Chick-fil-A franchise

Hassle-free business loans to start your Chick-fil-A franchise.

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Chick-fil-A is a fast-food restaurant chain best known for their fried-chicken sandwiches. Operating in malls, airports, train stations, bus stations, as standalone units, and even as food-trucks, they are the largest chicken sandwich franchise in the US. 

Chick-fil-A business details

Chick-fil-A was founded in Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946. Pioneers of the idea of operating a restaurant within a shopping mall – they opened their first mall location in 1967 – the brand has expanded across most of North America. Today they operate more than 2,600 locations across 48 states, Washington DC, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

Chick-fil-A at a glance:

  • Stores: 2,600+
  • Required investor net worth: $0
  • Required investor liquid cash: $0 
  • Minimum investment: $300,000*
  • Maximum investment: $2,450,000*

Can I start a Chick-fil-A franchise?

Chick-fil-A set no net worth or liquid asset requirements on potential investors, and the cost at start-up can be relatively low for a business operating in this sector. However – and it’s a big however – Chick-fil-A can be very picky about who they choose to operate their franchises.

According to past statistics, only 0.4% of franchise applicants successfully obtain a license. Additionally, the company demand that you take an active day-to-day role in running the business. This is not a franchise you can operate as a remote or passive investor. 

How much does a Chick-fil-A franchise cost?

Depending on location, size of your store, the amount of inventory you carry at opening, the size of your retail team, and many other variable start-up costs, opening a new Chick-fil-A franchise can cost anywhere from $300,000 up to $2,450,000. 

However, Chick-fil-A can be one of the cheapest chicken franchises to get into, because, unlike other franchises, Chick-fil-A purchases the real estate and covers any construction costs, plus all the equipment required to open the business. They own virtually everything and you lease the complete infrastructure from the company via monthly payments. This can make it easier for those without deep pockets to get started with a Chick-fil-A franchise, but you will never have equity (ownership) in your business, other than the right to operate the franchise. You will be more of a manager than an owner.

Additionally, although Chick-fil-A make it easier for average investors to get into their business, the fees and charges that come after opening can be substantial. What looked low cost at first can be quite expensive at the final tally.

After store opening, there are a raft of ongoing fees, including things like: 

  • Base operating service fee: 15% of gross sales per month
  • Equipment rental: $750 to $5,000 per month
  • Advertising fee: 0% to 3.25% of gross sales per month
  • Rent: $1,475 to $85,800 per month
  • Insurance: $282 to $11,165 per month
  • Hardware/software support and high-speed internet: $9,500 to $20,000 per year
  • Cash handling system services: $85 to $450 per month

Additionally, you may have to pay other fees on a case-by-case basis. For example:

  • Occupancy charge: 8% to 50% of sales, for businesses operating as concessions
  • Advertising support and services fee: $100 per hour if you need assistance
  • Additional franchise fee: $5,000 if Chick-fil-A offers you the chance for a second location
  • Business services fee: $300 per month, if Chick-fil-A requires you to purchase certain services
  • Food truck usage fee: $2,200 to $2,750 per month if you’re operating a Chick-fil-A food truck, plus other costs
  • Food truck insurance fee: $320 to $400 per month, if you’re operating a Chick-fil-A food truck
  • Fines: Various fines for breaking the terms of your contract

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Estimated key costs to open a Chick-fil-A franchise (new restaurant):

Key Costs GuideLowHigh
Franchise fee$10,000$10,000
1st month equipment rental$750$5,000
1st month location rent$1,500$85,000
1st month insurance$300$11,000
Opening inventory$18,000$95,000
Other start-up costs$5,000$2,225,000

Are Chick-fil-A franchises profitable?

Yes. According to external research, and depending on if your location is in a mall, or a standalone unit, (standalones make approximately 4x more turnover than those found in malls), you can expect average annual turnover of $2,700,000 (mall) or $8,500,000 (standalone) and have profits of 15%. The average standalone unit makes an annual net profit of $1,277,000 before taxes and depreciation.

What is the failure rate for a Chick-fil-A franchise?​

Very low. According to industry estimates, the failure rate for Chick-fil-A franchises is less than 5%, and over 96% of Chick-fil-A restaurants have been in business for more than 50 years.

Why should you start a Chick-fil-A franchise?

Assuming you can pass the brand’s vigorous investor selection process, the relatively low cost of entry makes a Chick-fil-A restaurant an attractive proposition for investors seeking access to the fast-food industry. With profits at 15% – on the high end of average profits for the sector – and most owners collecting personal income of $200,000 – $240,000 annually – it can still be a good investment even if you never own the equity.

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What are the franchise territory policies for Chick-fil-A?

Chick-fil-A keep a very tight grip on their franchisees and the company decides the locations and sets the territory. Investors receive no exclusivity, but the brand has a vested interest in ensuring they do not oversaturate an area.

What franchise resources does Chick-fil-A offer?

Chick-fil-A provide comprehensive support to their franchisees. Available resources include:

  • Marketing support: Franchisees can benefit from a coordinated national and local advertising program, plus online, email and social media marketing support.
  • Flexible store designs: Chick-fil-A operate various store sizes and designs, and even offer a food truck opportunity. Note that investors are designated a location and have little say in the size or layout of any given restaurant.
  • Comprehensive training:  Chick-fil-A provides multi-week training in its company-operated training centers and within its selected franchised restaurants. 
  • Third-party financing: Chick-fil-A do not provide franchise funding to cover fees and restaurant set-up costs, nor do they guarantee third-party loans. You must seek funding from independent lenders who specialize in business loans to franchise start-ups.
  • Site selection and construction: Chick-fil-A designate restaurant locations and manage store designs and build out. Franchisees receive a turnkey operation in an area selected by the company.

What is the process for starting a Chick-fil-A franchise?

It begins with an initial application, which you can start here. If you meet the brand’s selection requirements, (and you can launch a restaurant in their available locations), you may qualify to open a Chick-fil-A franchise. After receiving approval, get started with an initial investment, followed by a period of intensive training.

Secure franchise funding with Swoop

Starting a new franchise can be an exciting opportunity, but it’s easy to get lost in a maze of business loan applications that make funding your new fast-food restaurant a slow and tedious business. Instead, cut out the hassle and cut to the chase. Swoop has the best lenders for the best franchises across the US. Just tell us what you need and leave the rest to us.

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Written by

Chris Godfrey

Chris is a freelance copywriter and content creator. He has been active in the marketing, advertising, and publishing industries for more than twenty-five years. Writing for Wells Fargo Bank, Visa, Experian, Ebay, Flywire, insurers and pension funds, his words have appeared online and in print to inform, entertain and explain the complex world of US consumer and business finance.

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