitable?
Franchisors require that an applicant have a significant net worth, typically from $500,000 to $800,000. Bagel franchises are plums in the franchise world, and franchisors want to make sure they are connecting with the best owners.
The best owners are the ones who already have proven their ability to make money. That is proven by their net worth. Although the start-up costs are high, the return on investment for that type of franchise is also high.
How much does a bagel shop make a year?
Let’s say you put up $300,000 in total cost including the franchise fee, to open the business. You should be able to make that back in two years.
BUT, it’s all about location. How can you make money selling a $2 product? That depends on the number of customers you sell it to, in a day, week, month and year. If you don’t open in a good location, simply put, you’re not going to make money.
From 2002 to 2016, revenues for coffee and snack shops doubled. Things were booming. The businesses that adapted to a changing market remained profitable. Those businesses offered Vegan, nut-free and gluten-free choices.
Why choose a bagel franchise?
There’s a whole lot to love about a bagel franchise.
For someone interested in buying a franchise in the restaurant industry, the bagel franchise offers a great place to start. Here are some reasons why:
- The menu is simpler, in comparison to a typical restaurant. Most businesses in the bagel franchise industry also include a sandwich shop with a varied menu.
- The store hours are better. Most franchises close by 3 p.m. daily. That’s because they typically offer breakfast and lunch only, with lunch being offerings from a typical sandwich shop. Some advertise the additional offerings in the business name, such as the NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop.
- You won’t need as many employees, most often from 7 to 12. The dining atmosphere is casual and friendly.
- Inventive creativity is possible, not just the common NYC bagel. Why, what about the Chorizo Sunrise? That’s Chorizo sausage, avocado, pepper jack cheese with a jalapeno salsa smear, on a green chili gourmet bagel. (You can get that at Einstein Brothers Bagels.) Bagel choices have come a long way since the standard NYC bagel.
The varieties are endless. Also endless are the opportunities for creative twists on the historic NYC bagel. The tasty doughy circle was everybody’s favorite quick, light meal. It wasn’t long before franchises like the NYC Bagel and Sandwich Shop took things to the next level. To the original tasty treat, they added sandwiches, specialty coffee, gourmet coffees, and more.
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