Blog / October 30, 2023 / Nate Pollak / UPDATED February 17, 2024

10 Food Franchise Opportunities

Table of Contents


    10 Food Franchise Opportunities 

    The allure of the food industry is undeniable. For consumers, there’s just something so captivating about those name brands we’ve come to know and love.

    For restaurateurs, the food industry offers a market that’s always in demand. Franchise restaurants, in particular, present a unique opportunity to invest in established brands—tapping into proven business models, brand recognition, and loyal customer bases.

    This article delves into some of the top opportunities for franchise restaurants, providing insights into both the costs and the potential for success.

    1. McDonald’s franchise

    Those signature golden arches symbolize more than just fast food—they represent a legacy of success spanning over 83 years. Franchisees can expect high standards for eligibility, including a minimum of $500,000 in liquid assets and up to two years spent in training.

    • Initial investment: $1.3 million – $2.4 million.
    • Initial franchise fee: $45,000.
    • Number of outlets: Over 38,000 locations globally, 95% based in the US.
    • Standout features: Comprehensive franchisee training, strong brand legacy, proven and refined business model.
    • Royalty: 4-5%
    • Franchise Details: McDonald’s

    Despite the heavy upfront investment, McDonald’s’ universal consistency, timeless menu, and effective marketing campaigns continue to rake in strong sales.

    2. Subway Franchise

    Pioneering the build-your-own sandwich model, Subway offers a fresh and healthy alternative to traditional fast food, with a comparatively lower bar to entry on the franchising side.

    • Initial investment: $207,000 to $470,000.
    • Number of outlets: Over 36,000 locations globally.
    • Standout features: With no fryers or broilers, Subway restaurants offer healthier meals, easier franchisee accessibility, and safer workplaces.
    • Franchise Details: Subway

    Subway’s emphasis on fresh produce and low prices has made it a go-to choice for health-conscious consumers on the move. Coupled with its affordable pricing strategy, Subway presents a promising opportunity for those looking to invest in a franchise that resonates with today’s health-focused consumer base

    3. Kona Ice

    A refreshing take on the traditional snow cone, Kona Ice offers Hawaiian-style shaved ice served from vibrant food trucks.

    • Initial investment: $160,725 
    • Number of outlets: Over 1,200 across the United States.
    • Standout features: Mobile, a low-investment franchise with an all-expense paid 3-day training program.
    • Franchise Details: Kona Ice

    With Kona Ice, entrepreneurs can tap into a market of fast-growing franchise restaurants that are easy to deploy with minimal overhead costs. With their patented “Flavorwave” self-serve system, Kona Ice offers deliciously unique frozen treats that appeal to kids, adults, and health department standards.


    4. Maui Wowi® Coffee Franchise

    Blending the best of Hawaiian coffee and fruit smoothies, Maui Wowi offers a unique franchise opportunity that capitalizes on two booming industries.

    • Initial investment: $28,900 – $200,050 for mobile units.
    • Number of outlets: Operates under Kahala Brands, owners of 28 quick-service brands with some 2,900 locations in 28 countries.
    • Standout features: Flexibility to operate a storefront, go mobile, or focus on catering services. Additionally, a 20% OFF franchise fee for qualified military veterans.
    • Franchise Details: Maui Wowi® Coffee

    Franchisees can operate mobile units perfect for events, concerts, and high foot traffic areas. Every cart carries a taste of the “Aloha Spirit” and a healthier alternative to traditional sugary smoothies.

    5. Ben & Jerry’s 

    Serving premium ice cream since 1978, Ben & Jerry’s franchise restaurants are well known for their exceptional quality—without cutting corners on sustainable, socially responsible business practices.

    • Number of outlets: 558 units across the United States, with some international locations in Australia, New Zealand, and Western Europe.
    • Standout features: Commitment to sourcing non-GMO and Fairtrade ingredients. Seeks franchisees that align with their mission of sustainable economic growth.

    The initial investment depends on the size of the setup you wish to franchise:

    • Initial investment: $112,700 – $256,800 for kiosks.
    • Initial franchise fee: $18,500.
    • Number of outlets: $162,800 – $309,800 for in-line scoop shops. $194,800 – $474,300 for full-size shops.
    • Franchise Details: Ben & Jerry’s 

    Investing in Ben & Jerry’s allows franchisees to operate a globally recognized brand known for its creative ice cream, playful flavor names, and unwavering commitment to making a difference in the communities it serves.


    6. Taco Bell

    Taco Bell, founded in 1962 by Glen Bell in Downey, CA, began franchising in 1964 and now boasts over 7,000 global locations. Known for Mexican-inspired fast food, they’ve expanded their menu to include healthier choices like vegan and vegetarian items. This article delves into the costs, fees, and earnings of Taco Bell franchise locations.

    • Initial investment: $575,600 – $3,370,100
    • Initial franchise fee: $25,000 to $45,000.
    • Number of outlets: 7,000 locations across 30 countries
    • Standout features: Taco Bell is broadening its appeal by introducing healthier menu choices, featuring vegan and vegetarian options to cater to a diverse audience.
    • Franchise Details: Taco Bell

    7. Bonchon

    Founded in 2002, Bonchon stands out as the leading Korean Fried Chicken brand, offering a unique and globally loved menu with Korean-infused flavors, proprietary sauces, and various restaurant formats suitable for diverse locations, making it an appealing franchise opportunity.

