Ranking The Top 50 Fast-Food Chains in America: Bringing the Foodies & Franchisees Closer

by Business Published on: 27 March 2024 Last Updated on: 28 March 2024

Ranking The Top 50 Fast-Food Chains in America: Bringing the Foodies & Franchisees Closer

The US population has 131.82 million full-time employees. So, the 9 to 5 life is what life is all about to many.

It is difficult to cook your own breakfast while the office door awaits you at 9. That’s where the fast food restaurants come in, serving delicious burgers and great coffee to the busy people and the foodies.

 It creates a great opportunity for franchise owners who want to start a franchise. However, it is difficult to choose the right franchise when there are too many options. Here’s an article to help franchise owners buy the right franchise with their targeted customers in mind.

1. Taco Bell

CategoryMexican inspired QSR
Sales in 2023$2 billion
Total Number of Locations8,564 worldwide (in 32 countries) 5,500 (In USA)
What’s PopularCrunchwrap Supreme
Opening & closing hours11 am–11 pm
Initial Investment$525,100 to $2,622,400
Franchise Fees$25,000 to $45,000 per location
Net Worth Required$1.5 million

Taco Bell was founded in 1962 in Downey, California, by Glen Bell. Taco Bell is famous for its Tex-Mex cuisine, which is popular among many foodies.

Through the parent company named Yum, Taco Bell and companies like KFC and Pizza Hut are connected. Yum owns all three of these food chains. As a fast food restaurant, Taco Bell has built a track record for its sales figures and impressive marketing tactics.

2. KFC

Sales in 2023$31.116 billion globally
Total Number of Locations25,000 worldwide 4284 (in USA)
What’s PopularExtra Crispy Chicken
Opening & closing hours11 am–11 pm
Initial Investment$3.7 million
Franchise Fees$45,000
Net Worth Required$1,500,000

In 1930, Colonel Harland Sanders founded KFC in North Corbin, Kentucky. Their fried chicken needs no introduction, thanks to the crispy flavor that goes with the branding.

KFC keeps its recipe a super secret. Colonel Sanders used to keep the recipe for KFC chickens hidden. It was a blend of 11 herbs, and he wrote it on scrap paper and kept it inside his wallet. Their constant quality check on raw materials, food, branding, and global marketing strategies makes it a hit. KFC is undoubtedly one of the best fast food restaurants.

3. Subway

Sales in 2023$9.2 billion
Total Number of Locations36,592 stores Worldwide 19573 in the USA
What’s Popularturkey and tuna
Opening & closing hours6:30 am –9:30 pm
Initial Investment$229,050 – $522,300
Franchise Fees$15,000
Net Worth Required$80,000

Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck founded Subways in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Their best item is Italian B.M.T. But what they are most known for is the submarine sandwich.

Be it sandwiches or freshly baked breads, Subway is the place to go for sandwich lovers. It is the on-the-go spot for fresh food lovers. They smartly adapt to changing customer preferences and keep quality food at the top of their priority list.

4. Pizza Hut

Sales in 2023 $1 billion
Total Number of Locations18,381 worldwide 6,614 in the USA
What’s PopularPepperoni Pizza
Opening & closing hours11 am–11 pm
Initial InvestmentOver $2 million
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$700,000

Dan and Frank Carney planned on making Pepperoni Pizza popular; hence, we have Pizza Hut today. They built Pizza Hut in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, which has been popular for Pizza ever since.

Pizza Hut remains one of the best fast food restaurants in the USA because of the extent of innovation it has adhered to. As a fast food chain, Pizza Hut kept its quality parameters high for its food and ingredients. They successfully created a hallmark from the Pan Pizza concept they introduced in 1968. Their brand voice speaks loud across 100 countries and throughout their 18000 plus locations.

5. Burger King

Sales in 2023$1.88 billion
Total Number of Locations18,700+ worldwide (in more than 100 countries)  6,711 in USA
What’s PopularWhopper burger
Opening & closing hours6 am– 9 pm
Initial Investment$230,000 and $4,194,700
Franchise Fees$50,000
Net Worth Required$1 million

The founders of Burger King are Keith J. Kramer and Matthew Burns. In 1953, they established one of the most famous burger shops in Jacksonville, Florida.

