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Famous Dave’s Franchise Sales, Costs & Profits (2023)

One of the most popular BBQ franchise, Famous Dave’s is also a very profitable business for entrepreneurs who decide to go ahead and invest in a new restaurant location.

Indeed, one Famous Dave’s restaurant makes on average $2.7 million in turnover per year, that’s almost twice as much as the average franchised restaurant in the US!

Yet Famous Dave’s isn’t the most affordable franchise either: as the franchisee you would need to raise a lot of money from banks and investors to invest a total of $1.4 million on average.

Should you open a new Famous Dave’s franchised restaurant? How much profits can you really make with this business? In this article we’ll look at Famous Dave’s from the perspective of its latest Franchise Disclosure Document to find out. Let’s dive in!

Famous Dave’s franchises: key figures

Franchise fee$45,000
Royalty fee5.0%
Marketing fee2.5%
Investment (mid-point)$1,337,000
Average sales$2,743,000
Sales to investment ratio2.1x
Payback period*3 years
Minimum net worth$1,000,000
Minimum liquid capital$500,000
* using 15% net profit margin
Famous Dave’s business plan template

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📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

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What is Famous Dave’s?

Famous Dave’s is an American chain of barbecue restaurants based in Minnetonka, Minnesota.

The chain was founded by Dave Anderson in 1994 in Hayward, Wisconsin.

Famous Dave’s offers pork ribs, chicken, beef brisket, burgers, salads, soups, desserts, and several flavors of barbecue.

Its franchising journey began in 1998 and currently has over 100 locations in 32 states in the US and around the world.

Famous Dave’s franchises pros and cons


  • Comprehensive training: The brand offers its franchisees quality training to master the business concept, restaurant operation, and successful grand opening. Its initial training is offered by certified locations approved by the franchisor and consists of 75 classroom hours and 280 on-site hours.
  • Real estate and construction: The franchisor provides its franchisees with expert real estate support in building their restaurants. It helps them with site selection, lease negotiations, and a construction director who acts as a seamless bridge between the real estate and construction phases.
  • Ongoing operational support: The brand supports its franchisees in all their development stages after launching their restaurants. It offers them frequent visits by field operational managers, professional consultations, comprehensive digital and marketing solutions, and robust third-party analytics reporting.
  • Multiple income streams: A Famous Dave’s franchise provides its franchisees with additional income streams. These include dine-in and takeout, third-party deliveries, and catering. Franchisees have multiple ways to offer great customer service and stand out from the competition.
  • Third-party financing: The brand refers qualified franchisees to third-party financing sources for the franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, and inventory.
  • Marketing support: Famous Dave’s has a dedicated in-house marketing team to help its franchisees create local store awareness and build customer loyalty. It offers its franchisees targeted promotional tools and advertising resources such as national media, regional advertising, social media, website development, email marketing, and loyalty programs.
  • Flexible franchise models: The brand provides its franchisee with multiple franchise options to choose from. These include full-service, ghost, or cloud kitchen models and three scalable QSR business models: flex service, line service, and counter service. Franchisees can offer their guests an excellent dining experience and succeed in any market location.


  • No exclusive territory protection: The brand does not grant its franchisees an exclusive development market. Franchisees may face competition from franchises granted by the franchisor or from competitive channels and brands it controls.
  • No absentee ownership: The franchise is not a passive business opportunity. Franchisees must be actively involved in the operations of their restaurants.
  • Not a part-time business: The brand requires its franchisees to operate as per the parent brand’s operating hours.
  • Not a home-based business: The franchise cannot be run from home or a mobile unit. Franchisees need fixed office facilities within the restaurants

How much does a Famous Dave’s franchise cost?

On average, you may need to invest around $741,583 to open a Famous Dave’s restaurant.

As the investment amount is an average, it can vary depending on the type of restaurant you choose. Indeed, Famous Dave’s offers 4 types of restaurants as franchisees:

  • Cloud Kitchen ($80,500-$585,000)
  • Line Service ($461,750-$1,060,750)
  • Counter Service ($735,750-$1,525,750)
  • Full Service ($1,316,250-$2,920,750)

To give you an idea, you would need to invest 7 times as much for a full service restaurant vs. a cloud kitchen:

What are you paying for?

This amount covers all the startup costs you may need to start a Famous Dave’s franchise.

In addition to the franchise fee ($10,00-$45,000), the initial investment covers: 

  • Formation Costs: liquor licenses, deposits, point-of-sale system, engineering fees, training expenses, leasehold improvements, construction, etc.
  • Initial Marketing:  Grand opening celebration
  • Operating Costs: initial inventory and supplies, insurance, utilities, lease payment, employees salary for 3 months, working capital for first 3 months, etc.
Type of costLowHigh
Initial Franchise Fee$10,000$45,000
Formation Costs$60,500$2,720,750
Initial Marketing$5,000$25,000
Operating Costs$5,000$130,000
Source: Franchise Disclosure Document 2022
Famous Dave’s business plan template

Download the Famous Dave’s franchise business plan

📗 Updated with Franchise Disclosure Document

📊 5-year pro forma financial model

📞 Free support

What is the turnover of a Famous Dave’s franchise?

On average, a Famous Dave’s franchise makes $2,743,183 in sales per year.

This is the annual turnover of all the franchised restaurants operating in 2021, line, counter and full service restaurants. Therefore, it excludes cloud kitchen restaurants that earn significantly less revenue ($191,000 to $672,000 per year on average).

Yearly sales can vary depending on many factors like restaurant type, age, market competition, etc. Logically, older restaurants tend to generate more revenue than newer restaurants as they gain organic growth through word-of-mouth, recommendations, reviews, etc.

How profitable is a Famous Dave’s franchise?

We estimate that an average Famous Dave’s franchise makes $713,228 in profits per year. This represents an adjusted EBITDA margin of 26% of sales.

The 26% adjusted EBITDA margin is in line compared to similar franchises as per our intelligence (~25-27% industry average). 

Note that to calculate this number we had to use the company-owned restaurant data for COGS (30% sales) and labor costs (28.5%). Indeed, unfortunately, Famous Dave’s doesn’t provide any financial information on franchised restaurants regarding costs.

Profit and lossAmount% of sales
Royalty + marketing fees$(205,739)7.5%
Adjusted EBITDA$713,228~26%
* industry average

Is a Famous Dave’s franchise a good investment?

The good news is that Famous Dave’s is a very profitable investment: the payback period of a Famous Dave’s franchise is only 3.2 years.

In other words, if you were to invest the $1.4 million (on average) to open a new Famous Dave’s location, you would reimburse your investment within 3.2 years on average.

Think about it, you would need to wait only 3 years for your donut shop profits to reimburse creditors (banks), investors and yourself. After that, you can reap the profits!

Famous Dave’s business plan template

Download the Famous Dave’s 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