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How Profitable is a Freddy’s Franchise? Costs & Profits (2023)

With 420 restaurants across the US, Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is another popular steakburgers franchise among franchisees and for a good reason too: it takes on average 5.4 years for you to repay your investment if you were to buy a Freddy’s franchise.

It does sound like a profitable investment. In this article we’re looking a little deeper into Freddy’s franchised-owned restaurants from the point of view of its Franchise Disclosure Document.

Especially we’ll see how much turnover you can expect to generate with a Freddy’s restaurant, how much the franchise really costs, and whether you should buy it. Let’s dive in!

Key stats

Franchise fee$30,000
Royalty fee4.5%
Marketing fee2.5%
Investment (mid-point)$1,537,000
Average sales$1,758,000
Sales to investment ratio1.1x
Payback period*6 years
Minimum net worth$1,000,000
Minimum liquid capital$400,000
* using 15% net profit margin
Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchise business plan template

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Franchise Business Plan

All the stats: startup costs, profits, breakeven, etc.

5-year financial projections built with the FDD

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

What is Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers?

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a leading fast-casual restaurant chain headquartered in Wichita, Kansas. 

Launched in 2002 by Scott Redler and two entrepreneurial brothers, Billy and Ray Simon, this restaurant chain is famed for its tasty steakburgers, frozen custards, French fries, milkshakes, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, and soft drinks. 

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers began franchising in 2004 in Hutchinson, Kansas. 

As of 2023, Freddy’s Frozen Custard had 420 units in the US of which 391 franchised-owned.

Freddy’s franchises pros and cons


  • Training and support: franchisees get trained on the basics of in-restaurant management. Everything happens Freddy’s way from food prep to site delivery and inventory control. This includes 348 hours of on-the-job training and 67 hours of classroom training. After this, you become part of a reputable team committed to delivering quality. 
  • Ongoing support: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers provides ongoing support to help franchisees master crucial business details. The package includes meetings and conventions, online support, field operations, security and safety procedures, and site selection. 
  • Marketing support: franchisees may take advantage of the restaurant chain’s strong brand and valuable marketing and promotional tools to optimize customer growth. The supported marketing tools include regional advertising, SEO, ad templates, email marketing, website development, social media, and national media. 
  • Exclusive territories: as part of the Franchise Agreement, franchisees get exclusive rights to run their businesses at the designated locations. This gives restaurant owners a competitive advantage and an opportunity to build a thriving business.


  • No absentee ownership: franchisees must be involved in critical business operations because this restaurant chain doesn’t allow absentee ownership. 
  • No part-time commitment: restaurant owners will be required to commit to day-to-day operations as Freddy’s franchise isn’t a part-time business.
  • 30 employees required to run the franchise: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers requires a minimum of 30 employees to run a new restaurant
  • Franchises can’t be run from home or as a mobile unit: an office space or retail facility is mandatory to run the franchise. 
  • Competition: the franchisor faces serious competition from other established brands like Burger King, Jack in the Box, and Smashburger

How much does a Freddy’s franchise cost?

You need to invest around $1,537,000 to open a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers restaurant, on average.

As this number is an average, it may change depending on various factors like location, the format of the restaurant, its size, etc. To give you an idea, a restaurant with drive-thru is 1.8x times more expensive than a non-drive-thru restaurant.

According to the latest Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), the investment ranges as follows:

  • Without drive-thru: $794,254 – $1,439,105
  • End cap with drive-thru: $1,032,968 – $2,292,291
  • Standalone with drive-thru: $1,142,828 – $2,523,239

What does this investment pay for? From formation costs to the first 3 months of working capital, the investment covers it all. Indeed, in addition to the initial franchise fee, the investment pays for leasehold improvements, signage, equipment, first months’ rent and the security deposit, insurance, grand opening fees, etc.

Here’s the cost breakdown between the main cost categories:

Type of ExpenditureLowHigh
Initial franchise fee$30,000$30,000
Formation costs$968,468$2,159,291
Marketing fees$2,500$5,000
Operating costs$32,000$97,000
Source: FDD 2023
Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchise business plan template

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Franchise Business Plan

All the stats: startup costs, profits, breakeven, etc.

5-year financial projections built with the FDD

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

What’s the turnover of a Freddy’s franchise?

On average, a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchise makes $1,758,000 in sales per year.

This sales number represents the annual median sales of 384 restaurants operating in 2022.

This sales number is an average. Indeed, it may change depending on the format of your restaurant, its menu, the location, customer demand, competition, etc. For example, a drive-thru restaurant generates ~60% more revenue than a non-drive-thru restaurant. 

Type of restaurantNumber of restaurantsMedian sales
In-line without drive-thru4$1,252,349
End cap with drive-thru32$1,660,042
Standalone with drive-thru348$1,772,062
Source: 2023 Franchise Disclosure Document

How profitable is a Freddy’s franchise?

On average, a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchise makes $382,305 in profits per year. This represents a 21% adjusted EBITDA margin

The 21% adjusted EBITDA margin is on the lower end compared to similar franchises as per our intelligence (~25-27% industry average). This is due to high prime costs (~64%) i.e COGS and labor costs vs. industry average.

Note that we used COGS, labor, and rent costs from company-owned restaurants’ data as Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers doesn’t provide any cost information for franchised-owned restaurants in its FDD.

Profit-and-lossAmount ($)As % of sales
Royalty + marketing fees$(125,505)7.0%
Adjusted EBITDA$382,305~21%
Source: 2022 Franchise Disclosure Document

You should note that this adjusted EBITDA does not represent net income. Instead, you would need to also deduct taxes, debt interest expenses and other non-operating costs to get to net income.

Is a Freddy’s franchise a good investment?

If we compare the upfront cost of $1,453,040 to the expected annual net profit, we obtain what we call the payback period.

In other words, we calculate how many years it would take you as a franchisee to repay your initial investment.

For Freddy’s, we found that the payback period is 5.4 years, which is a good, and as such a good investment. Indeed, anything around 4-5 years is good, and below 4 years is excellent.

Think about it: you would need to wait only 5 years to repay your investment, whether from your own funds or from the bank. Only then you would be able to make profits.

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers franchise business plan template

Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Franchise Business Plan

All the stats: startup costs, profits, breakeven, etc.

5-year financial projections built with the FDD

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

Excellent 4.8/5 based on 70 reviews

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

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