Burger King stays bold in its treatment to provide value-for-money food options. The brand comes as a creative, fun, and approachable burger location where you can “have it your way.” affordable, customizable, fast food makes Burger King a customer favorite, and the brand value never disappears.

6. Dunkin’ Donuts

Sales in 2023$12.4 billion
Total Number of Locations13,500 worldwide ( 42 countries) 9,593 in the USA
What’s PopularCoffee
Opening & closing hours24 hours or 10 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$1,809,500
Franchise Fees$40,000–$90,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

In 1950, William Rosenberg started Dunkin Donuts in Quincy, Massachusetts. Many New Yorkers cannot imagine their morning breakfast without Dunkin’ Donuts. It is no wonder New York has the highest number of Dunkin’ restaurants.

Whether you crave coffee or Doughnuts you want to dig into, Dunkin’ is the place to go, especially in the morning. Franchisees don’t regret starting a Dunkin’ store because of the brand’s popularity.

7. Chick-fil-A

Sales in 2023$11.3 billion
Total Number of Locations2,816 locations worldwide 3,059 in USA
What’s PopularOriginal Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich
Opening & closing hours6 am. and 10 pm (on weekdays)
Initial Investment$1,651,000
Franchise Fees $40,000
Net Worth Required$750,000

S. Truett Cathy set up Chick-fil-A in Hapeville, Georgia, in 1946. When it comes to making people crave more chicken sandwiches, they know the craft, both from the brand and culinary perspective.

Chick-fil-A has ranked number one for customer satisfaction for nine consecutive years and scored 85 on the ACSI (American Customer Satisfaction Index). So, their commitment to quality, good customer service, and brand reputation is out of the question.

8. Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen

Sales in 20235.95 billion
Total Number of Locations4,000 worldwide 3,705 (across 46 states)
What’s Popularcrispy fried chicken
Opening & closing hours10 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$383,500 – $2,620,800
Franchise Fees$50,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen is known for its New Orleans-style menu. The brand identity is backed up by years of dedication, attention to quality, and customer commitment. Despite tough competition from KFC and the likes, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen has kept its place in the market. It is one of the good fast-food restaurants to consider as a franchisee.

Al Copeland founded Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their track record has been proven and kept safe thanks to the amazing Cajun cuisine they serve at Popeye Louisiana Kitchen.

9. Dairy Queen

Sales in 2023$3.6 billion
Total Number of Locations5,700 (across 30 countries) 4,300 (in the USA)
What’s Popularthe Blizzard
Opening & closing hours10 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$1,151,155 to $1,936,655
Franchise Fees$45,000
Net Worth Required$750,000

John Fremont McCullough was the founder of Dairy Queen, and he founded the restaurant chain back in the 1940s in Joliet, Illinois. Although the Blizzard is their best item, Dairy Queen is also famous for their soft-served ice cream.

Dairy Queen Ranks 426th in the Global Top 100 Brands, and it also ranks #33 in the Food & Beverages brands. Dairy Queen has kept its brand name and brand reputation strong and clean throughout the years. Thanks to the loyal fanbase they have built up, a new franchisee does not have to wait on customers.

10. Del Taco

CategoryMexican inspired dishes
Sales in 2023$497 million
Total Number of Locations594 (15 US states)
What’s Populartacos, burritos, and burgers
Opening & closing hoursTwenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
Initial Investment$1,312,200 – $3,085,000
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$1 million

When anyone is looking for quick-serving restaurants with tons of tasty  Mexican menus ready and hot to be served, Del Taco is around. College students and young adults especially love to taste the spicy flavors of Del Taco Mexican recipes.

Del Taco was founded by Ed Hackbarth and David Jameson in Yermo, CA in 1964. Their original recipe, THE Del Taco, has a lot to say about their success, challenges, mergers, expansions, and more.

11. Jack in the Box

Sales in 2023$1.71 billion
Total Number of Locations2,102
What’s Popularburgers, tacos
Opening & closing hours18–24 hours
Initial Investment$1,651,500 – $2,638,600
Franchise Fees$50,000
Net Worth Required $1.5 million

Jack in the Box acquired Del Taco in 2022. It is a San Diego, California-based fast food restaurant famous for serving tacos and burgers.

