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Chicken Salad Chick Franchises are Worth Investing $651,000

One of the most popular salad and healthy food franchises, Chicken Salad Chick has expanded aggressively since it started franchising in 2012 and now counts over 220 restaurants in 17 states. Beyond the yet untapped healthy food restaurant franchise market, there’s another reason why Chicken Salad Chick is so popular: its payback period.

Indeed, whilst it would cost you on average $651,000 to open a new Chicken Salad Chick restaurant, each restaurant generates on average $1.2 million in turnover per year. With a 15% net profit margin, no wonder Chicken Salad Chick is such a great investment.

How much profits can you make with a Chicken Salad Chick franchise? How much does it really cost? Should you invest in a Chicken Salad Chick franchise? We’ll answer all these questions in this article. Let’s find out!

Chicken Salad Chick franchises: key figures

Franchise fee$50,000
Royalty fee5.0%
Marketing fee2.5%
Investment (mid-point)$651,000
Average sales$1,202,000
Sales to investment ratio1.8x
Payback period*4 years
Minimum net worth$750,000
Minimum liquid capital$250,000
* using 15% net profit margin
Chicken Salad Chick business plan template

Download the Chicken Salad Chick franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

📞 Free support

What is Chicken Salad Chick?

Chicken Salad Chick is an American chicken salad and casual fast-food restaurant headquartered in Auburn, Alabama.

It offers a variety of sandwiches, desserts, soups, cheese, sides, and chicken salads made with fresh, quality ingredients.

The chain was founded in 2008 by Stacy Brown. Later in 2012 Chicken Salad Chick started franchising and today has over 220 restaurants in 17 US states.

Chicken Salad Chick franchises pros and cons


  • Training and support: Chicken Salad Chick offers an extensive management and staff training program. It offers franchisees 30 hours of on-the-job training and 40 hours of classroom training to prepare them for a successful grand opening. Also, it trains them about the brand’s products and procedures to smoothly run their businesses.
  • Flexible franchise models: The franchisor has different franchise models for franchisees to choose from. It gives its franchisees the flexibility to start a franchise that best suits the available real estate opportunities in their locations
  • Site selection and construction: Chicken Salad Chick provides its franchisees with valuable real estate support. It helps them identify a convenient business location considering vehicle traffic and growth parameters such as population. It also provides them with restaurant designs, construction, and lease negotiation support.
  • Effective marketing: Chicken Salad Chick utilizes local and national marketing teams to support franchisees in attracting a strong customer base and creating loyalty
  • Simple model operations: The brand’s business concept eliminates the need for vents and fryers. It is simple and cheap for franchisees to start and run a successful Chicken Salad Chick restaurant. Franchisees can offer efficient and quality customer service.
  • Exclusive territory protection: The franchisor grants its franchisees the right to operate their businesses in a designated area. Franchisees can scale and grow their businesses in a controlled development market.


  • No financing: Chicken Salad Chick does not offer its franchisees direct or indirect financing for development or ongoing costs. Also, it does not guarantee any note, lease, or grant to any franchisee.
  • Not a passive investment: The franchisor does not allow for absentee ownership. Franchisees must be fully involved in the day-to-day operations of their restaurants.
  • Not a part-time business: The franchise can’t be run from home or a mobile unit. Franchisees must have office facilities near the location of their businesses.

How much do you need to invest to own a Chicken Salad Chick franchise?

On average, you may need to invest around $651,000 to open a Chicken Salad Chick restaurant.

The investment amount mentioned above is an average; indeed, the amount can vary depending on factors like location, restaurant size, etc. To illustrate, for example rent differs in different areas, and so has an impact on the lease deposit and other related costs. According to the latest FDD, the required investment you must par for can be as low as $562,000 and as high as $740,000.

What are you paying for?

The initial investment covers all the startup costs needed for opening a restaurant’s operation.

