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How Profitable is a Chick-Fil-A Franchise: 2022 FDD Data

With 1,976 franchise restaurants across the US and Canada, yet one of the most difficult application process, you may wonder whether opening a Chick-Fil-A franchise is a good investment.

In this article we’ll look at the financials of Chick-Fil-A franchises by using the latest FDD numbers. We’ll look into questions like: how much sales you can expect to make, and more importantly, how profitable this franchise really is.

Chick-Fil-A franchise: key figures

Franchise fee$10,000
Royalty fee15.0%
Marketing fee3.25%
Investment (mid-point)$1,363,510
Average sales$4,227,417
Sales to investment ratio3.1
Payback period*2.2 years (excellent)
* using 15% net profit margin

🔎 How does Chick-fil-A compare vs. other franchises? Check the ranking

Chick-Fil-A: a brief introduction

Chick-fil-A is an American fast food restaurant chain. It is one of the largest and the largest fast food restaurant chain specializing in chicken sandwiches. There are 2,873 restaurants operated by the brand, most of which are located in the United States.

Except for Alaska, Vermont, and Hawaii, Chick-fil-A operates in 47 US states and Washington D.C. Outside of America, the company has several restaurants operating in Canada.

Before Chick-fil-A came into existence, the founder S. Truett Cathy founded Dwarf House in 1946, which primarily focused on steaks and hamburgers. Today, there are 12 Dwarf House restaurants operational in the US. Chick-fil-A was founded in 1967 after Dwarf House became a success. The first Chick-fil-A restaurant was opened in Atlanta.

Apart from chicken sandwich, grilled nuggets are one of the most popular menu items of Chick-fil-A, and the company spent a whopping $50 million dollars and 7 years to perfect the recipe. Most of the money went into designing a special grill by Chick-fil-A scientists.

Chick-fil-A is a privately owned company, and it will never go public because of the last wish of the founder. Cathy actually signed a contract with his children which dictates that the chain will remain a private company, but his children have the freedom to sell off the company.

According to Zippia, Chick-fil-A has 35,574 employees and the company clocked a revenue of $11.3 billion in 2021.

Chick-Fil-A franchise: pros and cons

Chick-fil-A franchise comes with various advantages and disadvantages. Here is a quick rundown of the pros and cons you must be aware of:

Pros

  • Offers development courses and multi-week training program to provide support to their franchisees
  • Franchise fee is much lower than the competitors
  • Chick-fil-A takes care of the startup costs such as real estate, construction, etc.
  • The company will provide all equipment you will need to run your franchise efficiently
  • You don’t need to have any prior restaurant experience
  • You must keep the store closed on Sundays to maintain a proper work-life balance

Cons

  • You cannot select the restaurant site. The company will do that for you. The company will not even entertain suggestions from you
  • You cannot run multiple units (stores) at once
  • The real estate and all property will be owned by Chick-fil-A, which means you cannot sell it and you cannot hand it over to your next generation
  • You must be a hands-on-operator, which means, you cannot open a Chick-fil-A restaurant as a passive investor
  • You cannot pursue other business ventures while running a Chick-fil-A franchise. You must give your full commitment

How much does it cost to open a Chick-Fil-A franchise?

The franchise fee you must pay to Chick-Fil-A to open a new franchise is quite low vs. other quick-service restaurants. Indeed, the franchise fee only costs $10,000 to the franchisee.

How much you need to invest?

The average amount you need to invest as the franchisee is $1,363,510, which also includes the initial franchise fee of $10,000.

Although, it is just an average, the amount can vary based on many reasons such as: location, size or type of the restaurant, etc. As per the latest FDD, the investment ranges from a minimum of $295,412 to a maximum of $2,431,608.

This investment amount reflects everything a business needs at the start. It is the sum of expenses like opening inventory, the first month’s rental of equipment, lease, insurance, and additional funds for operations to sustain losses the first few months.

Type of costAmount
Initial Franchise Fee$10,000
Formation costs$1475 – $85,800
Operating expenses$293,937 – $2,345,808
Total$295,412 – $2,431,608 
Source: FDD 2022

What is the turnover of a Chick-Fil-A franchise?