On top of the freshness and food quality, Jack in the Box also does well in their campaigns. Whether it is the “Smash the Haters” campaign to convert more new customers or “Help Feed Kids, One Curly Fry at a Time” to feed children, they know how to attract customers. Franchisees can definitely benefit from the innovative marketing strategies they come up with.

12. Pizza Guys

Sales in 2023$24 million
Total Number of Locations88 worldwide 74 in the USA
What’s PopularCheezee Garlic Rolls
Opening & closing hours10 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$68,300 to $197,500 ( store equipment and furnishing leased)
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$200,000

Pizza Guys was founded by  Shahpour Nejad in 1986 in the USA. They are currently approaching 100 locations worldwide and in the USA.

Pizza Guys focuses on affordability and food quality, becoming one of the best fast food restaurants in the USA. Their menu exists to instigate the happy, nostalgic memory of comfort food that fills the stomach and the heart with memory.

13. Whataburger

Sales in 2023$3 billion
Total Number of Locations940 in the USA 925 worldwide
What’s PopularBurgers and its Fancy Ketchup
Opening & closing hours24 hours
Initial Investment$545,500 to $894,500
Franchise Fees$40,000
Net Worth Required$12.5 million or $5 million

Harmon Dobson founded Whataburger in 1950 Corpus Christi, Texas in Corpus Christi, Texas. They were able to expand a single burger stand into a multi-location fast food restaurant chain.

Whataburger carries the pride of serving food lovers for 70 years and harboring more than 50000 employees. In the U.S. food ranking, Whataburger ranks 8th. Also, the special ketchup recipe they keep secret keeps people following the orange-and-white striped logo across the States.

14. Teriyaki Madness

CategoryFast casual restaurant
Sales in 2023N/A
Total Number of Locations125+ in the USA, Mexico, and Canada.
What’s Popularchicken teriyaki bowl
Opening & closing hours11 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$312,500 to $731,260
Franchise Fees$45,000
Net Worth Required$450,000

Teriyaki Madness was founded by Rod Arreola and Alan Arreola in 2003 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Teriyaki Madness shows its madness through the fresh, spicy, bold, and flavorful grills they serve in Seattle. Yes, the hype of Teriyaki Madness lives up to the reputation. It has been one of the most profitable restaurant franchises in the USA. On the Franchise Times Fast & Serious, Teriyaki Madness takes the 6th spot.

15. Cinnabon

Sales in 2023$467,724,796(global sales)
Total Number of Locations1,200 (48 countries) 700 (in USA)
What’s Popularcinnamon rolls
Opening & closing hours9 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$233,700 and $546,800.
Franchise Fees$30,500
Net Worth Required$400,000

Rich Komen Founded Cinnabon in 1985 in Federal Way, Washington. The Cinnamon Roll served at Cinnabon stays sweet and tempting throughout its journey and has been one of the creators of the success story in the QSR industry.

In all its efforts to stay sweet and leave an impression on your taste buds,  Cinnabon remains successful. They have also kept their intention to satisfy the customer unwavering.

16. Crumbl Cookies

Sales in 2023$685 million
Total Number of Locations918 in the USA and Canada
What’s Popularbirthday cake
Opening & closing hours8 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$228,000–$600,000
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required $500,000

Jason McGowan (CEO) & Sawyer Hemsley (COO) founded Crumbl Cookies in 2017.  Crumbl Cookies. They have been trying to bring friends and families together with the best birthday cakes that fill both hearts and guts.

Crumbl Cookies is a viable option for franchisees. The main reason behind this lies in its low startup cost and a high average return. Their flavors are unique, and the menu is evolving. Especially when it comes to buying birthday cakes, they are the go-to store for many.

17. Smoothie King

CategoryHealthy Beverages
Sales in 2023$5.5 million
Total Number of Locations1,400 worldwide 722 USA
What’s PopularThe Hulk
Opening & closing hours7 AM–9 PM
Initial Investment$264,000 to $1,200,000
Franchise Fees $30,000
Net Worth Required$300,000

Smoothie King came into existence in 1973. Steve and Cindy Kuhnau started this smoothie franchise in Louisiana. They started it as an experiment at home while blending different fruits and nutrients to make something healthy and tasty. It remains one of the most popular publicly held franchises in the USA.

