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20 Best Chinese Restaurant Franchises [Cost, Fees]

Do you want to start a Chinese food restaurant business franchise but you lack ideas? If YES, here are 20 best Chinese restaurant franchise opportunities for sale and their cost. Chinese food is such a big deal in the United States, with it becoming quite popular for TV dinners and takeouts. This trend is not only noticed in the United States, but in most countries of the world that have gotten to accept the Chinese food concept.

With the bulging popularity of Chinese food and restaurants, entrepreneurs are seeing it as the next big concept in the restaurant and fast casual industry. Reports have it that since 1999, Asian fast-food restaurants on a global scale have grown by 500%, making it the single fastest-growing food category that outstrips the next four categories combined (Middle Eastern, Chicken, Pizza, and Latin).

Unlike before, there are now so many choices of cuisines, including Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Hawaiian, Mongolian, and more, that one can specialize in and still be in the Chinese or Asian niche food industry. So if you want to own a franchise Chinese restaurant and join this profitable train, we have brought to you 20 Chinese franchises you can acquire in the United States.

20 Best Chinese Food Restaurant Franchise Opportunities for Sale and Their Cost

  1. Panda Express

One of the most popular Chinese restaurant franchises in the United States is the Panda Express, and it is also said to be the largest Asian fast-casual chain in the country. It was founded in 1983 in Glendale, California by Andrew and Peggy Cherng.

For many years, the chain located its stores almost exclusively in shopping mall food courts, but in recent years has adopted a variety of formats, including standalone restaurants. The menu includes 13 entrées, five appetizers, five sides, and one dessert (fortune cookies).

The chain now has more than 2,000 locations. International locations can be found in Canada, South Korea, Mexico, United Arab Emirates, and Guatemala. The vast majority of Panda Express locations are company-owned, so the limited franchise potential is in non-traditional locations such as airports, universities, military bases, hospitals, casinos, amusement parks, and stadiums.

Financial requirements

  • Initial License Fee:  $25,000
  • Leasehold Improvements:  $80,000 to $500,000
  • Initial Inventory:  $2,200 to $3,600
  1. Thai Express

Thai Express is another popular Chinese restaurant franchise that is doing incredibly well in the United States. It was founded and has been franchising since 2004. The restaurant brings the flavors of traditional Thai cuisine into the quick-service segment with orders prepared fresh.

The menu features two soups (Tom Yum and Regular Thai Soup), five appetizers (Imperial Roll, Spring Roll, Mango Salad, Chicken Dumplings, and Fried Dumplings), 13 main dishes (such as Steamed Dumplings, General Thai Chicken, Fried Rice, Stir-Fry, General Thairacha, Khao Soi – Golden Noodle Bowl, Pad Thai, and Pad Sew) and two desserts (sorbet gelato and fried banana).

The number of locations has grown robustly in recent years from 171 in 2011 to the current total of 302 locations, of which only one is company-owned and all but six of which are located outside the U.S.

Financial requirements

  • Minimum Cash Required – $150,000
  • Initial License Fee – $30,000
  1. SushiFork

SushiFork is a premier fast casual, create-your-own sushi restaurant franchise. It offers traditional and not-so-traditional sushi rolls, sushi burritos and eclectic sides in a hip but relaxed atmosphere. Combining good Japanese sensibilities regarding freshness and cleanliness with a straightforward made-to-order system that allows the customer to choose what they want in their roll, SushiFork has brought sushi back where it belongs.

The restaurant is on the lookout for great franchise partners and Area Representatives to help spread the SushiFork movement around the world.

  • Minimum Cash Required – $100,000
  1. Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop

In a world of sameness, where every sushi restaurant from a Grocery Store to a high-end shop sells the same rolls, Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop came into the scene to change the way people think about sushi. From their one-of-a-kind cherry-blossom-style rolls, to Temari sushi balls, to the genre-bending Sushi Burritos, Sushi Tacos and Sushi Burgers, as well as their hugely popular Poke bowls, their offering are indeed unique.

The Sushi Shop™ franchise has been a runaway success in Canada, where the brand has grown to over 150 locations and is now one of the largest sushi QSR concepts in the nation. They are now expanding into the United States as Ginger Sushi + Poke Shop!