On average, a Chick-Fil-A franchise makes $4,227,417 in sales per year.

This number vary depending on whether the restaurant is located within a mall ($1,570,000) or not ($6,884,000). In other words, restaurants that aren’t located in a mall tend to have turnover 4x times higher vs. mall units.

Mall unitsNon mall unitsTotal
Revenue$1,570,000$6,884,000$6,235,900
Restaurants2411,7351,976
Source: FDD 2021

How profitable is a Chick-Fil-A franchise?

Looking at the financial information provided in the latest FDD, Chick-Fil-A franchises have an adjusted EBITDA margin of 21%.

Please note this operating profit only includes COGS, labor, rent and royalty and marketing fees paid to the franchisor. To obtain this number, we used the royalty fees as well as the rent expense provided in the FDD.

Yet Chick-Fil-A doesn’t not provide COGS nor labor costs. Therefore we used industry average percentages for those 2 instead (actually we used MacDonalds’ COGS ratio or 25% and labor costs of 29%).

Now, using the average annual sales of $6,235,900, the average adjusted EBITDA is around $903,108 per year.

Profit-and-lossAmount ($)As % of sales
Sales$4,227,417100%
COGS$(1,056,854)25%**
Labor$(1,225,951)29%**
Rent$(270,000)*
Royalty fees$(771,504)15% + 3.25%
Adjusted EBITDA$903,108~21%
* mid-point, ** McDonalds (source: 2021 FDD)

Is a Chick-Fil-A franchise a good investment?

The profitability of a business doesn’t tell us much about whether it’s a good investment. Indeed, in order to know whether you should invest in a Chick-Fil-A franchise, you must compare the profits you earn vs. the investment cost you pay upfront (the payback period).

Payback period = Investment / Average annual net profit

We know that the average investment to open a Chick-Fil-A franchise is $1,363,510. Yet in comparison you earn around 15% net profit per year (industry average) ie. $634,000 per year.

The payback period for a Chick-Fil-A is only 2.2 years, which is exceptionally good for a franchise in general. In other words, it takes a franchisee 2.2 years to recoup her/his original investment.

So from this standpoint we can argue that Chick-Fil-A franchises are very good investments. Indeed, anything below 4 is excellent.

Of course, these numbers are averages, and your franchise payback period may be different based on various factors. In order to assess whether your franchise is a good investment, download our financial plan template below.

Download the Chick-Fil-A business plan and get your franchise funded

Including a 5-year financial plan built with the latest Franchise Disclosure Document numbers

How does Chick-Fil-A compare vs. other franchises?

