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Cousins Subs Franchise Costs $445K – $955K (+ 2024 Profits)

Cousins Subs is a well-known fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in submarine sandwiches. Established in 1972 by Bill Specht and his cousin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the franchise began expanding in 1979.

Known for its Midwest roots, Cousins Subs emphasizes quality with locally sourced ingredients and bread baked fresh daily, setting it apart from many competitors who may not prioritize local sourcing to the same extent.

The headquarters of Cousins Subs is located in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. The franchise offers a variety of submarine sandwiches that are 25% larger than typical subs found in other chains, appealing to customers looking for better value and more substantial meal options.

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Initial investment

Type of ExpenditureAmount
Initial Franchise Fee$25,000
Leasehold Improvements$205,000 to $600,000
Equipment and Small Wares$135,000 to $190,000
Seating Package / Millwork$30,000 to $75,000
Initial Inventory and Supplies$6,000 to $18,000
Point of Sale System / Technology$10,000 to $30,000
Architectural Fees$9,000 to $52,000
Rent$3,000 to $15,000
Lease and Utility Security Deposits$0 to $15,000
Insurance$700 to $1,500
Training$2,500 to $15,000
Store Marketing Fee$10,000
Lease Addendum Review Fee$0 to $5,000
Signage$8,500 to $63,000
Additional Funds – 3 months$20,000 to $50,000
TOTAL$465,000 to $1,165,000

Note: The table above provides a snapshot of the main costs associated with starting the most common franchise format (as disclosed in the Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document). For a complete overview of all the expenses involved with the various formats offered by the franchisor, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.

Franchise fees & Royalties

Initial Franchise Fee

The initial franchise fee is $25,000.00, which is fully earned by the franchisor upon execution of the agreement and is nonrefundable.

Royalty Fee

The royalty fee for Cousins Subs is 6% of gross receipts. This Continuing Service Fee is payable weekly based on the gross receipts for the preceding week (Sunday through Saturday), unless specified otherwise in the operations manual.

Marketing/Advertising Fee

The “Store Marketing Fee” is $10,000, which must be spent within one year of the shop opening.

Technology Fee

Franchisees are required to contribute between $300 to $800 per month to the Technology Fund, which includes an 8% hardware maintenance fee and costs for third-party service licenses.

Lease or Rent Fee

Monthly lease or rent fees range from $3,000 to $15,000, with costs determined by the lease agreement specifics.

Transfer Fees

The transfer fee for a franchise agreement is the greater of 20% of the current standard initial franchise fee or $5,000, payable at the time of transfer approval. No fee is charged for transfers among owners of the franchisee or their immediate family members.

Renewal Fees

The renewal fee is 50% of the then-current standard initial franchise fee, payable upon signing the renewal franchise agreement.

a financial plan for a franchise
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a financial plan for a franchise
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How to open a Cousins Subs franchise

1: Evaluate Franchise Opportunity

  • Research the Brand: Understand Cousins Subs’ business model, market presence, and growth potential.
  • Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD): Request and review the FDD to understand the legal and financial obligations.

2: Financial Assessment

  • Initial Investment: Assess the financial requirements which may include franchise fees, start-up costs, and operating capital.
  • Funding Options: Explore financing options such as loans, savings, or third-party financing.

3: Application Process

  • Submit an Inquiry: Contact Cousins Subs to express interest and receive more detailed franchise information.
  • Formal Application: Complete the formal application process, which will include providing your financial details and business background.

4: Interview and Approval

  • Franchisor Interview: Participate in interviews or meetings to discuss your application and compatibility with the franchise.
  • Approval: Once approved, you will proceed to sign the franchise agreement.

5: Training and Development

  • Training Programs: Attend required training programs that cover operations, management, customer service, and other critical areas.
  • Site Selection: Collaborate with the franchisor to choose an appropriate location based on market research and demographics.


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