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PJ’s Coffee: a Profitable Franchise for Only $332K

Despite the highly competitive coffee shop industry, PJ’s Coffee is one of the most profitable coffee shop franchise opportunity.

Indeed, in addition to an attractive cost of $332,450 (the investment you would need to fund as the franchisee), the payback period for a PJ’s Coffee is 5.2 years on average: it does seems like a great investment.

How much profits can you really make with a PJ’s Coffee franchise? Is this worth investing $332,450 upfront? In this article we’ll answer all these questions by looking at PJ’s Coffee from the angle of its Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD). Let’s dive in!

PJ’s Coffee franchises: key figures

Franchise fee$35,000
Royalty fee5.0%
Marketing fee3.0%
Investment (mid-point)$332,000
Average sales$424,000
Sales to investment ratio1.3x
Payback period*5 years
Minimum net worth$500,000
Minimum liquid capital$150,000
* using 15% net profit margin

🔎 How does PJ’s Coffee compare vs. other franchises? Check the ranking

What is PJ’s Coffee?

PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans is an American retail coffeehouse chain with more than 140 stores in the US. It serves premium coffee, freshly baked pastries, breakfast, snacks, and lunch items.

The chain was founded in 1978 in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans by Phyllis Jordan (hence the initials PJ). Its franchising journey began in 1989. Today the franchisor PJ’s Coffee is a subsidiary of Ballard Brands, headquartered in Mandeville, Louisiana.

Pros and cons of PJ’s Coffee franchises


  • Design and Construction: The brand provides its franchisees with an expert real estate team to guide them through efficient design and systematic construction processes. It offers franchisees the standard specifications, designs, and restaurant construction layouts, as well as the option of modifying the contractor-approved configurations to fit into the franchisee’s available real estate opportunities.
  • Marketing and promotions: PJ’s Coffee uses comprehensive, turn-key promotional campaigns to enhance its brand awareness and promote local store operations. Franchisees can use dedicated and efficient marketing strategies and tools to target a wide market area and drive customer traffic and sales.
  • Ongoing support and consultation: The franchisor provides its franchisee with ongoing consulting and online support so that they can keep a quality check on their performance. Franchisees get effective and timely communication, promotional campaigns, new and seasonal product rollouts, and new operational procedures from the parent company. 
  • Training: The brand has a simple and comprehensive multi-level online, classroom, and hands-on-the-job training program to help its franchisees quickly learn and understand its business concept. It trains its franchisee in restaurant operations, training and hiring qualified staff, and handling customers.


  • No exclusive territory protection: The brand does not offer its franchisees an exclusive territory to operate in. Franchisees may face competition from franchisees granted by the parent company or from competitive channels or brands it controls.
  • No financing: PJ’s Coffee does not provide direct or indirect financing to its franchisees. Also, it does not guarantee any lease, note, or grant to its franchisees.
  • Not a passive investment. The franchise does not allow absentee ownership. Franchisees are required to be fully involved in the stores’ daily operations.
  • Competition: like any other coffee franchise out there, PJ’s Coffee must face stiff competition from the likes of Starbucks, Tim Hortons, Biggby Coffee and Scooter’s Coffee to name a few

How much does a PJ’s Coffee franchise cost?

On average, you may need to invest around $332,450 to open a PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchise.

The investment amount is an average, indeed it depends on the type of restaurant you choose:

  • Traditional: $200,775 – $584,000
  • Non-traditional: $190,775 – $393,000
  • Traditional (Special Contract): $175,775 – $564,000
  • Non-traditional (Special Contract): $173,275 – $378,000

What are you paying for?

The investment amount includes an initial franchise fee, which can be $10,000 to $25,000, depending on the type of restaurant. In addition to the initial franchise fee, the investment covers all the startup costs you may need to start a restaurant business. It includes: 

  • Formation Costs: real estate lease, furniture, fixtures, equipment, training expenses, deposits, licenses and permits, signage, leasehold improvements, POS system, legal fees, accounting fees, construction drawings, etc.
  • Initial Marketing: opening advertising
  • Operating Costs: opening inventory, insurance, and working capital for first 3 months, etc.
Type of costLowHigh
Initial Franchise Fee$10,000$35,000
Formation Costs$118,775$490,000
Initial Marketing$5,000$10,000
Operating Costs$39,500$49,000
Source: FDD 2021

What’s the average turnover of a PJ’s Coffee restaurant?

A PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchise makes $423,511 in sales per year on average.

This represents the median annual turnover of 56 franchised restaurants operating in 2020. This sales number can vary depending on the type of restaurant you choose. For example, a traditional drive-thru restaurant generates 4x times more revenue than a non-traditional one.

If we talk about revenue growth, traditional drive-thru restaurants are doing well vs. non traditional restaurants. Whilst drive-thru has btter overcome the COVID pandemic, non-drive-thru and non-traditional restaurants have had more difficulty to reverse sales decline.

Traditional drive thruTraditional non drive thruNon traditional
Source: FDD 2021

How profitable is a PJ’s Coffee franchise?

On average, an PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans franchise makes $127,053 in profits per year. This represents an adjusted EBITDA margin of 30% of sales.

The 30% adjusted EBITDA margin is on the higher end compared to similar franchises as per our intelligence (~25-27% industry average). 

Note that PJ’s Coffee of New Orleans doesn’t provide any financial information on franchised restaurant’s costs. Indeed, we could not compute the exact figure. Rather, we used the industry average for COGS (25% sales), labor costs (29%), and rent costs (8%) to calculate this number.

Profit-and-lossAmount% of sales
Royalty + marketing fees$(33,881)8.0%
Adjusted EBITDA$127,053~30%
Source: FDD 2021

Is a PJ’s Coffee franchise a good investment?

At first glance, PJ’s Coffee does look like a great investment. Indeed, with an initial investment of $332,450 upfront yet median sales of $423,511 per year on average, its sales-to-investment ratio stands at 1.3x which is good (anything above 1 is considered a good sales-to-investment ratio).

But what about the payback period? As in the time it would take you to recoup your investment if you were to buy a PJ’s Coffee franchise (and/or take a loan) and pay for the initial required investment?

Indeed, sales are only part of the answer. Instead, it’s important to look at profits. That’s what we do when we look at the payback period.

Luckily, we found PJ’s Coffee has a payback period of just 5.2 years: this is a good number and therefore a good investment. Note that we consider than any number below 6 years is good for restaurant franchises.

In other words, you would need to wait 5 years to recoup your investment. Only then you can reap the profits.

Convinced? If you’re considering buying a PJ’s Coffee franchise, you’ll need to produce a solid business plan as part of your application. Download our template below to obtain your pre-built 5-year financial projections and many other reports investors and banks ask for (breakeven point, return on investment, etc.)

PJ’s Coffee franchise business plan template

Need a business plan for a PJ’s Coffee franchise?

Download our 5-year financial model built with the latest Franchise Disclosure Document

Rated 4.6/5 from 5,900+ downloads

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