In addition to the initial franchise fee of $50,000, you would also pay for:

  • Formation costs: leasehold improvements, décor package, branded merchandise, signage, computer equipment & software, furniture, fixtures, equipment, permits &licenses, security deposits, professional fees, etc.
  • Marketing costs: grand opening marketing fee 
  • Operating costs: inventory, insurance, utility deposits, first 3 months working capital, etc.
Cost breakdownLowHigh
Initial franchise fee$50,000$50,000
Formation costs$470,000$636,000
Marketing costs$10,000$10,000
Operating costs$32,000$44,000
Source: FDD 2020
Chicken Salad Chick business plan template

Download the Chicken Salad Chick franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

📞 Free support

What is the turnover of a Chicken Salad Chick franchise?

On average, a Chicken Salad Chick franchise makes $1,202,020 in sales per year.

Yet, note that this number is the annual median sales of 71 franchised restaurants operating in 2019 so before the impact of the pandemic. Indeed, there was a total of 102 franchised restaurants at the end of 2019 but only 71 were in operation for the entire year.

How profitable is a Chicken Salad Chick franchise?

We estimate that an average Chicken Salad Chick franchise makes $358,202 in profits per year. This represents a 30% profit margin (adjusted EBITDA margin.)

The 30% adjusted EBITDA margin is on the higher end compared to similar franchises as per our intelligence (~25-27% industry average). 

Although the COGS is higher than comparable franchises (34.2% sales vs. 25% industry average) profit margin is higher thanks to lower labor costs (22% vs. 29%), rent (6.5% vs. 8%), and royalty & marketing fees (7.5% vs. 10%).

Profit-and-lossAmount% sales
Royalty + marketing fees$(90,152)7.5%
Adjusted EBITDA$358,202~30%
Source: Franchise Disclosure Document 2020

Yet note that this adjusted EBITDA isn’t net profit. This means you can’t keep 30% of the total revenue in your pocket fo course. Indeed, you may need to deduct taxes, debt interest expenses, and other costs before you can pay yourself dividends as the franchisee or any investor.

Is a Chicken Salad Chick franchise a good investment?

So should you buy a Chicken Salad Chick franchise and open a new restaurant? Given you’d be investing on average $651,000, you would want to make sure your restaurant generates enough profits to not only cover the operating costs but also repay the startup costs.

As we saw earlier, a Chicken Salad Chick restaurant has an adjusted EBITDA margin of about 30% of sales, which is on the higher end vs. similar restaurant franchises. So we can reasonably assume net profits to be about 15% of sales instead. Indeed, net profits are the profits you can use as a shareholder to pay yourself dividends and / or repay a loan (like a SBA loan).

As per our analysis, it takes only 3.6 years for a Chicken Salad Chick franchise to repay the initial investment of $651,000 with its net profits. This is an excellent payback period, and therefore an excellent investment.

If you’re considering starting a new Chicken Salad Chick franchise, make sure to prepare a solid business plan with 5 year financial projections. Download our template below to obtain a pre-built financial model with all the metrics and reports investors and banks ask for (breakeven point, pro forma financial statements, return on investment, etc.).

Chicken Salad Chick business plan template

Download the Chicken Salad Chick franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

📞 Free support

How does it compare vs. other franchises?

