Top 10 American Franchises
IFA New York

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Why Food Franchises Are an Easy To Swallow Business

FMS logo Chris Conner


Let’s try something — close your eyes and think of franchises in your community. Chances are, you may have McDonald’s, Subway, Burger King, or Chick-fil-A come to mind. More than likely, your list contains several food franchises, if not these very ones we’ve listed here.


Franchising is to food what Shakespere is to poetry. They go hand in hand.




Are you pondering a franchise model to fit your palate? There are quite a few different types out there. That is one of the things of beauty for food — the sheer flexibility in these concepts and models means there is something for anyone who desires a food business.


Traditional Fast Food


“If you’re not a risk taker, you should get the hell out of business.” That’s a quote from McDonald’s visionary and founder, Ray Kroc. His company went on to pioneer some of the riskiest moves anyone had ever seen. He grabbed the bull by the horns, made it a hamburger, and threw it on the assembly line. Fast food was born.


Fast food franchises are an excellent choice for those seeking to sink their teeth into franchising. High volume, low cost labor, low cost inventory. These will have a smaller footprint that a full service establishment, but are dependent on high priced real estate since convenience is key to the drive thru model. One of the brands we’ve worked with, Southern Classic Chicken, for example, requires things like access to an intersection, strong day time traffic, and great visibility for their locations, indicative of most fast food models.


Sit Down and Dine In


Full service restaurants have quite the reputation to precede them. Long hours. Working weekends and nights. High employee turnover. While these not-so-pleasing characteristics may be all too true, buying into a full service restaurant franchise greatly mitigates your business risk. Like any franchise, the guesswork has been done for you. You will know the hours to expect, the type of staff that stay, the high selling menu items, and the best schedule to keep.


These types of restaurants offer more than just a traditional concept. For example, Bar Cava is a full service, sit down restaurant. But the difference here is the concept is based around wine and high end cocktails. This particular brand gives its franchisees the blueprint and boundaries from which to operate, but allows several freedoms for stylistic flexibility, such as adding a lounge, decorating with different colors, bringing in local brews, or offering community-based favorite menu items. Atlanta-based Dugan’s offers its franchisees three different models: Dugan’s Grill, Dugan’s Tavern and Sports Grill, and Dugan’s To-Go (not a full service concept). Creativity can still reign for those with a passion for cuisine without the deep end dive of going at it alone and from scratch.


The Healthy Move

Brands like Chipotle and Panera have brought fast casual, healthier food options into the market spotlight. The fast casual model somewhat straddles the fast food and full service concepts, coupling the best of both worlds in joyous matrimony. One brand we developed last year, Daily Veg, is a perfect example of how these models cater to the more health conscious crowds while another brand we worked with, Crazy Cuban, specializes in Cuban fare and a more general audience.


The fast casual concept bends with the times (hello, Covid), works well with 3rd party delivery, and necessitates a smaller footprint than a full scale dining concept. However, customers are still attracted to these types of places for celebrations, large party gatherings, and for catering. Like I said, the best of both worlds.


Meal Prep for the Win

If there was ever a more applicable model for the busy lives of Americans, meal prep is it. Customers can say goodbye to guilt-ridden take out and instead opt for a home-cooked meal prepped by other hands. These are an extremely small footprint model as they do not have seating inside. Oftentimes, this concept can be used to partner with other businesses such as gyms to boost brand recognition and product placement.  For example, AfterBody Meals not only offers their meals for pickup, but gives clients a straight-to-their-door delivery option too. Low overhead, low staff requirements, and high demand make this model and concept a winner in my book.


Treat You Right

You can’t talk about food franchises without swirling in the sweet treat niche. Ice Cream Hut, Candy Connections, and Rok N Wtr were all just developed this year by my team and I. We are seeing such high demand for these types of stores because they are fun to operate, lend themselves to a naturally positive environment, and are specialized enough to help lower food waste and to keep volume high. Typically, these types of concepts offer flexible model options. For example, Candy Connections has a kiosk model for malls. The brand specializes in cotton candy, even selling the fluff retail in various container sizes.


Another mention here that isn’t necessarily sweet, but along the same specialized grab-and-go vein are the coffee and tea franchises. Teaspoon, a booming boba tea franchise, has experienced exponential sales this year. They don’t require tons of space, offer several ordering channels, and do well on social media. As a matter of fact, many of these smaller menu niche brands do great on social media because of the picturesque items they offer.  Finally, we can’t make a move without talking about coffee franchises like Foxtail Coffee or Coffee Junkiez/Pizza Junkiez. These models do great in most locations and have drive thru options available. With coffee, you get passionate workers who want to stick around and serve up the joe. All in all, sweet treats and speciality drinks are an easy choice for first timer franchisees, typically having lower start up costs.


Thinking about buying a food franchise? My team and I can help. We have hundreds of brands we have personally developed and that we will vouch for being great choices for your next business. Connect with us a to learn more.



Chris Conner has worked in the franchise development industry for almost 20 years and helped over 600 brands franchise their brand and develop franchise distribution channels. He founded Franchise Marketing Systems in 2009, which now includes a team of 27 franchise consultants based in and Canada and supports brands around the world to grow and scale through franchise expansion. Visit for more information