Burgers are as American as you can get and never seems to go out of style, which is perfect if you want to get into the burger franchise business. Even in today’s increasingly health-conscious society, people still crave that juicy burger goodness. So if you are looking to get into the franchise business, a burger joint can be a smart investment. The challenge though becomes finding the right burger franchise for you.
There are many factors you should take into consideration when choosing a burger franchise. Besides the initial investment and the success of the brand, you should also consider whether the values of the brand match up to your own and whether the parent company offers you the support you will need to be successful in your venture. Thorough research is a must if you want to be a successful franchise owner.
There are many burger franchises available in the U.S., but here are the most affordable burger franchises to invest in.
1. Zac’s Burgers
Zac’s Burgers is a family-oriented business and burger franchise that is currently located in the Philadelphia area and just recently started expanding. Zac’s is known for its quality food, top notch service and friendly atmosphere. An initial investment in Zac Burger’s will cost you anywhere between $119,500 and $198,000 with no requirements for net worth or liquid assets, although you will need to have at least $35,000 on hand for the first 3 months for additional costs.
They also offer a more affordable franchise opportunity with their burger food truck investment. Known as the Zac’s Burger Bus, investors can purchase a new, fully loaded burger food truck plus two weeks paid training for just under $100,000. If you want to get into the burger franchise business and you have never owned a business before, this is a great first investment because of its low startup costs.
2. Steak ‘n Shake
Since it launched in 1934, Steak ‘n’ Shake has been making a name for itself with its steak burgers which are made out of the freshest, highest quality cuts of meat. The chain promises its customers only top quality ingredients in their burgers and other items on the menu. Currently, Steak ‘n” Shake has over 500 restaurants in almost 30 states. To join the Steak ‘n’ Shakes franchise program, you need a minimum net worth of $1.5 million, $500,000 available in liquid assets as well as anywhere from $1,375,000 to $2,135,000 for initial costs.
3. Jack In The Box
Jack In The Box is a burger joint that started in the 1950’s. You can find Jack In The Box locations in more than 20 states across the United States. Currently they have over 107 franchise operators with room to expand. Did you know that his chain was the first to have drive-thru dining and the first to offer breakfast sandwiches? Total initial investment for a Jack In The Box is approximately $1,316,100 to $2,414,700. For this franchise opportunity, you need to have a net worth of $1.5 million with $750,000 in liquid assets.
Hardees was first launched back in 1961 and was so successful, it began franchising just a year later. In 2015, they reportedly had almost 2,000 locations. Hardees can also be found in countries around the world as well. Startup costs for a Hardees will cost you anywhere between $1.3 million to $1.9 million, and you will need a net worth of $1,000,000 with $300,000 in liquid assets.
Sonic restaurants have been around since 1953 and have a strong brand presence, known for fast, but quality service. As of 2015, they had over 3,000 franchised locations. Startup costs range from $1.02 million to $1.77 million, not including the land. The licensing fee is $45,000 and franchisees are required to have a net worth of at least $1,000,000 with $500,000 in liquid assets.
While McDonald’s has been under increasing scrutiny over its menu and the need for healthier food options, it is still a brand that is synonymous with burgers everywhere. With both national and international locations, McDonald’s is still growing its franchise business. Startup costs are around $989,000 to $2.2 million. You will need at least $500,000 in liquid assets here too.
7. Elevation Burger
Known for providing fast food without all the guilt, Elevation Burger only uses 100% organic, grass-fed, free-range beef in their burgers and only cooks with healthier oils. Their mission is to not only offer healthier meals, but to also protect the environment. To purchase an Elevation Burger franchise, you will need an initial investment between $408,500 and $821,500, which includes an initial franchise fee of $17,500 and a territory fee of $17,500. All prospective franchisees must have at least $300,000 in liquid assets and a net-worth of $600,000.
8. Smash Burger
This chain prides itself on tweaking its menu for each city it is located in. The name comes from their grilling technique where they ball up the ground meat and “smash” onto the grill for optimum juiciness. They have been franchising since 2008 and currently have over 100 locations. If you would love to own your own Smash Burger, you will need to initially invest anywhere from $330,250 to $787,250. Your net worth also need to be at least $2,500,000 with about $1,000,000 of it available as liquid assets. The franchise fee is $35,000.
Checkers has over 30 years of experience to bring to the table and a brand that is easily recognized. The initial startup cost here is a range between $165,796 and $1,306,345, plus you must have a net worth of at least $750,000 with $250,000 minimum in liquid assets.
10. Hwy 55, Burgers, Shakes and Fries
This franchisor only requires $125,000 for the initial investment. Known for its 50’s style atmosphere, Hwy 55 was originally launched in North Carolina but has since been expanding to other states and even other countries. Modeled as a classic burger joint, Hwy 55 is known for its top quality burgers and its long list of shake options.
Whichever burger franchise you choose, make sure you look carefully at your finances, your expected return in the investment and also think carefully about whether your vision for your restaurant matches that of the parent company. The more prepared you are, the best chance you have of succeeding.