FranchiseInvestment ($)Sales ($)Payback (years)Min. net worth ($)Min. liquid capital ($)
Dunkin' Donuts,0001,056,5211.44.9500,000250,000
Krispy Kreme,0003,400,0004.11.62,000,000300,000
Little Caesars,022,850798,1130.88.5350,000150,000
Steak 'n Shake, Milshakes815,6261,346,3321.74.01,500,000500,000
Crumbl Cookies,2241,582,0903.12.1300,000150,000
Taco Bell,4131,650,0003.61.91,500,000750,000
Smoothie King,108573,2690.88.0300,000100,000
Jersey Mike's,3231,220,5862.14.7300,000100,000
Nothing Bundt Cakes,6501,307,2802.42.7600,000150,000
Jimmy John's,650874,8451.73.9300,00080,000
Texas Roadhouse,209,5002,955,5340.79.5n.a.200,000
Kung Fu Tea tea250,125353,2371.44.7n.a.25,000
Burger King,242,9501,215,9701.06.81,500,000500,000
Sonic Drive-In,467,0831,617,0001.16.01,000,000500,000
Panera Bread,290,5002,599,4321.15.97,500,0003,000,000
Pizza Hut,575906,9111.06.9700,000350,000
Dairy Queen Cream1,404,2201,143,1800.88.2750,000400,000
Jack in the Box,195,8001,755,5030.812.51,000,000250,000
Papa John’s,6951,101,1273.12.1750,000250,000
Five Guys,2251,203,3662.42.8500,000250,000
Carl’s Jr.,860,3351,419,5160.88.71,000,000500,000
Baskin-Robbins Cream465,100316,8150.79.8250,000125,000
Applebee’s American5,137,9662,356,9650.514.51,000,000500,000
Denny's American3,785,4591,639,5490.415.41,000,000500,000
Papa Murphy's,174580,4411.35.0275,000125,000
Auntie Anne's,692343,1351.55.6300,000100,000
Firehouse Subs,186888,3561.44.6350,000100,000
Tropical Smoothie Cafe,500961,9692.23.0350,000125,000
Marco’s Pizza,625895,5232.03.3400,000100,000
Cold Stone Creamery Cream310,956417,5881.35.0250,000100,000
Church’s Chicken,195,1471,395,0881.25.71,000,000300,000
Moe’s Southwest Grill,3701,013,3611.35.21,000,000100,000
Tim Hortons,242,7501,188,2401.07.0500,000100,000
Checkers & Rally's,8471,039,7731.25.4750,000250,000
Charleys Philly Steaks,806786,2331.54.3500,000100,000
Buffalo Wild Wings,546,9002,534,1480.79.31,500,000750,000
Rita's Ice Cream215,839248,3401.25.8300,000100,000
A&W Restaurants,750851,2121.16.2350,000150,000
Hungry Howie’s Pizza,682806,8991.93.5750,000200,000
McAlister’s Deli,424,9631,865,8611.35.11,000,000500,000
Round Table Pizza,2501,037,8161.35.0500,000200,000
Qdoba Mexican Eats,250972,9621.54.5
Taco John’s,119,0001,124,9801.06.61,000,000400,000
Scooter’s Coffee,143,250797,1010.79.6500,000200,000
Einstein Bros. Bagels,075885,0111.25.71,000,000536,500
Great American Cookies,275452,7711.25.7250,000100,000
Wienerschnitzel dogs873,300880,9801.06.6600,000250,000
Blaze Pizza,4501,096,4321.37.9500,000300,000
Wetzel's Pretzels,571748,8572.03.4300,00050,000
Pizza Ranch,268,3001,174,0880.418.61,000,000297,000
Del Taco,406,8501,345,3411.07.02,000,000500,000
Schlotzsky’s, Salads1,102,9331,053,3330.322.21,000,000300,000
Captain D’s,7781,067,8160.419.01,000,000350,000
Biggby Coffee,575648,3520.320.0300,000100,000
Which Wich,375281,8860.322.2500,000150,000
Marble Slab Creamery Cream407,360251,0520.416.7250,000100,000
Mountain Mike's Pizza,900865,7130.320.0300,000100,000
Huddle House,743712,4280.513.3600,000300,000
L&L Hawaiian Barbecue,350612,9210.333.3500,000150,000
Chicken Salad Chick, Salads651,0001,202,0200.320.0750,000250,000
Golden Chick,975917,6092.52.62,000,000425,000
Waba Grill,000466,5361.06.51,000,000250,000
Bruster’s Ice Cream Cream663,925466,6960.79.5375,000150,000