FranchiseInvestment ($)Sales ($)S/I RatioPayback (years)Min. net worth ($)Min. liquid capital ($)
Chick-Fil-Ahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/chick-fil-a-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,363,5104,227,4173.12.2--
Dunkin' Donutshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dunkin-donuts-franchise-costs-profits/Donuts779,0001,056,5211.44.9500,000250,000
Domino'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dominos-franchise-profits-costs/Pizza398,7251,286,4283.23.9250,00075,000
Krispy Kremehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/krispy-kreme-franchise-costs-profits/Donuts824,0003,400,0004.11.62,000,000300,000
Little Caesarshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/little-caesars-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza1,022,850798,1130.88.5350,000150,000
Wingstophttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wingstop-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken631,6951,460,4592.32.91,200,000600,000
Steak 'n Shakehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/steak-n-shake-franchise-costs-profits/Burger, Milshakes815,6261,346,3321.74.01,500,000500,000
Crumbl Cookieshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/crumbl-cookie-franchise-cost-profits/Sweets507,2241,582,0903.12.1300,000150,000
Taco Bellhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/taco-bell-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican462,4131,650,0003.61.91,500,000750,000
Popeyeshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/popeyes-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,095,7831,444,6171.35.11,000,000500,000
Smoothie Kinghttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/smoothie-king-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie688,108573,2690.88.0300,000100,000
Jersey Mike'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jersey-mikes-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich574,3231,220,5862.14.7300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakeshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/nothing-bundt-cakes-franchise-costs-profits/Sweets538,6501,307,2802.42.7600,000150,000
Jimmy John'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jimmy-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich513,650874,8451.73.9300,00080,000
Texas Roadhousehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/texas-roadhouse-franchise-costs-profits/Steakhouse4,209,5002,955,5340.79.5n.a.200,000
Kung Fu Teahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/kung-fu-tea-franchise-costs-profits/Bubble tea250,125353,2371.44.7n.a.25,000
Wendy’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wendys-franchise-cost-profits/Burger1,374,8331,791,2311.35.11,000,000500,000
Burger Kinghttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/burger-king-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,242,9501,215,9701.06.81,500,000500,000
Sonic Drive-Inhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/sonic-drive-in-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,467,0831,617,0001.16.01,000,000500,000
Panera Breadhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/panera-bread-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich2,290,5002,599,4321.15.97,500,0003,000,000
Pizza Huthttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/pizza-hut-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza935,575906,9111.06.9700,000350,000
KFChttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/kfc-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,802,0501,567,4740.97.71,500,000750,000
Arby’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/arbys-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich1,184,9751,126,2631.07.01,000,000500,000
Dairy Queenhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dairy-queen-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream1,404,2201,143,1800.88.2750,000400,000
Jack in the Boxhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jack-in-the-box-franchise-costs-profits/Burger2,195,8001,755,5030.812.51,000,000250,000
Papa John’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/papa-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza353,6951,101,1273.12.1750,000250,000
Zaxby’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/zaxbys-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken534,7502,229,1874.22.41,000,000500,000
Hardee’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/hardees-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,759,0001,147,9750.710.21,000,000300,000
Culver’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/culvers-franchise-costs-profits/Burger4,044,5003,051,7620.88.82,000,000350,000
Five Guyshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/five-guys-franchise-costs-profits/Burger511,2251,203,3662.42.8500,000250,000
Carl’s Jr.https://sharpsheets.io/blog/carls-jr-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,860,3351,419,5160.88.71,000,000500,000
Baskin-Robbinshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/baskin-robbins-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream465,100316,8150.79.8250,000125,000
IHOPhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ihop-franchise-costs-profits/Pancakes2,058,3021,553,3110.88.81,500,000500,000
Applebee’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/applebees-franchise-costs-profits/Casual American5,137,9662,356,9650.514.51,000,000500,000
Denny'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/dennys-franchise-costs-profits/Casual American3,785,4591,639,5490.415.41,000,000500,000
Papa Murphy'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/papa-murphys-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza433,174580,4411.35.0275,000125,000
Auntie Anne'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/auntie-annes-franchise-costs-profits/Pretzels229,692343,1351.55.6300,000100,000
Firehouse Subshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/firehouse-subs-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich613,186888,3561.44.6350,000100,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/tropical-smoothie-cafe-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie430,500961,9692.23.0350,000125,000
