Do you want to start a restaurant business franchise but lack ideas? If YES, here are 20 best restaurant franchise opportunities you can buy in USA for 2018.

Restaurants have been franchising for ages after McDonald’s set the pace in restaurant franchising by putting in place a workable and profitable franchise model.

When an entrepreneur decides to buy a restaurant franchise, he has to embark on thorough research in order to sift through the myriads of restaurants that offer franchising in the industry. He has to decide whether he wants to buy into a quick service restaurant, drive thru or dine-in, or whether he wants to operate a fast food, bakery, coffee café, creamery, seafood, self-service, upscale restaurant etc. The list is endless.

Interesting Statistics About the Restaurant Industry

The restaurant industry rakes in over $709.2 billion annually in the United States with about 3.8% sales increase in nominal terms and 1.5% industry sales increase in real (inflation-adjusted) terms. Food and drinks sales of the restaurant industry in the United States reached an all – time high; 659.31 billion U.S. dollars in 2013 – far higher than the 42.8 billion recorded in 1970.

This figure was projected to rise again in 2014 to more than 680 billion. With well over 600 thousand restaurants employing approximately 13 million people in the United States, the industry caters to a variety of customer demands regarding price, food quality, dining experience and menu options, among many other things.

From recent statistics, well over 1 million restaurant locations are in the United States and they generated an estimate of $1.9 billion sales on a typical day. The restaurant industry is a major player in the employment of labor; the industry is responsible for employing over 14 million people per time. As a matter of fact, the restaurant industry is the employer of about 10% of the overall workforce in the United States of America.

Why Buy a Restaurant Franchise Business?

The fact remains that acquiring a franchise when intending to open a business gives your business more chances to succeed as you would be buying into an already tried and tested concept that has its own ready-made customer base, advertising plan, training, design, products, rules, insurance (in most cases) etc.

Yes, restaurant franchises can be quite expensive and have a lot of requirements and rigid rules, but there are restaurant franchises that are suitable for any pocket size, and have fewer rules and requirements.

If you are interested in buying a restaurant franchise in the United States, here are 20 restaurants that offer excellent franchises that you can consider. We have divided the restaurants based on cost to help you choose easily.

Top 20 Best Restaurant Franchises to Buy in USA for 2018

More Expensive Restaurant Franchises

1. McDonald’s

With its famous golden arches, McDonald’s is easily the most recognized name in the fast food industry. This chain that started operations over 60 years ago serves hamburgers, fries, chicken, breakfast items, salads and milkshakes.

Over the years, the system put in place by the McDonald brothers and modified by Ray Kroc has been proving profitable to franchisees over the years. This quick service restaurant is still in the business of franchising, even though they have over 30,000 franchise outlets.

  • Initial Investment – $1,008,000 to $2,214,080
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $45,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 4%

2. Tony Roma’s

Tony Roma’s is an upscale restaurant that is reputed to serve some of the best ribs in the world. Widely known as the place for ribs, Tony Roma’s changed the way consumers eat by popularizing baby back ribs and bringing American-style grilling to consumers around the world. Tony Roma’s has a vision to improve the already-stellar guest experience, which will help owners run successful businesses and maximize returns on all fronts. Tony Roma’s franchise offers a lower initial investment than many upscale casual dining, full-service restaurants.

  • Cash Investment – $1,000,000
  • Net Worth – $3,000,000
  • Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Total Investment – $1,893,500 to $3,246,000

3. Hardee’s

Hardee’s began as a hot dog cart in California in 1941, but by the end of 2016, the company, through its subsidiaries, had a total of 3,600 franchised, licensed or company-operated restaurants in 44 states and in 38 foreign countries and territories. Serving quality hamburgers, Entrepreneur ranked Hardee’s as number ine in the Hamburger category on its 2014 Franchise 500 list.

  • Cash Investment – $300,000
  • Net Worth – $1,000,000
  • Franchise Fee – $15,000 to $25,000
  • Total Investment – $820,800 to $1,177,500

4. Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen basically got its roots from ice cream. Most business was as a result of experiments, and it was the same with Dairy Queen. Its founder J.F. McCullough was experimenting with a recipe for a new frozen dairy product, owing to his belief that ice cream tasted better when it was soft and served fresh from the freezer, not frozen solid.

The first Dairy Queen opened in 1940 in Joliet, Illinois, and they sold only soft-serve ice cream in form of ice cream sundaes, take-home pints and quarts, and cones. Over the years, other ice cream treats were added to the menu like banana splits and Dilly Bars. Today, they have modified to include hot dogs, hamburgers and chicken strips through the Dairy Queen’s Grill & Chill concept.

  • Initial Investment – $1,083,525 to $1,850,425
  • Net-worth Requirement – $750,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $400,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee -5-6%

5. Golden Corral: This restaurant is a buffet and grill that serves high-value, family-oriented lunch and dinner buffet served daily and with breakfast served every weekend. In fact, with more than 40 years of success and over 500 locations under their belt, Golden Corral is recognized as America’s number one buffet and grill restaurant.