For Smoothie King, there is only one sentence – “it is the world’s largest Smoothie Brand.” It is one of the famous contenders in the top 50 fast food restaurants, as listed by QSR magazine.

18. Wingstop

Sales in 2023$3.5 billion
Total Number of Locations2,214 worldwide 1,877 in the USA
What’s PopularLemon Pepper chicken wings
Opening & closing hours11 am –10 pm
Initial Investment$346,775 to $733,249
Franchise Fees$20,000
Net Worth Required$1,200,000

Wingstop is the best place for people craving chicken wings and Cajun seasoning. Franchisees should benefit from a strong brand reputation and loyal customer base.

Founded back in 1994, Wingstop owes its origin to Antonio Swad and Bernadette Fiaschetti, the founders. The journey started in Texas, and Wingstop set out to “Serve the World Flavor.” They serve lemon pepper, Cajun, atomic, original hot, mild, Hawaiian BBQ, etc., to hungry souls.

19. Chipotle

Sales in 2023$9.9 billion
Total Number of Locations2,750 in USA 3,437 worldwide
What’s Popularburritos and bowls
Opening & closing hours10 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$1.2–$2.8 million
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$1,500,000

Steve Ells founded Chipotle Mexican Grill in 1993, and it has been serving “Food with Integrity” ever since.

Chipotle stays true to its motto, “food with integrity.” The commitment to serve good food to food lovers is evident in their integrity and quality of food. It is the best place for traditional Mexican cuisine. Customers come here for bowls, burritos, tacos, salads, and whatnot.

20. Firehouse Subs

Sales in 2023$1.19 billion
Total Number of Locations1,210 worldwide
What’s PopularHook & Ladder sub
Opening & closing hours10 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$92,255–$824,846
Franchise Fees$20,000
Net Worth Required$300,000

Founded by two firefighter brothers, Chris and Robin Sorensen, Firehouse Subs stands as a top fast-food restaurant franchise. They started in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida.

Firehouse Subs has been catering to fresh food made out of fresh and healthy ingredients and made using exclusive recipes. It ranks 6th among the top fast sandwich chains in the USA.

21. Five Guys

CategoryFast Casual
Sales in 2023$3.2 billion worldwide
Total Number of Locations1,800 worldwide (24 countries) 1,470 (in USA)
What’s Popularburger and famous fry offerings
Opening & closing hours11 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$152,000 to $360,000
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

In 1986, five people from the Murrel Family founded Five Guys in Alexandria, Virginia. Their beef burgers and hand-cut fries are among the popular dishes.

Five Guys franchises can be a lucrative business opportunity if proper dedication and resources are used. Due to the allowance of passive ownership, Five Guys is a good opportunity for owners.

22. Hubcap Grill

Sales in 2023N/A
Total Number of Locations5 locations in USA
What’s Popularburgers and sandwiches
Opening & closing hours11 am – 9 pm
Total Investment$150,000 to $500,000
Franchise Fees$40,000
Net Worth Required$1.5 million to $2.5 million

In 2008,  a Houston native named Ricky Craig started the food chain named Hubcap Grill. They have emerged as the restaurant serving the best burgers in Houston.

Food Network names Hubcap Grill one of the top 10 best burgers in the USA. Their fries and burgers are great and widely appreciated by customers.

23. Nautical Bowls

Gross Sales reported in 2023$1,095,647
Total Number of Locations60 locations
What’s PopularThe Nauti Bowl
Opening & closing hours7 am – 8 pm
Initial Investment$243,750–$423,250
Franchise Fees$39,500
Net Worth Required$243,750–$423,250

An entrepreneur couple named Rachel and Bryant Amundson founded Nautical Bowls in 2018. The idea started with the couple trying to fill in the lack of a good restaurant in Minnesota.

It is no news that the craze for gluten-free, dairy-free foods is becoming trendy. Nautical Bowl has been attracting many people in the USA with its gluten-free food. It is definitely one of the best fast food restaurants to own in the USA.

