Chris O’Kelley

Chris O’Kelley

Chris O’Kelley

In this photo illustration, a McDonald's cheeseburger and fries are displayed on a table at a McDonald's restaurant on December 8, 2014 in Novato, California.

When it comes to fast-food restaurants, there is money to be made. The top 10 most profitable fast-food restaurants make billions, yes, billions of dollars a year.  The convenience of fast food makes life on the go, go!

According to, it costs around $10,000 to open a Chick-fil-A restaurant, and this is the cheapest start-up fee for a fast-food restaurant.  Around 20,000 people apply yearly to open a Chick-fil-A restaurant.  From these applicants, the company chooses between 75 and 80 new restaurant locations per year.

Fees To Own A Restaurant

Now the downside.  You must pay a fee that is 15% of sales. Additionally, you pay a fee that is 50% of the profit that remains. All of this is the pre-tax amount. Compare that to the 4% charge and 10.7% lease charge that is expected of a McDonald’s franchise. That’s a pretty significant difference.

The startup cost of Taco Bell is between $1.2 and $2.6 million. And, to start up a McDonald’s franchise, you’ll pay between $1 million and $2.2 million just to get started. To even be considered for a franchise, you must have liquid assets of half a million.

So while you see the profits and money made, just keep in mind that the cost to own and start a fast-food restaurant can be very expensive.  So, when you go into a restaurant, take care of the building and help keep it clean.  It’s expensive to operate for our convince.

Fun Fast Food Nuggets

  • Every month, approximately nine out of 10 American children visit a McDonald’s restaurant.
  • Today, in fast food restaurants, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo products are sold in every country in the world, except North Korea.
  • There are more than 300,000 fast-food restaurants in the U.S. alone.
  • McDonald’s is Brazil’s largest employer.
  • Burger King’s Double Whopper with cheese contains 923 calories. A person would need to walk for about nine miles to burn it off.
  • Over 84 million people have eaten fast food at least once a day.

What Are My Top 5 Fast Food Restaurants

5 – Taco Bell

4 – Sonic

3 – Panda Express

2 – Wendy’s

1 – Chick-fil-A

So, now that you know what it cost and what fast food restaurants make, still want to own one?

  • #10-Chipotle

    Year founded1993

    Systemwide sales$8.6 billion

    Total Stores: 3,129

  • #9-Domino's

    Year founded1960

    Systemwide sales$8.75 billion

    Total Stores6,686

  • #8-Burger King

    Year founded1954

    Systemwide sales$10.28 billion

    Total Stores: 7,043

  • #7-Subway

    Year founded1965

    Systemwide sales$10.37 billion

    Total Stores: 20,576

  • #6-Dunkin'

    Year founded1950

    Systemwide sales$11.28 billion

    Total Stores: 9,370

  • #5-Wendy's

    Year founded1969

    Systemwide sales$11.69 billion

    Total Stores: 5,994

  • #4-Taco Bell

    Year founded1962

    Systemwide sales$13.85 billion

    Total Store: 7,198

  • #3-Chick-fil-A

    Year founded1946

    Systemwide sales$18.81 billion

    Total Stores: 2,837

  • #2-Starbucks

    Year founded1971

    Systemwide sales: $28.1 billion

    Total Stores: 15,873

  • #1-McDonald's

    Year founded1955

    Systemwide sales$48.73 billion

    Total Stores13,444

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