Cheapest Food Franchise Options For Food And Beverage Entrepreneurs


Starting your own business is tough. Many entrepreneurs opt to open a franchise to gain instant brand name recognition and a customer base. Food franchises are popular, but many are expensive. McDonald’s and KFC franchises can cost well over $1 million to start. Here are the five cheapest well-known food franchise opportunities for potential business owners.


Subway is all around one of the cheapest food franchise opportunities available. The franchisee fee is only $15,000. In addition, potential owners must have $30,000 in liquid assets. The initial investment required is between $116,000 to $263,000 in the United States. Keep in mind, the more money invested in improving the business, the more likely it is to be profitable. Subway franchisees must pay 12.5% of gross sales, minus sales tax, every week towards royalties and advertising. If you are looking for food business opportunities with a low initial investment, Subway is your cheapest option.


One of two baked good entries on this list, Cinnabon has a low initial investment cost. The franchisee fee for a standard Cinnabon franchise is $30,000. A Cinnabon Express Bakery franchisee fee is only $7,500. That is the cheapest in this post. Cash liquidity of $120,000 is required and a net worth of $400,000. Cinnabon is a good food franchise opportunity for those looking for a small franchisee fee. However, make sure your net worth is high enough for this company.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels

The franchisee fee for Auntie Anne’s Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels is $30,000, the same as Cinnabon. The initial investment is a little higher at around $200,000, with a recommended amount of $300,000 to improve the business. Auntie Anne’s requires a 7% royalty fee on gross sales per month. If you are looking for food franchise opportunities in the baked goods industry, sending money to Auntie Anne’s franchise could be an option for you.

Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut has the second lowest franchisee fee at only $25,000. However, potential owners must have $350,000 in liquid assets to start a Pizza Hut franchise. An initial investment of at least $200,000 is required. Pizza Hut recommends owners spend up to $2 million in improving the business. There is also a required 6% royalty fee. Pizza Hut has a relatively low initial investment fee compared to a top food franchise opportunity like McDonald’s. However, the costs skyrocket from there. Pizza Hut is a strong contender if you do not mind spending a bit more money.

Philly Pretzel Factory

Philly Pretzel Factory is another pretzel shop franchise that offers a low-cost food franchise option, so you do not have to worry about searching for home equity loans just to own a business. There are only around 135 franchises owned across the country. However, this provides an excellent market opening for entrepreneurs like yourself to take advantage of. The total startup costs clock in at under $160,000, making this a cheaper option than the competitor, Auntie Anne’s. Costs can reach as high as $355,000, but this is still fairly low-cost. If you want a cheaper pretzel franchise solution, consider Philly Pretzel Factoring franchises.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts has seen a lot of growth in the last decade. Franchisee fees start at $40,000. They can however, reach as high as $90,000 depending on your area. $125,000 in liquid capital is required of potential owners. The minimum net worth required is double that at $250,000. Dunkin’ Donuts has positioned itself as the low cost alternative to high-end coffee shops such as Starbucks franchise. The company continues to grow its menu offerings, as well. If you like coffee and donuts, Dunkin’ Donuts is one of the cheaper food franchise opportunities.

Jimmy John’s

Jimmy John’s has a relatively low number of franchises but recently jumped to the #1 spot on the Franchise 500 list. Potential owners need $80,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of at least $300,00 to open a Jimmy John’s sandwich shop. The franchisee fee is relatively low at $35,000. If you decide to open more stores the fee drops down to $30,000. If you are interested in a growing sandwich shop, Jimmy John’s is one of the few food franchise opportunities in this area.

There are many food franchise opportunities available to potential business owners that do not require them to participate in medical testing for money just to invest in a business. Costs vary greatly, and can reach as high as $1 to $2 million for some of the largest names in the industry. If you are looking to open a well-known franchise in the food industry, be sure to check out the food franchise opportunities detailed in this post.

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