  • Minimum Cash Required – $120,000
  1. Ginger Sushi Boutique

Founded in 2000 and franchising since 2001, Ginger Sushi Boutique specializes in sushi with an extensive menu featuring a dozen choices of nigiri and sashimi, a dozen different hosomaki, 11 maki choices, 21 different sumomaki choices, four crispy rolls, 10 blossoms, six temari choices, three hako choices, three tartare choices, three tartare maki choices, and six spring maki choices.

Other menu items include six poke bowls, sushi burritos, sushi tacos, and sushi pizza. Customers can enjoy their meal in the zen atmosphere of the boutique or order it as take-out.

After slow growth from 2011 to 2017, the number of locations jumped from 140 to the current total of 156, none of which are company-owned and all but one of which are located outside the U.S. in Canada, where the chain is known as Sushi Shop. The company is looking to expand into the U.S. market and recently signed an area development agreement in Florida, with the first U.S. location having opened in Deerfield Beach.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $265,560 – $387,700
  • Net-worth Requirement – $200,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $80,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 3%
  1. Manchu Wok

Manchu Wok is a Canadian chain offering Chinese-themed fast food, although no traditional Manchurian cuisine is on the menu as the name might imply. The company was founded in 1980 in Ontario, Canada by Dr. Jack Lew and started franchising since 1989.

For years, most locations were in shopping malls, but the chain has also opened locations on U.S. military bases, including Santa Rita, Guam; Okinawa, Japan; South Korea; Reamstein Air Base in Germany; and Grafenwohr Army Base, also in Germany. Now the chain is aggressively pursuing growth in airports, hospitals, entertainment venues, street-front locations, and travel centers.

The menu has six main categories, including four signature dishes, five beef entrées, 11 chicken entrées, two pork entrées, four rice/noodle dishes, and seven appetizers/sides. The chain reached a high of 245 locations back in the mid-1990s, but now that number currently stands at 105, only one of which is company-owned and 76 of which are located outside the U.S.

Financial requirements

  • Liquid capital required – $75,000
  • Net worth required- $300,000
  • Investment – $260,000 – $400,000
  • Franchise fee – $30,000
  1. Pho Hoa

Pho Hoa specializes in presenting a healthier Vietnamese Pho noodle soup with all the flavors of the traditional approach, but without its reliance on bone marrow broth, which is known for being high in calories and cholesterol. Instead, it relies on high-quality meats. The menu features 16 signature soups, all but three of which have some form of beef in them, along with three appetizers, four rice plates, and three vermicelli bowls.

Founded in 1983 and franchising since 1992, the number of locations currently stands at 63 (down from 75 last year), of which 10 are company-owned and 39 are located outside the U.S.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $226,100 – $436,650
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%
  1. Pei Wei Asian Diner

Pei Wei Asian Diner, LLC, doing business as Pei Wei Asian Kitchen, is an American restaurant chain serving Pan Asian fare. he restaurant is operating in more than 200 locations in the U.S. and six international locations. Pei Wei’s dishes are made to order in an open concept kitchen using cooking methods like wok firing. The restaurant offers guest customization that includes vegetarian and gluten-free options.

Pei Wei’s concept is defined by the restaurant industry as fast casual, offering the convenience of counter service and cashier orders, paired with table service once an order has been placed. Pei Wei also has a designated door in the restaurant for cashiers to service takeout food orders.

Franchise Costs

  • Cash Investment: $9,500
  • Investment Range: $9,500 – $9,500
  • Franchise Fees: $9,500
  1. City Wok

Stuart Davis opened his first City Wok in 1990, working extensively with Hing Fan Chan, an executive chef trained in Kowloon, China. While other restaurants may water down, Americanize or over-expand their menus to appeal to the masses, Davis created the City Wok concept from his desire to deliver authentic Chinese dishes in a style that appeals to Americans.

A menu featuring the ever-popular half orders and state-of-the-art packaging, helped the concept stand out from the competition. And City Wok’s direct mail, e-mail marketing, and strong four walls marketing tactics keep the irresistible food top-of-mind with customers.

City Wok serves the best tasting, most authentic Chinese cuisine cooked to Western standards using the highest quality ingredients. Carry-out and delivery sales are a healthy 40% on average, but City Wok devotees enjoy the restaurants’ pleasant decor and quality service, unusual in this segment.

Financial requirements

  • Liquid Capital Required – $250,000
  • Total Investment – $243,350 – $568,500
  1. Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill

Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill was founded in 1994 by John Young, David Young, Kerry Phelps, and Russ Schoene in Scottsdale, Arizona and it started franchising since 1995. The restaurant is a chain located in western states that presents a menu consisting of healthier, affordable Japanese fast food, including seven rice bowls, four signature dishes, seven Yakisoba bowls, six salads and sides, and two kids bowls.