Marco’s Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/marcos-pizza-franchises-costs-profits/Pizza437,625895,5232.03.3400,000100,000
Cinnabonhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/cinnabon-franchises-costs-profits/Sweets276,062394,8971.45.8300,000120,000
Cold Stone Creameryhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/cold-stone-creamery-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream310,956417,5881.35.0250,000100,000
Jambahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/jamba-franchise-costs-profits/Smoothie414,562597,0281.47.7300,000100,000
Church’s Chickenhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/churchs-texas-chicken-fees-sales-costs/Chicken1,195,1471,395,0881.25.71,000,000300,000
Moe’s Southwest Grillhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/moes-southwest-grill-franchises-costs-profits/Mexican792,3701,013,3611.35.21,000,000100,000
Tim Hortonshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/tim-hortons-franchises-costs-profits/Coffee1,242,7501,188,2401.07.0500,000100,000
Checkers & Rally'shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/checkers-franchises-profits-sales-costs/Burger837,8471,039,7731.25.4750,000250,000
Charleys Philly Steakshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/charleys-philly-steaks-costs-profits/Sandwich509,806786,2331.54.3500,000100,000
Buffalo Wild Wingshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/buffalo-wild-wings-costs-profits/Chicken3,546,9002,534,1480.79.31,500,000750,000
Rita's Icehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ritas-ice-franchise-costs-profits/Ice Cream215,839248,3401.25.8300,000100,000
A&W Restaurantshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/aw-restaurants-franchises-costs-profits/Burger786,750851,2121.16.2350,000150,000
Hungry Howie’s Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/hungry-howies-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza419,682806,8991.93.5750,000200,000
Bojangleshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/bojangles-franchise-costs-profits/Chicken1,658,0001,801,0571.16.11,000,000500,000
McAlister’s Delihttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/mcalister-deli-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich1,424,9631,865,8611.35.11,000,000500,000
Round Table Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/round-table-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza783,2501,037,8161.35.0500,000200,000
Qdoba Mexican Eatshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/qdoba-mexican-eats-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican659,250972,9621.54.5
Freddy’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/freddys-franchise-costs-profits/Burger1,453,0401,792,9291.25.41,000,000400,000
Taco John’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/taco-johns-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican1,119,0001,124,9801.06.61,000,000400,000
Scooter’s Coffeehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/scooters-coffee-franchise-costs-profits/Coffee1,143,250797,1010.79.6500,000200,000
Einstein Bros. Bagelshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/einstein-bros-bagels-franchise-costs-profits/Sandwich750,075885,0111.25.71,000,000536,500
Great American Cookieshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/great-american-cookies-franchise-costs-profits/Sweets385,275452,7711.25.7250,000100,000
Wienerschnitzelhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wienerschnitzel-franchise-costs-profits/Hot dogs873,300880,9801.06.6600,000250,000
Blaze Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/blaze-pizza-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza865,4501,096,4321.37.9500,000300,000
Wetzel's Pretzelshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/wetzels-pretzels-franchise-costs-profits/Pretzels377,571748,8572.03.4300,00050,000
Pizza Ranchhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/pizza-ranch-franchise-costs-profits/Pizza3,268,3001,174,0880.418.61,000,000297,000
Del Tacohttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/del-taco-franchise-costs-profits/Mexican1,406,8501,345,3411.07.02,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/schlotzskys-franchises-costs-profits/Healthy, Salads1,102,9331,053,3330.322.21,000,000300,000
Captain D’shttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/captain-ds-franchise-profits-costs/Seafood982,7781,067,8160.419.01,000,000350,000
Biggby Coffeehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/biggby-coffee-franchise-profits-costs/Coffee310,575648,3520.320.0300,000100,000
Which Wichhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/which-wich-franchises-profits-costs/Sandwich330,375281,8860.322.2500,000150,000
Marble Slab Creameryhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/marble-slab-franchises-costs-profits/Ice Cream407,360251,0520.416.7250,000100,000
Mountain Mike's Pizzahttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/mountain-mikes-franchise-profits-costs/Pizza410,900865,7130.320.0300,000100,000
Huddle Househttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/huddle-house-franchise-cost-profits/Diner988,743712,4280.513.3600,000300,000
L&L Hawaiian Barbecuehttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/ll-hawaiian-barbecue-franchises-costs-profits/BBQ334,350612,9210.333.3500,000150,000
Chicken Salad Chickhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/chicken-salad-chick-franchises-costs-profits/Healthy, Salads651,0001,202,0200.320.0750,000250,000
Golden Chickhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/golden-chick-franchises-costs-profits/Chicken362,975917,6092.52.62,000,000425,000
Perkinshttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/perkins-franchise-costs-profits/Diner1,922,7281,729,2460.97.41,500,000500,000
Waba Grillhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/waba-grill-franchises-costs-profits/Teryaki454,000466,5361.06.51,000,000250,000
Bruster’s Ice Creamhttps://sharpsheets.io/blog/brusters-franchises-profits-costs/Ice Cream663,925466,6960.79.5375,000150,000