24. Penn Station East Coast Subs

Sales in 2023 $415 million
Total Number of Locations306
What’s PopularPhilly Cheesesteak
Opening & closing hours 9 am – 11 pm
Initial Investment$290,984 to $594,478
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

Penn Station East Coast Subs was founded by Jeff Osterfeld in 1985 in Cincinnati, Ohio. This Ohio-based fast food restaurant has made its fresh-cut fries and grilled chicken sandwiches famous among foodies.

They have more than 300 restaurants in 15 states of the USA. The menu and the dishes stay true to the East Coast style.

25. Arby’s

Sales in 2023$3.9 billion
Total Number of Locations3,500 in nine countries, including the USA
What’s Popularroast beef sandwiches
Opening & closing hours10 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$628,950 to $2.3 million
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required $1,000,000

Another Ohia-based fast food chain, and another great place for roast beef sandwiches. Arby’s owes its birth to Leroy and Forrest Raffel, who set up this fast-food restaurant in Boardman, Ohia, in 1964.

Arby’s is famous for roasted beef sandwiches. In addition,  they also serve wraps, chicken sandwiches, and milkshakes. It is ranked as the second-largest sandwich brand in the entire world. First-time visitors must try Curly Fries at Arby’s.

26. Panera

Sales in 2023$1.2 billion
Total Number of Locations2186 in the USA
What’s PopularClub Sandwich
Opening & closing hours6:00 am – 9:00 pm
Initial Investment$2.5 million to $3.5 million
Franchise Fees $40,000
Net Worth Required$2.5 million

Panera was established in 1987 in Boston, Massachusetts. Ken Rosenthal, Ronald M. Shaich, and Louis Kane started it as a community bakery. Gradually, it evolved into a fast-food chain.

As a pioneer of fast food restaurants, Panera has always succeeded in providing high-quality fast casual food and dining experiences. Their reputation is built on great items like broccoli, cheddar soup, bacon, turkey, and Bravo Sandwich. Panera is a successful franchise for business owners leaning toward fast food restaurant franchises.

27. Domino’s

Sales in 2023$18.3 billion
Total Number of Locations18,848
What’s PopularPepperoni Pizza
Opening & closing hours9 am – 6 pm
Initial Investment$102,650 and $516,700
Franchise Fees$10,000
Net Worth Required$250,000

Food lovers who love to quench their craving for pepperoni pizza usually knock on Domino’s doorsteps. It is no wonder there are 18000+ locations of Domino’s worldwide. Plus, their food delivery service has constantly contributed to their elevated brand reputation.

Tom Monaghan James Monaghan founded Domino’z in Ypsilanti, Michigan in 1960. The Monaghan brothers purchased a small chain of pizza restaurants called DomiNick’s for only $500 dollars. Now, it has expanded into what we know as Domino’s.

28. McDonald’s

Sales in 2023$25.49 billion
Total Number of Locations40,275 worldwide 14,146 in USA
What’s PopularFrench fries
Opening & closing hours11 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$2,503,000
Franchise Fees$45,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

Richard and Maurice McDonald are responsible for the founding and expansion of McDonald’s. But it was Ray Kroc who helped it expand. Richard started the chain in 1940, while Ray expanded the chain and started the franchise.

McDonald’s has been famous for their branding and fame across the world. Their food tastes amazingly similar across all the stores in every location. McDonald’s branding is so strong that it is recognized by anyone and anywhere in the world.

29. Mrs. Fields

Sales in 2023$29 million
Total Number of Locations400 + locations in the USA
What’s Popularchocolate chip-flavored cookies.
Opening & closing hours9 am –9 pm weekdays
Total Investment$151,000 and $416,500
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$250,000

In Palo Alto, California, Debbie Fields started the famous bakery chain in 1977. Mrs Fields is one of the best bakery franchises in the US. Their reputation is proven across the world. Thanks to the low-cost entry, it is one of the easiest franchises to consider for new business owners in the USA. 

30. Little Caesars

Sales in 2023$4.23 billion
Total Number of Locations5,473 worldwide 4,173 in the USA
What’s Popularpepperoni pizza
Opening & Closing hours10:30 am–10 pm
Initial Investment$350,000 to $1,427,500
Franchise Fees $20,000
Net Worth Required$250,000.

Mike Ilitch and Marian Ilitch built the pizza and fast-food restaurant in 1959 in Garden City, Michigan. Their “Pizza! Pizza! The slogan for affordable pizza made quite a stir back in the day. They were offering “two Pizzas for one,” making everyone love pizza.