  • Initial Investment – $2,120,644 to $6,170,713
  • Net-worth Requirement – $2,500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $50,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2.4%

6. Sonic

Sonic is America’s largest drive-in restaurant that serves hot, fresh, delicious made-to-order food. They are a rapidly expanding brand with ample open territory and choice locations in many states. Sonic is more than an iconic franchise brand, it is a good solid investment that is backed by a best-in-class franchise support team, top-notch menu development and highly popular national advertising.

Sonic franchise owners saw average gross sales-by-store increase from $1,072,000 in 2012 to $1,283,000 in 2016, with 27 percent of stores exceeding $1.5 million in gross sales in fiscal year 2016. This statistics makes Sonic a very viable and profitable franchise.

  • Cash Investment – $500,000
  • Net Worth – $1,000,000
  • Franchise Fee – $45,000
  • Total Investment – $1,020,000 to $1,770,000

7. Perkins Restaurant and Bakery

This restaurant company has been a top leader in the family restaurant dining segment since 1958. Perkins offers high quality, flavorful and affordable menu options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack. With more than 440 units across the U.S. and Canada, the heritage of the Perkins brand and the ability to adapt to current consumer trends have placed it among the top performing companies in the family restaurant franchise segment.

  • Cash Investment – $500,000
  • Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Advertising Fee – 3%

8. All American Steakhouse and Sports Theater

This restaurant serves great quality food with signature steaks in a sports-themed restaurant coupled with good old-fashioned, friendly service in a fun and energetic atmosphere suitable for sports lovers.

Each restaurant has an in-house butcher whose sole responsibility is to make sure that steaks are aged and cut to critical specifications, and the ambiance of the restaurant creates a fun, exciting, and energetic atmosphere with the over 20 high-definition televisions placed in strategic locations throughout the dining room, waiting area and patio.

The All American Steakhouse and Sports Theater is positioned to accelerate its growth and they are currently in search of individuals qualified to own and operate this fun, exciting, and financially rewarding business.

  • Cash Investment: $350,000
  • Net Worth: $1,500,000
  • Franchise Fee: $38,000
  • Total Investment: $1,500,000 to $2,500,000

9. Taco Bell

Taco Bell is a renowned restaurant that serves various varieties of tacos as well as other snack offering. Founded by Glen Bell, a former marine as far back as 1962, Taco Bell began as an interest that finally found a market for itself. The restaurant started franchising in 1964 and today, it has numerous franchises in various countries around the globe. Today, Taco Bell is a subsidiary of Yum! Brands Inc., which also franchises KFC and Pizza Hut.

  • Initial Investment – $1,177,300 to $2,620,600
  • Net-worth Requirement – $1,500,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $750,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $45,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5.5%
  • Advert Royalty Fee – 4.25%

10. Checkers and Rally’s

Taking its roots from Alabama, Checkers Drive-In Restaurants started in 1986 in Mobile, Alabama. A year before this, Rally’s Drive-In had opened its first restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1999, the two concepts merged into a single double drive-thru burger chain.

In addition to burgers, the restaurants serve chicken, fish, hot dogs, fries, and desserts. Checkers and Rally’s Restaurants Inc. offer financing to its franchisees to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll.

  • Initial Investment – $96,414 to $1,501,265
  • Net-worth Requirement – $750,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $250,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 4.5%
  • Veteran Incentives – Franchise fee waived

Least Expensive Restaurant Franchise Opportunities

11. Jimmy John’s: Jimmy John’s has something people crave – honestly good sandwiches and world-class service. They offer very fast service, high quality products and consistency to keep their customers filled and entertained. Jimmy John’s have an average annual sales of $1,170,866.

  • Average initial investment – $425,000
  • Cash Investment – $80,000
  • Net Worth – $300,000
  • Franchise Fee – $35,000
  • Total Investment – $329,500 to $557,500
  • Royalty Fee – 6% of gross sales
  • Advertising Fee – 4.5%
  • Total units – 1,802

12. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

This restaurant was established in 1941 by Travis Dickey. The fast casual barbecue makes and sells mouthwatering hickory-smoked barbecue, sauces and sides and they also cater events. The restaurant prides itself on its decades old recipe, as well as its age long practice of rubbing spices into meat by hand before barbecuing them. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit offers decades of restaurant knowledge and they boast of a team of experts that assist franchise owners every step of the way.

Dickey’s Barbecue promises franchisees low start-up costs, multiple revenue streams and an expert support team to help them start and stand. Dickey’s barbecue pit is one of the best restaurant franchises around because it was named 2016 Top Franchise (Entrepreneur Franchise 500), and also named QSR Best Franchise Deal in 2012 and 2015.

