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Great American Cookies Franchises: Sales, Costs & Profits (2023)

One of the most popular cookie franchise alongside Crumbl Cookies or even the giant donut chains like Dunkin’ or Krispy Kreme, Great American Cookies has grown over the years and has over 300 stores in the US today.

It’s also a profitable business: you would need to invest $385,275 to buy the franchise yet you would make on average $452,771 in sales per year.

What does it mean when it comes to profits? How much profits can you really make with a Great American Cookies franchise? Is this worth investing the initial $385,275?

In this article we’ll answer all these questions by looking at Great American Cookies’ latest Franchise Disclosure Documents. Let’s dive in!

Key stats

Franchise fee$25,000
Royalty fee6.0%
Marketing fee4.0%
Investment (mid-point)$297,000
Average sales$453,000
Sales to investment ratio1.2x
Payback period*6 years
Minimum net worth$250,000
Minimum liquid capital$100,000
* using 15% net profit margin
Great American Cookies business plan

Great American Cookies 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 Great American Cookies?

Great American Cookies is an American chain of independently owned franchise stores that specialize in gourmet cookies and cookie cakes.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the chain was founded in 1977 by Michael J. Coles and Arthur Karp.

It offers freshly baked cookies, cookie cakes, double doozies, and brownies.

The brand began franchising in 1978, and now it has over 300 bakeries in the US.

It is owned by FAT Brands along with Round Table Pizza, Hot Dog on a Stick, Marble Slab Creamery, and Pretzel Maker.

Great American Cookies franchises pros and cons


  • Training and support: The brand has an extensive training program to help new franchisees learn how to establish and run a successful bakery. It trains them how to make their signature cookies, handle inventory, serve customers, operate the bakery, and manage the staff. The program comprises 32 hours of on-the-job and 6 hours of classroom training.
  • Real estate and construction: Great American Cookies offers franchisees expert advice on how to identify a viable business location and guidance on how to construct, design, and brand their bakeries. In addition, the real estate team helps franchisees with lease agreements and negotiations.
  • Operations and management support: The franchisor helps the franchisees during their grand opening to ensure that they have all the resources required to succeed in the business. Additionally, they offer them ongoing support, including security and safety procedures, meetings and conventions, inventory acquisitions, field operations, and research and development.
  • Exclusive territory: The brand offers franchisees exclusive territory protection to operate their bakeries, which gives them the potential to grow and expand. As long as the agreement is in place, the brand does not grant any other franchisees or operate any competing channel in the protected area.
  • Unique menu: The brand started with a generational family recipe and continues to experiment and create new products unique to its customers. It now offers customers quality and various customized cookie cakes that cater to everyone’s taste


  • No absentee ownership: The Great American Cookie franchise is not a passive investment opportunity. It requires franchisees to fully take part in the decision-making and operations of their bakeries.
  • Not a part-time business: The franchise is also not a part-time opportunity. Franchisees must be open full-time as per the franchisor’s set operating hours.
  • Not a mobile unit: The bakery can’t be run from home or a mobile facility. Franchisees must have an office facility in or near the bakery.
  • No financing: The brand does not directly or indirectly finance franchisees for trade fixtures or ongoing costs. 

Great American Cookies franchises: investment costs

You would have to invest on average $297,000 to open a new Great American Cookies franchise restaurant. 

Note that this is the investment required to open a “Traditional store”. ​​Indeed, the vast majority of restaurants are Traditional store (214 out of the 377 total franchised-owned restaurants).

To clarify, there are 2 main kinds of formats of restaurants you can choose: the traditional store and the GAC – MSC Co-brand store which is a combination of a Great American Cookies (GAC) and a Marble Slab Creamery (MSC) store.

Note that you can also choose to open a Satellite store though which would require to invest less ($95,250 to $193,144) yet would generate less turnover.

Here’s the full breakdown of costs both for the traditional and co-brand restaurant formats:

Traditional store

Type of ExpenditureAmount
Franchise fee$25,000
Furniture, fixtures and equipment$115,000 – $185,000
Leasehold improvements$115,000 – $165,000
Professional fees$1,000 – $6,000
Additional Funds 3 Months$8,000 – $12,000
Other$37,400 – $76,150
Total$301,400 – $469,150
Source: 2022 Franchise Disclosure Document


Type of ExpenditureAmount
Franchise fee$35,000
Furniture, fixtures and equipment$115,000 – $205,000
Leasehold improvements$145,000 – $182,000
Professional fees$2,000 – $6,000
Additional Funds 3 Months$5,000 – $10,000
Other$87,085 – $75,135
Total$389,085 – $513,135
Source: 2022 Franchise Disclosure Document
Great American Cookies business plan

Great American Cookies 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 the average turnover for a Great American Cookies franchise?

On average, a Great American Cookies franchise makes $439,000 in sales per year

This number is the weighted average median annual sales of traditional restaurants ($452,771, 214 units) and co-brand restaurants ($410,687, 102 units).

Points scored

How profitable are Great American Cookies franchises?

On average, a Great American Cookies franchise makes $111,025 profits per year. This corresponds to a 25% adjusted EBITDA margin. 

Note that we have considered here the average profit margin of the traditional store only.

We calculated this number using the information available in the Franchise Disclosure Document 2021. Fortunately, Great American Cookies provides detailed information on the cost structure and profit margins of its franchised-owned stores.

Profit and lossAmount ($)% sales
Royalty + marketing fees($45,277)10.0%
Adjusted EBITDA$111,02525.0%
Source: 2022 Franchise Disclosure Document

Is a Great American Cookies franchise a good investment?

So should you invest in a Great American Cookies franchise? Is this worth the profits?

To answer this questions we must look at the payback period: the time it would take you to repay your investment (the $385,275 in this case).

We calculated that the payback period for a Great American Cookies franchise is 5.7 years on average, which is good. Indeed, you would need to wait only 6 years for your investment to pay off, after which you can reap the profits.

Of course, this is an average we estimated based on the performance of the stores disclosed in the latest Franchise Disclosure Document. So your restaurant may turn out to be less or more profitable than the average.

Preparing a business plan for a Great American Cookies franchise? Download our business plan template below and access your pre-built 5-year financial projections, break even point, return on investment and more.

Great American Cookies business plan

Great American Cookies 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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