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Duck Donuts Franchises: Sales, Costs & Profits (2023)

Founded in 2006, Duck Donuts only started franchising its donut shops in 2013. Ten years later, the chain now has more than 100 shops in the US. Besides its simple and efficient business model, Duck Donuts is also very popular among franchisees.

Indeed, Duck Donuts is a rather affordable franchise: you would need to invest (only) $446,000 on average to open a new location.

The downside though is that Duck Donuts isn’t the most profitable franchise: it has a 7 years payback period (as in, the time to recoup your investment).

So should you invest in a Duck Donuts franchise? How much profits can you really make with this business? Let’s find out!

Duck Donuts franchises: key figures

Franchise fee$40,000
Royalty fee5.0%
Marketing fee3.0%
Investment (mid-point)$446,000
Average sales$427,000
Sales to investment ratio1.0x
Payback period*7 years
Minimum net worth$350,000
Minimum liquid capital$150,000
* using 15% net profit margin
duck donuts franchise business plan

Download the Dunkin Donuts franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

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What is Duck Donuts?

Duck Donuts is an American quick-serve chain of doughnut shops headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

The chain was founded in 2006 by Russ DiGilio and Robin Griffith in Duck, North Carolina.

It serves customizable, made-to-order doughnuts, other baked goods, sandwiches, coffee, desserts, and beverages.

Duck Donuts started franchising in 2013 and now has more than 100 restaurants in the US.

Duck Donuts franchises pros and cons


  • Quality training: Duck Donuts has an extensive training program for the pre-opening, grand opening, and ongoing success of its franchisees. It trains franchise owners about its products and procedures, customer services, restaurant operations, hiring qualified staff, and growth strategies.
  • Real estate support: The franchisor provides its franchisees with real estate experts and site selection advice. It helps franchisees identify the most convenient business location, and design and construct the restaurants as per the brand’s standard specifications. It also helps them with lease negotiations.
  • Absentee ownership allowed: The brand allows for a passive investment opportunity. Franchise owners are not required to be fully involved in the daily restaurant operations.
  • Flexible franchise models: Duck Donuts offers its franchisees a variety of franchise formats that are flexible and can fit into the available real estate opportunities. Franchisees can choose to operate multi-unit development options, multiple store layout designs to fit different scenarios, non-traditional locations and food trucks, or catering and events to boost their sales.


  • Competition: The brand faces a lot of competition from donut brands such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme
  • No financing: The franchisor does not directly or indirectly finance its franchisees for start-up or development costs.

How much do Duck Donuts franchises cost?

You have to invest around $446,306 to open a Duck Donuts franchised restaurant.

Yet, this is an average. Indeed, it varies based on many factors, such as the location of your restaurant and its size.

In addition to the initial franchise fee of $40,000, which you must pay to the franchisor, you would also pay for construction improvements, equipment, professional fees, signage, insurance, etc.

Here’s the full breakdown of costs:

Initial franchise fees$40,000
Construction improvements$173,416-$294,491
Additional funds -3 months$20,000
Source: 2021 Franchise Disclosure Document
duck donuts franchise business plan

Download the Dunkin Donuts franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

📞 Free support

What’s the turnover of a Duck Donuts restaurant?

On average, a Duck Donuts franchised restaurant grossed $427,271 turnover in 2020.

Unfortunately, Duck Donuts doesn’t provide much information about its franchise restaurants’ financial performance in its Franchise Disclosure Document. Instead, we obtained this number by dividing the total revenue of all the franchises ($41 million) by the number of franchise-owned restaurants (98 as of 2020).

How profitable is a Duck Donuts franchise?

On average, a Duck Donuts franchise makes $119,636 in profits per year. This corresponds to a 28% adjusted EBITDA margin.

Duck Donuts is a profitable franchise: indeed, we found that the 28% profit margin is higher than the average for similar restaurant franchises (25-27%).

We calculated this number using the information available in the Franchise Disclosure Document 2021. Unfortunately, Duck Donuts has not provided detailed information on the cost of goods sold (COGS), rental costs, and labour costs. Therefore, we used industry benchmarks instead (see below).

Profit and lossAmount% of sales
Royalty + marketing fees($34,182)8.0%
Adjusted EBITDA$119,636~28.0%
* industry average
Source: Franchise Disclosure Document (2021)

Is opening a Duck Donuts franchise a good investment?

We found that Duck Donuts has a payback period of 7 years on average. This means that you would need to use 7 years’ worth of profits to repay creditors (banks) and investors before you can finally reap the profits of your investment.

To estimate this number we used a 15% net profit margin, in line with the 28% adjusted EBITDA margin calculated earlier.

Whilst Duck Donut isn’t the most profitable franchise, it’s not a bad investment either. Whilst the most profitable franchises have payback periods under 4 years, a payback period of 7 years is average for restaurant franchises in the US.

In addition, you should also consider other factors than profits when making a decision when it comes to franchises: the franchisor’s support, brand name, territory protection and more.

duck donuts franchise business plan

Download the Dunkin Donuts 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