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How to Open a Fast-Food Restaurant

Monika Kamińska

Marketing and communication enthusiast with 20+ years of experience, a psychologist by education.

Table of contents

Let’s say you want to open up a fast-food restaurant. How do you even start? There are many things that should be taken into consideration when opening up your own restaurant business. Anything from choosing whether or not you want to buy a franchise, choosing a perfect location, hiring employees, figuring out the menu, marketing strategies and so on. Do not get discouraged though! This article will give you an idea of what to expect while starting up your own eatery.

How to Start a Fast-Food Chain?

This article will focus on fast food restaurants. Quick and convenient – that might be the motto of almost every fast-food restaurant around the world. The first thing you need to do is to choose if you want to open up a franchise or something of your own. Of course, big names like McDonald’s or Wendy’s do not need too much of an advertising, but opening up a franchise might cost you quite some dime. If you decide to open something unknown – then you definitely need to consider your marketing budget. The decision might seem tough, but whichever path you choose – there is always a way to succeed in it!

May I Take Your Order?

How to start a fast-food chain? How to open a fast-food business? Once you decide on the chain you want to be part of, then you definitely need to do your initial research. After you apply and get accepted by the “franchisor”, then you will probably get the license, which will allow you to use its trademarks and business methods. Do not forget that you also need to arrange the financing matter as well. When you sign the official franchise agreement, you will start the training.

Let us Talk About the Money for a Second Here

Franchises can be insanely expensive. McDonald’s wants you to have at least $750,000 in liquid capital. Same goes with KFC. Remember that the total cost of such a start-up might rise to some pretty high numbers. Those well-known names can reach up to 2 million dollars. If your budget cannot go over that amount of money – you can always choose a less known franchise, that will cost you even one third of the price.

Research is Important!

We think it is always better to make the research first. If possible – try contacting the current franchises. You can ask them different questions. Learn if they were facing any problems with the business plans, or if the franchisor provided training and an adequate help if needed? You definitely want to know, if the business you are putting yourself into will pay off.

How to Open a Fast-Food Business and What Should Be Your Next Step?

The application process might take a while, because they will probably check a lot of things, like information regarding your prior business, location preferences, educational background, financial statements and such. By law, you should be given a document called a Franchise Disclosure Document before you sign a contract. Make sure to revise it carefully. This document will contain some very important information. Your obligations as a franchisee, fees and other start-up costs will be there as well. Be sure to analyze it before making your next move.

Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help

The Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) might be a bit hard to understand sometimes. You might want to consider hiring a lawyer and an accountant to help you understand things better. Afterall – it will be a franchise, with many obligations and financial information. It is always better to have a professional to take a closer look at the document. If there will be something that you will not understand – ask the franchisor for the clarification before you sign the contract.

What About the Financing? More Info on How to Open a Fast-Food Chain!

Okay, so you might know something about how to open a fast-food restaurant, but what about its financing? As we have mentioned before, opening up a fast-food chain might cost a lot. Some franchisors offer to finance their franchises, or -in some cases- they will fund only some part of the amount, that is necessary to start the business. You can always ask about franchisor financing. The process is usually simplified, rather than taking a bank loan. Do not get discouraged though – there are many ways to get the money you need to start up your business.

Check Those Requirements

You cannot pick just any location. It has to fit the requirements that are always included in a franchise plan and agreement. Remember to pay attention to the building requirements. McDonald’s needs its site to be at least 50,000 square feet. It is always better to ask your franchisor to take a look at the building before you decide to sign the lease.

We Need Some Equipment

How to start a food chain? You need the equipment for sure. Unfortunately, you will not get it for free. The franchisor will give you a whole list of items that need to be purchased prior to the opening, so you still have the time to set it all up.

Training Day

Seminars, trainings at a nearby restaurant, conferences, training classes, courses – different franchises offer different training methods. What is more, you still need to get proper licenses and permits. Brace yourself for a lot of paperwork.

The customers’ happiness should be one of your top priorities if you want your fast food business to run smoothly. If they’re content with your service, they’ll come back and recommend your business to others. The QR Code system from is an excellent way for customers to quickly and easily access your menu. All they need to do is scan the code with their smartphone and the menu will appear. This is a great way to provide customers with a convenient way to view your menu and make ordering quick, easy and hassle-free.

QR code to the menu feature

Take a Closer Look at Health Requirements

Fast-food restaurants are monitored by the government. You have to be very careful and be sure to meet all of the health and safety requirements. Do not be surprised if an inspector visits you the second you open up your fast-food business.

We are Hiring!

Team work is essential in every business. When hiring your future staff, we encourage you to ask for any prior fast-food experience. It is not essential, but it will definitely help. Always take your time to check references. It is not easy to find a good employee, but once you find your perfect team – make sure to create a friendly work environment. This will definitely help your business blossom.