The rice and Yakisoba bowls come with choices of salmon, shrimp, sirloin steak, and chicken, all of which are freshly grilled and topped with Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Sauce. Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill’s locations has been steadily declining during the past decade from 74 in 2008 to the current total of 19, of which only one is company-owned and all are located in the U.S.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $106,260 – $432,050
  • Net-worth Requirement – $250,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $75,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $7,500 – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 6%+
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2.5%
  1. LemonShark Poke

LemonShark Poke, as the name implies, focuses solely on poke bowls, where poke refers to a raw fish salad typically served as an appetizer or sometimes an entrée in Hawaiian cuisine. The word poke in Hawaiian is a verb meaning “to section” or “to slice or cut.” The “LemonShark” part of the name refers to a species of shark, Negaprion Brevirostris, known for feeding only on the very best fish, indicating the chain uses high-quality fish in its dishes.

The menu consists of five signature bowls: Aloha Tuna, LemonShark Salmon, Albacore Islander, Maui Heat Wave, and Tofu Garden, but customers can also build their own bowls in four steps by first choosing among seven bases, then the poké (ten protein options), 23 toppings, and nine different sauces.

Founded in 2016 and franchising since 2017, this newcomer to the market now has eight locations (up from four last year), of which three are company-owned and all are located in the U.S.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $343,950 – $613,700
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $70,000 – $100,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 3-6%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 2%

12. P. F. Chang’s China Bistro

F. Chang’s China Bistro has over 170 full-service restaurants across the US. This Chinese restaurant serves intensely flavored and highly memorable recipes hailing from the Far East. Food choices include Cauliflower Tempura, BBQ Spare Ribs, Edamame, Chili-Garlic Green Beans, and an array of dim sum flavors.

This restaurant grants exclusive Development and Licensing rights to several countries. Entrepreneurs considering to open up a P. F. Chang’s in Argentina, Chile, Eastern Canada, Mexico, the Philippines, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and other applicable countries may apply for a franchise agreement. The exclusivity of these privileges means that other locations not listed in the restaurant’s franchise terms and conditions cannot put up a branch.

Franchise Costs

  • Cash Investment: $50,000
  • Investment Range: $50,000 – $50,000
  • Franchise Fees: $50,000
  1. Gyu-Kaka Japanese BBQ

This unique Japanese restaurant concept offers fresh, mainly raw ingredients and allows customers to prepare their dishes exactly the way they want. Customers sit at tables that come with their own miniatures grill. While seated, the diners become the chefs, taking the raw meat that they order from the menu and cooking it to their liking. The communal experience of preparing the food is a hit with international diners.

The company offers assistance with site selection, marketing, training and more. And franchisees can enjoy the backing of an international brand that has been operating in the U.S. for more than 14 years, and even longer in Japan.

Financial requirement

  • Liquid capital required – $500,000
  • Net worth required – $1,000,000
  • Investment – $781,793 – $2,110,500
  • Franchise fee – $50,000
  1. Teriyaki Madness

Teriyaki Madness was founded in 2003 and it started franchising in 2005. The restaurant boasts of “More options than you can shake a chopstick at,” but in reality, the menu is actually pretty simple. The chain’s bowl offerings come with a choice of chicken, beef, or tofu with white rice, brown rice, fried rice, or noodles, and steamed or stir-fried veggies; while the plate option comes with a choice of veggies, a side of macaroni salad, or green salad. Kids meals come with a kid-size bowl and a fountain drink.

Core offerings include Chicken Teriyaki, Spicy Chicken, Chicken Breast Teriyaki, Beef Teriyaki, Tofu Teriyaki, Orange Chicken, Chicken Katsu, and Yakisoba Noodles. In addition, there are four appetizers, seven sides, and eight house-made sauces.

The number of locations of the restaurant just dropped for the first time from 47 last year to the current total of 45, of which only one is company-owned and all are located in the U.S.

Financial requirements

Liquid Capital Required – $125,000

Net Worth Required – $400,000

Total Investment – $274,000 – $617,000

  1. Island Fin Poke

Established in 2016 by Mark and Paul had a dream to create a quick casual restaurant that serves incredible Hawaiian style poke in a cool casual environment. From their homemade sauces, 25 toppings, and sustainably sourced fish, you will be tasting the flavors of the islands.