 Franchise owners would like to consider Little Caesars’ 16% EBITDA margin. It stays profitable for franchise owners due to its low initial cost and high returns. Their franchise training support is worth mentioning. The food preparation process technology is well maintained and positively affects the pricing of their food. 

31. Papa John’s

Category$25.49 billion
Sales in 2023$5.04 billion,
Total Number of Locations5,706 worldwide 3,376 in the USA
What’s PopularPepperoni pizza
Opening & closing hours10 AM–12 AM
Initial Investment$743,930
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$750,000

Papa John was started by John Schnatter in 1984. The story of how the store started was interesting. John took his business degree and went home to Jeffersonville, Indiana. He started a small restaurant inside a broom closet. Now, it is a full-fledged restaurant chain.

Papa John’s boasts that they never use frozen dough. Their quality as fast food restaurants has remained consistent. Their motto is “Better ingredients, better pizza”. It is suggestive of their commitment to providing high-quality food to customers.

32. Boston Market

Category Chicken
Sales in 2023$373.0 million
Total Number of Locations322 in 23 states (and territories)
What’s PopularRotisserie chicken, side dishes
Opening & closing hours7:30 am–10 pm
Total Investment$1,023,500 to $2,757,500
Franchise Fees$50,000
Net Worth Required$1–2 million

Arthur Cores and Steven Kolow started Boston Market in 1985 in  Newton, Massachusetts. Their tasty Rotisserie Chicken, Meatloaf, and other dishes only remind us of homestyle cooking.

The Northeastern and Midwestern sides of the USA have huge numbers of people who enjoy food from Boston Market. Their Rotisserie chicken has been a fan favorite to many. In addition, the homestyle sides are also celebrated and loved by people. However, franchisees are also because Boston Market has been sued 140 times since 2020.

33. Panda Express

CategoryFast Casual
Sales in 2023$3 billion
Total Number of Locations2,342  in USA
What’s PopularBeijing Beef, Broccoli Beef
Opening & closing hours11:30 am –10:30 pm
Initial Investment$426,700 and $2,404,000
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

The 80s was the golden era of fast food restaurants. Many entrepreneurs and fast food lovers like Andrew Cherng and Peggy Cherng started their fast food restaurants during this period. Panda Express came into existence through the hands of Andrew and and Peggy Cherng in 1983 in Glendale, California. Panda Express popularized American Chinese cuisine in the USA.

Panda Express has built a reputation with its orange chicken and Beijing beef recipe. What’s more, their use of fresh and good quality ingredients keeps them at a high level.

34. Hardee’s

CategorySandwiches & Burgers
Sales in 2023$1,192,000
Total Number of Locations3,800 (44 states in the USA)
What’s Popularchar-grilled burgers
Opening & closing hours5 AM – 9 PM
Initial Investment$1,499,000–$2,228,000
Franchise Fees$25,000–$35,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

Wilber Hardee started Hardee’s in 1960 in Greenville, North Carolina. Thick burgers and the breakfast offerings have been favorites to food lovers.

Hardee’s is the most famous fast food chain in the Midwest and the Southwest United States. Their breakfast menus have been widely popular. It has been the 49th most popular dining brand in the USA/. They are also famous for their customer service rating, ranking 3rd with a rating of ⅗.

35. In-N-Out Burger

Sales in 2023N/A
Total Number of Locations417 in the USA
What’s PopularDouble-Double burger
Opening & closing hours5 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$2–$3 million
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$400,000 to $600,000

In-N-Out was founded by Harry Snyder and Esther Snyder at Baldwin Park, California. They have built a great fanbase of burger lovers with their Double-Double Burger and Animal Style Fries.

In-N-Out has a track record for its high-quality and fresh food options. Most importantly, they procure and manufacture their own food. Their secret food menu for different types of customers (the Animal Style burger, for example) has been well appreciated by customers.