  • Initial Cash Investment – $100,000
  • Franchise Fee – $20,000
  • Total Investment – $289,939 to $421,244
  • Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Advertising Fee – 4%

13. Sbarro LLC

Sbarro is reputed as the worlds’ sixth largest quick service pizza restaurant chain in the United States. Established in 1956 and celebrating a proven 60 year track record, the restaurant is present in more than 800 locations in 39 states and 31 countries.

Their eateries presently can be seen in Aruba, Brazil, Belarus, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Russia, Turkey, Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, among others. Sbarro LLC has recently undergone certain transformations to make both their restaurant and their franchise deals best in the pizza line of offering.

  • Cash Investment – $125,000
  • Net Worth – $350,000
  • Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Total Investment – $349,500 to $673,500

14. Blue Coast Burrito

Blue Coast Burrito is reputed to serve the freshest, finest, West Coast-style Mexican food available around town. Dubbed “Surf-Mex!” the restaurant allows customers build their own burritos, tacos, fresh-made salads and much more.

Serving fast casual Mexican cuisine, the restaurant prides itself cooking with fresh and healthy ingredients, while not sacrificing speed. They are currently looking for franchisees who can expand their concept across the Southeastern USA.

  • Cash Investment – $150,000
  • Net Worth – $750,000
  • Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Total Investment – $368,000 to $572,000
  • Royalty Fee – 5% of sales

15. Huddle House

Huddle House family restaurants have been in the business for over 47 years. They are known not only by their food, but by their fun, homely and comfortable environment. Having just made forward changes in their logo, building design, interior décor, and a revamped menu with delectable offerings, Huddle house is ready to share their brand with other entrepreneurs. Their various outlets include; c-store, truck stop joint, motel/hotel joint and high visibility shopping center and cap locations.

  • Cash Investment – $100,000
  • Net Worth – $600,000
  • Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Total Investment – $400,000 to $1,500,000

16. Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is the number one retailer of baked goods but it is popularly known for its delicious glazed doughnuts. The company also serves hot and iced coffee by the cup, and as well as other beverages.

With nearly 10,500 locations in 31 countries, Dunkin Donuts plans to further multiply its number of restaurants in the near future, hence the franchise. The restaurant chain that was founded in 1950 and started franchising since 1955 is looking for exceptional franchise candidates to help keep America running on Dunkin’ Donuts each and every day.

  • Cash Investment – $250,000
  • Net Worth – $500,000

17. Baskin Robbins

Baskin Robbins was founded when the owner (Robbins) began experimenting by mixing fruit and candy into ice cream. He managed to get his brother-in-law, Burt Baskin, to join the business. The two men flipped a coin to see whose name would go first on paper and Baskin won, thus the name, Baskin Robbins. Founded in 1945, Baskin-Robbins today has locations in more than 50 countries, and the company serves 31 flavors of ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet, cakes and drinks.

  • Initial Investment – $94,350 to $402,200
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $125,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5.9%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Veteran Incentives – First store franchise fee waived; royalty fee reduced for first 5 years

18. Juice It Up! Founded in 1995, the first Juice It Up store opened in Southern California. Juice It Up stores serve freshly squeezed raw juices, real fruit smoothies, acai and pitaya bowls, and healthful snacks to go with the juice. The company has had appreciable market acceptance that it was ranked among 500 best franchises in 2009. Easy on the pocket, Juice It Up offers a comfortable family business and easy returns on investment.

  • Initial Investment – $216,400 to $378,300
  • Net-worth Requirement – $300,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  • Veteran Incentives – 60% off first store franchise free; second store franchise fee refunded if second unit opens within one year of the first one.

19. Papa John’s

From a sustained high school dream, Papa John’s was born. John Schnatter dreamed of opening his own pizza restaurant even as a high school student working at a local pizza parlor in Jeffersonville, Indiana. After graduating and getting his business degree from Ball State University in 1983, he returned home.

In bringing his reams to life, and having no other space, he pulled down the broom closet in his father’s tavern, sold his car to buy used restaurant equipment and started making pizza.

The first Papa John’s restaurant opened in 1985, and the company began franchising in 1986. Papa John’s Int’l. Inc. has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment.

  • Initial Investment – $130,120 to $844,420
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $75,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 8%
  • Veteran Incentives – Franchise fee waived, free set of ovens, reduced royalty for 4 years, $3,000 food purchase credit.

20. Subway

While searching for how to get funds to finance his medical school ambition, 17-year-old Fred DeLuca sought a $1,000 loan from a family friend Peter Buck and together, they opened Pete’s Super Submarines in Bridgeport, Connecticut with the hope of making enough money to put him through college.

After a few years had passed, and with the medical school dream jettisoned, the founders changed the company’s name to Subway and began franchising in 1974. Subway has franchises throughout the United States and in 98 countries.

  • Initial Investment – $147,050 to $320,700
  • Net-worth Requirement – $80,000 to $310,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $30,000 to $90,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $15,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 8%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 4.5%
  • Veteran Incentives – Franchise fee is waived if opening on a military/government location; 50% off franchise fee if opening on non-government location but receiving government financing.