You Have Been Invited to a Grand Opening!

Once everything is set, you need to plan a grand opening. If it is a franchise, they will definitely make it loud! But if you decided to open up a place of your own – you can do it the way you want it. Balloons will be there in both cases! Make sure to train your staff before the opening. You can only make the first impression once, right?

How to Open a Fast-Food Joint?

Home style fast-food? Yum! Have you been wondering how to open a fast-food joint, but not a franchise? You will definitely have more freedom and choices, but less money for marketing. Franchises put a lot of money in advertising. It is hard to beat their numbers. But do not get discouraged! If you decide to open up your own fast-food business, you still can! It might be a variation of some sort of a home style fast-food burger and such. You make the rules here. Sky is the limit!

What is the Best Fast-Food Chain Out There?

Have you been you ever wondering how to open a fast-food shop and which fast-food company is the best? Well, we have all heard about McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Burger King, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza and more. Those are the big names, that are recognized globally. Therefore, their franchise will cost you a lot. There are names like Subway or Papa John’s – which are also well known, but less expensive. You make the decision here.

Distribution of fast food in the U.S. - Vivid Maps

Marketing Strategies

If you decide to do a franchise, they will take care of most of the advertisements. What is more – the brand name is already so well known, that no one needs to introduce it to the public. They just let the people know about the new location coming to their home town. Franchise cost a great deal of money, but you get a lot of help and support from the company. There are regulations you need to follow in order to be able to run the franchise, but you should always get help when needed.

Solo Project Can Be Successful as Well!

Of course, a well-known fast-food restaurant is hard to compete with, but do not get discouraged here, if you wish to open up your own fast-food place. Restaurant business might be tough sometimes. Competition is significant, and food prices go up every month. There are many things that should be taken into consideration while running your own business. Franchise business offers their support, which is great. But having your own eatery leaves a lot of room for your own creative ideas. It is all up to you and what kind of business management fits your profile.

How Much Can a Franchise Cost?

Once you learn how to open a fast-food chain, you might want to know how much it costs. Titans like McDonald’s, KFC, Wendy’s and Taco Bell might range anywhere between $1,2 million to $3 million. Do not forget about those monthly fees as well. You might need to pay royalties for the use of the franchisor’s trademarks as well. You pay a certain percentage of your sales to pay for ads. It can all differ – depending on the franchise agreement. It might seem like a lot of money, but when you look around – you can see a lot of new fast-food restaurant being opened. That means the business is definitely on the rise!

Which Options Seems to Be the Best?

Yes, we know that the decision might be hard. A toss-up between opening up a well-known fast-food joint or coming up with your own fast-food business. Money might play a significant role here. Some people are a bit afraid to sign the contract and be obliged to follow all the necessary requirements, but there are those who proudly run a fast-food chain business and are thinking about opening up even more restaurants. It is all up to you. If you feel like being a part of something bigger, then you might want to consider franchise.

What About My Own Fast-Food Restaurant?

Opening up your own fast-food business will definitely require less capital. Remember that it is not easy to please people with food. They can be very picky. When you decide to open up a well-known fast-food joint, people already know what kind of food to expect. But when you want to come up with something different and something of your own, you might need some time to gain the trust of your customers. Everything is possible, you just might need to invest some time in it.

The importance of a professional looking website is especially crucial for fast food type restaurants. By having a well-designed website, you can help increase your brand awareness to potential customers. Additionally, a website is an excellent way to showcase the menu and dishes that your fast-food restaurant has to offer. can assist restaurant owners in creating a professional looking website for their businesses.

UpMenu theme store

A Healthy Fast-Food Alternative?

Even though, there are still those who try to pour bad publicity on fast-food chains, those restaurants cannot complain about their annual income. People will always crave those fast-food meals. There are some people, who came up with healthy fast-food businesses. Veggie burgers, sweet potato fries, or actually – air fried fries! There are many different options out there. In many cases their version of a healthy fast-food might not be so fast (when it comes to food preparation) but it is a good alternative for vegans and people who want to live a healthier life. But fast-food chains are not only about burgers and fries. There are other chains that offer different kinds of food. As you can see – the choice nowadays is quite impressive!

There are many advantages and disadvantages of a franchise. Opening up your own fast-food business might be quite challenging as well. The key is to choose the option that will fit your needs and requirements. Make sure to analyze both options. Take a closer look at pros and cons. You do not have to make your decision overnight. Do some online research. Reach out to franchise owners and ask for their honest opinion. Take your time and try to come up with the best possible option. Once you figure out what is that you want – you will definitely be a proud and successful restaurant owner.

Monika Kamińska

Marketing and communication enthusiast with 20+ years of experience, a psychologist by education.

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