12 most lucrative fast-food franchises

If you want to own the stocks, the big names don't change much. If you want to invest in a franchise, though, some small chains rival the big dogs.

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Oct 6, 2013 8:14PM
how about some bottom line numbers rather than top line.  I don't care if you make $10 million dollars in revenue if your expenses total $11 million.

Oct 4, 2013 8:34PM
In N Out is not a franchise. It is a family owned business.
Oct 10, 2013 2:19PM

No surprise Chick Fil A is at the top of he list in "per unit sales"...they have capitalized on the simplest formula in business--


1.  Have a product people like... AND ...

2.  Provide great customer service everytime!


Its not "rocket science", but 95% of the businesses out there have no idea how to execute this simple formula.




Oct 7, 2013 11:29AM
These are single store sales.  We need to know the margins.  What good is having $2 million in sales when it cost $1.95 million to operate?
Oct 9, 2013 3:34PM

Clearly, Kencharlotte, you never worked for Chick-fil-A.  As an Owner/Operator of two locations I can tell you that you NEVER "buy in".  Chick-fil-A always owns the building, however, each Operator owns his own store under his own Tax I.D. number.  We receive no benefits from the Corporate and have no taxes taken out of our check by corporate.   I did not work my way up,  I bought my franchise after being a Personel Director for a Textile Plant.  The Operator selection process is very rigorous and it is very hard (not impossible) to work your way up.  The criteria is very strict and the competition for the stores that are built is very tough.  Having said that, I love what I do and I love serving our customers, our community and my team members.  I wouldn't do Quick Service any other way.

Oct 7, 2013 3:26PM
What am I missing?  On the one hand, you say Chick Fil A is the only franchise to top $3M per store or even get close to that.  In the link about their politics, the article goes on and on about their inept business tactics.  Something doesn't jive .
Oct 9, 2013 1:18PM
amazing the amount of money chick-fil-a makes compared to say mcdonalds and has far less stores. they have a good thing going, a money maker.
Oct 7, 2013 11:55AM
Wow,, a business run by one of those mean, hateful, unfair, rich conservatives,,,, They even close on Sundays for religious reasons !!   Imagine that,,,,   !    How could anyone with crazy ideas like this be the top fast food money maker  ?,,,,,,,, Well at least be thankful we didn't elect that crazy nut Romney,, who wanted to balance the budget and do away with Obamacare.... what a crazy idea that was  !!
Oct 9, 2013 1:26PM
The writers of this piece need to do just a little research so it almost looks like they know what they're talking about. In & Out Burger is not a franchise or a publicaly traded company. The entire company is owned by the grand daughter of the founder, who was a brilliant businessman and a devout Christian. If you look on the bottom of any I&O container from the cups to the fries and burger wrappers, there is a number for a bible passage. Maybe if liberals knew that they would stop eating there and make more room for the rest of us. I&O is always packed with people. They also pay their workers a much higher wage than other fast food restaurants starting pay at $10.50 an hour.  
Oct 9, 2013 3:46PM
It does not surprise me at all to know that CFA tops this list.  The company is run based on Biblical principles which usually translates to success in any endeavor.  The Bible can teach you just about anything you want to know from personal finance to how to run a business to how to deal with people socially.  It is an amazing book.
Oct 9, 2013 3:47PM
Hmmmm. All those people protesting Chick-Fil-A, saying they'd never eat there again. Look what happens! God continues to honor the business and always will. 
Oct 9, 2013 4:11PM
KRISPY CREME????????   In Illinois they went bankrupt here.  Almost evey store closed up.
Oct 9, 2013 1:21PM

Four local Paneras are all owned by the same person who makes his money off minimum wage workers and off-the-clock labor. The wait, bake, and prep staff make $8/hour, shift management $10/hour. No one gets more than 30 hours a week so Paneras doen't have to provide any benefits (like healthcare). The shift manager who closes down and locks up at night is also required to make the nightly bank deposit after punching out, all for $15,000/year. Turnover is sky high with recruiting year round. What a great business model! 


Bringing in more revenue is not "operating more efficiently". Operating more efficiently is getting a higher margin on the revenue. Of course, these articles NEVER tell you what the profit is, only revenue. It wouldn't be as much fun to tell the truth. If you told the truth about operating margins in a restaurant you couldn't listen to all the people complain about how much restaurants make.



Oct 9, 2013 5:36PM
Lets not forget that many of the franchises listed are seven days a week.  Chick- fil-A is only six. I wonder what the outcome would be if you through in that variable?  
Oct 4, 2013 11:57PM

steak and shake is headquarted in Houston texas... not san Antonio. I can assume all the other 'facts' in this story are as true as this one?


Bring back the original content msn. This borrowed stuff is junk

Oct 9, 2013 2:59PM
"If you want to own the stocks, the big names don't change much. If you want to invest in a franchise, though, some small chains rival the big dogs."

Someone didn't do their homework here.  In & Out is NOT publicly traded.  It's a family owned and operated business and has always been that way.  Who writes these columns, 5th graders?  It's very easy to check such facts.
Oct 9, 2013 2:48PM

Yoy have to remember that the income is average per store. Some of the brands have very few stores. Overall the #1 sellers are McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King are 2nd and 3rd and very close to each other.

I had a friend who got a McDonald's franchise, years ago, mortgageed his house and everything else. He and his wife worked there for some time at the start, I mean taking orders and stuff. They sold about 2 years later to another local franchiser and now live high on the hog some where.

Oct 9, 2013 12:52PM
After reading the article "what is in a chicken nugget", I am not too sure I want to eat at any fast food restaurant again. I want good things in my food like meat and real veggies. Nothing else. I hate chicken skin.
Oct 9, 2013 3:03PM
Our of that 2.6 million, the average McDonalds nets 200 grand in profit.    Not said is what it costs to buy a franchise.  The price will shock you.   Building more McDonalds and other fast food restaurants is not the answer to our economic problems.    Never will McDonalds or any fast food restaurant be able to pay good wages.  The profits simply are not there.  The only way would be to lay off workers and go with absolute minimum which is going to hurt the service plus keeping the restaurant clean.  
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