From pole-to-bowl and farm-to-fork, only the freshest fish, produce and ingredients are allowed to enter. Their swift transformation into creative, flavorful, and memorable recipes assures that each visitor will enjoy a dining experience like no other.

  • Minimum Cash Required – $100,000
  1. Genghis Grill

Genghis Grill is a unique fast-casual restaurant featuring an approach to Mongolian cuisine inspired by Genghis Khan’s army, who were known for cooking food on their shields even during battles. Customers build their own stir-fry by selecting their proteins, veggies, sauces, and spices from an open food bar, then hand it off to a Grill Master who cooks it up in minutes on a large circular gill.

Other menu options include gourmet fried rice, street-style noodle bowls, Asian tacos, hand-tossed salads, and several Grill Master entrées for customers who want to skip the line and order right from their table. Founded in 1998 in Dallas, Texas by entrepreneur Jeff Sinelli and franchising since 2001, the number of locations was at 110 in 2014, but the company website now only lists 56 locations spread across 15 states.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $346,600 – $973,500
  • Net-worth Requirement – $1,000,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $35,000 – $35,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 1.5%
  1. HuHot Mongolian Grill

HuHot Mongolian Grill is an American restaurant chain specializing in a create-your-own stir fry cuisine with its headquarters in Missoula, Montana. As of March 2017, there are over 70 HuHot Mongolian Grills in 18 states, with the vast majority located in the Midwest and Mountain West states

The first franchised HuHot was built in Omaha, Nebraska in 2002. There are currently 70 locations in 18 states. About one third are corporate-owned and the rest are franchised. HuHot had originally opened as “Mongo’s” but when the company decided to franchise, they found that name was already trademarked. They chose the name HuHot, from Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $984,000 – $1,219,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $1,000,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $300,000 – $500,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $40,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 0.5%
  1. L&L Hawaiian Barbecue

L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is another Chinese restaurant you can open in the United States and make good profits from. The restaurant specializes in the traditional Hawaiian barbecue plate lunch, a style of eating that dates back to the wage laborers of the 1800s working in Hawaii’s sugar plantations and pineapple fields. It consists of two scoops of rice, a creamy macaroni salad, and a hot entrée.

The chain’s approach to its menu is one that fuses Asian and American cuisines with offerings ranging from Chicken Katsu and Kalua Pork with Cabbage, to BBQ Beef and Cheeseburgers. It’s also one of the few chains you’ll find that features Spam in its menu with its Spam Musubi (a slice of grilled spam on rice and wrapped in dry seaweed) and Spam Saimin noodle soup.

Founded in 1976 by Johnson Kam and Eddie Flores Jr. in Honolulu and franchising since 1991, the number of locations has held steady for nearly a decade and currently stands at 185, none of which are company-owned and two of which are located outside the U.S.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $135,700 – $527,000
  • Net-worth Requirement – $500,000 – $1,000,000
  • Liquid Cash Requirement – $300,000 – $600,000
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $30,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 4%
  1. The Flame Broiler

The Flame Broiler distinguishes itself from competitors as being a simpler, healthier option for fast food. The menu is simple, offering just four basic dishes: Sauce-basted natural chicken, marinated Angus beef, a mix of beef and chicken, or its uniquely charbroiled, organic, and non-GMO project verified tofu. Your order can be served in a mini-bowl, regular bowl, or plate on a base of white or brown rice, veggies, rice and veggies, or salad.

Founded in 1995 in Fullerton, California by Young Lee and franchising since 1999, the number of locations has expanded in recent years from 126 in 2012 to the 2017 total of 190, and all these restaurants are located in the U.S. and none of which are company-owned.

Financial Requirements

  • Initial Investment – $256,732 – $408,514
  • Initial Franchise Fee – $25,000 – $25,000
  • Ongoing Royalty Fee – 5%
  • Ad Royalty Fee – 3%
  1. Chowking

Chowking is a Philippine-based chain that pioneered the Asian quick-service restaurant concept in the Philippines. The concept combines a Western fast food service style with Chinese food. Chowking predominantly sells noodle soups, dim sum, and rice toppings. Chowking set up its first store in 1985 under the company of Robert Kuan at a time when American-style burger joints were dominating the Philippine fast food scene.

To ensure its continued growth, Chowking explored markets outside the Philippines. In 2008, Chowking had over 400 stores within the Philippines, Indonesia, United States and the Middle East.