    • Initial investment: $516,994 – $1,097,419
    • Number of outlets: 376
    • Standout features: Bonchon offers diverse dining experiences, including a traditional sit-down, sports bar with full amenities, and quick-service restaurants, complemented by take-out and delivery options for ultimate customer convenience.
    • Royalty: 3.75% – 4.75%
    • Franchise Details: Bonchon

    8. KFC

    KFC, home of the famous secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices, boasts over 24,000 global locations, with a franchise family that leverages the strength of Yum! Brands, a leading restaurant franchise conglomerate. The brand’s colossal reach, trust-building marketing, and commitment to diversity make it a top-tier franchise opportunity.

    • Initial investment: $1.4 million to $2.7 million
    • Initial franchise fee: $45,000.
    • Number of outlets: 24,000
    • Standout features: Access KFC’s global brand assets exclusively, featuring trademarks, and benefit from continuous marketing support throughout the year to enhance your store’s sales.
    • Royalty: ~5%
    • Franchise Details:  KFC

    Franchise with KFC for a globally recognized brand, unparalleled chicken expertise, and the backing of Yum! Brands, offering extensive resources, colossal reach, and award-winning marketing, making it a colossal opportunity in the restaurant franchise industry.

    9. Dunkin’

    Dunkin’ offers lucrative quick-service restaurant franchise opportunities backed by its status as a top coffee and baked goods brand. With affordable investments, strong brand support, and incentives, Dunkin’ is an ideal choice for both seasoned and new franchise owners.

    • Initial investment: $95,700 to $1.5 million
    • Initial franchise fee: $40,000 to $90,000 (fee varies depending on your state).
    • Number of outlets: 12,400 locations in 41 states and 46 countries
    • Standout features: Access a tried-and-true business model as a franchisee, accompanied by training, support, and continuous assistance from the franchisor. Varied menu: Dunkin’ Donuts provides a diverse range of food and beverage choices beyond doughnuts, including coffee, breakfast sandwiches, and more.
    • Royalty: 1.9-5.9%
    • Franchise Details: Dunkin’
    Pizza takeout

    10. Pizza Hut

    Founded in 1958 by Dan and Frank Carney in Wichita, Kansas, Pizza Hut is a multinational restaurant chain and international franchise. Headquartered in Plano, Texas, it is currently owned by Yum! Brands, Inc., with 17,639 restaurants globally as of 2020.

    • Initial investment: $357,000 to $2.2 million
    • Initial franchise fee: $25,000.
    • Number of outlets: 18,431 worldwide
    • Standout features: Pizza Hut boasts a diverse menu featuring pizza, pasta, and wings, coupled with versatile service options such as delivery, dine-in, and carry-out. Additionally, the establishment provides a loyalty program rewarding customers with complimentary food.
    • Royalty: ~6%
    • Franchise Details: Pizza Hut

    Factors to consider when choosing a franchise

    Choosing the right franchise is crucial for success, and there are many factors that need to be considered. Entrepreneurs and restaurateurs seeking to invest in franchise restaurants should take the following into account: 

    • Where is the venue’s location concerning my target demographics? 
    • What is the projected Return On Investment (ROI)
    • How much training and support is provided by the franchisor?
    • What is the brand’s reputation and customer loyalty?
    • Are there seasonal variables to account for, such as a drop in ice cream sales in winter? 

    Although by no means a comprehensive list, these questions can drive restaurateurs to make more informed decisions when venturing into the lucrative realm of franchising.

    Get franchising faster with CloudKitchens

    Clearly, the restaurant industry offers lucrative opportunities. For aspiring franchisees aligned with the evolving trends of the market, success is well within reach.

    One such trend that’s reshaping the future of franchising is ghost kitchens. By catering to a delivery-centric market, ghost kitchens minimize overhead costs and give you the agility to scale operations in weeks instead of months.

    CloudKitchens is already partnered with some of the largest restaurant brands in the country, streamlining your franchising approval process. And while our expert project management team takes care of the permits and paperwork, you can focus on what you do best: growing your business and engaging with your customers.

    Contact us to start your ghost kitchen journey today.

    Explore ghost kitchen locations across the US:

    DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only and the content does not constitute an endorsement. CloudKitchens does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, images/graphics, links, or other content contained within the blog content. We recommend that you consult with financial, legal, and business professionals for advice specific to your situation.


    Own a Kona. Numbers.

    Maui Wowi. Maui Wowi® Hawaiian Coffee & Smoothie Franchise Opportunity.

    Ben & Jerry’s. Open a Franchise.

    Entrepreneur. About Ben & Jerry’s.

    McDonalds. Your First Steps on Your U.S. Franchisee Journey.

    Investopedia. The Cost of Buying a McDonald’s Franchise.

    Investopedia. The Cost of Buying a Subway Franchise. 

    Franchise Direct. 7 Often Overlooked Things When Choosing Which Franchise to Buy. 

    14 Food Franchise Opportunities.




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