Best Fast-Food Restaurants to Own

Most Profitable Fast-Food Franchises to Own

By Franchise Information July 1, 2022

Let’s face it: America loves fast food. Sure, these restaurants don’t exactly offer a fine dining experience, but they provide an affordable, convenient outlet with diverse menus. There are many advantages of franchising in the restaurant industry, including the potential for immense profits. Here’s why you should start a franchise with one of these top performers.

Papa John’s

This award-winning pizza chain faces stiff competition, which is why the company is offering significant incentives to attract new franchisees. 

Such incentives include new ovens for each new location, reduced franchise royalty fees for the first few years, and a hefty marketing budget. Historically, franchise owners have been able to start their businesses with no franchise fee. 

These benefits are significant and can increase the profit margins of your restaurant. Additionally, this assistance will make the overall startup process easier, which is why you should start a franchise in the first place. 

However, Papa John’s franchisees still need to obtain outside financing, and the company seems to give preference to those with previous managerial/restaurant experience.


If you live in the Northeast, you likely already have a Dunkin’ location within walking distance. But these coffee-and-donut franchises are everywhere, providing something of an alternative to the Seattle-based Starbucks franchise. 

Franchise fees vary by operating territory but can often be fairly substantial. The good news is that Dunkin’ offers incentives for certain types of investors. 

If you plan to open multiple locations, for example, you qualify for a discount. Military veterans also receive a reduced rate for the initial franchise fee, and these incentives might be good reasons to start a franchise with this company.

Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s is another company that has built an empire on being a healthier alternative to the greasy drive thru. As one of the fastest growing restaurant chains in America, Jimmy John’s currently has over 2,700 units across 43 states and lots of room to grow. 

Franchising fees are approximately $30,000 to $35,000. To buy a franchise here, you need at least $200,000 in liquid capital and a minimum net worth of $1,000,000. As a franchisee, you can expect to make a total investment of $313,600 to $556,100.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell has the distinct advantage of being one of the few Mexican-themed fast-food chains in the nation. In some parts of the country, it has virtually no competitors. Its menu remains popular with younger audiences and continues to evolve to attract and retain its customer base. 

Taco Bell is owned by YUM! Brands, which also operates KFC and Pizza Hut. For this reason, it’s not unusual to see some combination of these menus in the same building. This varied ownership potentially means that Taco Bell franchisees could offer a diverse menu that attracts a broader customer base.


KFC has long been regarded as an alternative to the usual burgers and fries of its competitors, and it’s even made inroads with grilled options for health-conscious fast-food patrons. Despite some recent closures due to the coronavirus, this chain still maintains a nationwide presence, and nationwide profits are just shy of $30 billion. 

Just like Taco Bell, KFC is owned by YUM! Brands. Unfortunately, the company makes it difficult to learn much about the franchising process, but interested parties can still inquire about the details in the franchise agreement and the expectations for managers.


This one might be obvious. The sheer distribution of “golden arches” across the United States testifies to this brand’s popularity and staying power. A typical McDonald’s franchise will pull in around $2 to $3 million per year, sometimes more, depending on location. 

The flip side is that the startup costs tend to be steep. You should have at least $500,000 in liquid capital and put up over $1 million for your initial investment. 

Additionally, the training required to open a franchise will take a year (or more) to complete. McDonald’s offers some of the best advantages of franchising in the restaurant industry, but also some steep requirements.

Find the Franchise that Fits

While these major corporations offer the potential for large profits, never make that your sole criteria. There are many advantages of franchising in the restaurant industry, such as the chance to contribute to your local economy or to offer menu items that you’re passionate about. 

When you’re ready to find the franchise that fits you, use the franchise locator tool on You can search by location to discover new opportunities and start your journey as the owner of your restaurant.

About the Author - Franchise Information

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