36. Nathan’s Famous

CategoryHot dog
Sales in 2023$137.03 million in 2023 December
Total Number of Locations478 worldwide
What’s Popularhot dogs, hamburgers, and fries
Opening & closing hours10 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$501,633–$1,201,360
Franchise Fees$30,000
Net Worth Required$500,000

Nathan’s Famous starts with the story of a Polish immigrant named Nathan Handwerker in 1916. He started a nickel hot dog store on Coney Island. He only invested $300 at his first store and was selling his wife’s secret recipe to two of his friends. Now, Nathan’s Famous offers business owners the most flexible franchise opportunity.

Their Hot Dogs and Crinkle-Cut Fries are two of the best items. The original recipe by Nathan, which was created 100 years ago, still continues to exist. It’s no wonder people gather in front of  Nathan’s Famous locations every day.

37. Carl’s Jr.

CategoryFast Food
Sales in 2023N/A
Total Number of Locations862 (in USA)
What’s PopularWestern Bacon Cheeseburger
Opening & closing hours24 hours
Initial Investment$1,375,000–$1,952,000
Franchise Fees$25,000–$35,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

Carl’s Jr. was founded by Carl Karcher in 1941 in Los Angeles, California. Carl’s Jr boasts a history of 80 years and is loved for its charbroiled burgers. Today, there are more than 1000 locations across the USA.

38. Long John Silver’s

Sales in 2023N/A
Total Number of Locations568 (35 locations)
What’s Popularfried shrimp, cod, and chicken
Opening & closing hours10 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$1,171,000 to $1,770,000
Franchise Fees$20,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

Jim Patterson founded Long John Silver’s in Lexington, Kentucky, in 1969. Their Fish and Chips Hushpuppies are among the best items for any food lovers to try out at Long John Silver’s.

The Fortune 500 list ranks Long John Silver’s as the 214th fast food restaurant.  Long John is also famous for their chicken and shrimp. Overall, it is a good franchise for new business owners to consider.

39. Church’s Chicken

Sales in 2023$280 million
Total Number of Locations568 (in USA)
What’s Popularwild-caught Alaskan whitefish fry
Opening & closing hours10 am – 10 pm
Initial Investment$1,006,000 to $1,528,000
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

George W. Church Sr founded Churche’s Chicken in 1952 in San Antonio, Texas, United States. The best items served by Church’s Chicken are Fried chicken, biscuits, and coleslaw

Church’s Chicken ranks 64th among THE 2023 FRANCHISE TIMES TOP 400 LIST. The brand has a 50-year-long history of successful operations in the industry. Customers keep coming back to the Church’s Chicken locations thanks to the juicy and tasty chicken they serve hot.

40. Jimmy John’s

CategoryFast Casual
Sales in 2023$2.4 billion
Total Number of Locations2,638 worldwide
What’s PopularItalian Night Club sandwich
Opening & closing hours24/7
Initial Investment$355,900 to $671,400
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

Jimmy John Liautaud founded Jimmy John’s in 1983 with $25,000 he got from his father. The first-ever store was built in a beat-up garage in Illinois when he was just 19. However, the first year of running the store was a profit, and he expanded the store across 2600+ locations later on.

When it comes to fast service, Jimmy John’s does not disappoint its customers.  Their wraps and sandwiches are widely known. Also, the proven track record of their success makes them a good option for franchisees to consider.

41. Jersey Mike’s

Sales in 2023$3.2 billion
Total Number of Locations2,401 (in USA) 2,403 (worldwide)
What’s PopularClub Sub Sandwich
Opening & Closing hours10 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$144,668–$786,233
Franchise Fees$18,500
Net Worth Required$300,000

Jersey Mike’s was started by  Peter Cancro in 1956 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, United States. Their “Original Italian” and “Jersey Shore’s Favorite” are the best submarine sandwiches fans love to try out.

As per an estimate, Jersey Mike’s has a 15% EBITDA margin. They had a constant spot on the annual Franchise 500 by Entrepreneur Magazine. The burgers at Jersey Mike’s do not disappoint with their taste and quality.

42. Shake Shack

Sales in 2023$1,087.5 million
Total Number of Locations500 worldwide 240 (in USA)
What’s PopularShackBurger
Opening & Closing hours11 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$900,000 to $1.8 million
Franchise Fees$40,000
Net Worth Required$1.5 million – $2.7 million

Danny Meyer, the founder of Shake Shack, started this chain in 2004 in New York City. The first store was just a hot dog cart. Now it has expanded to become one of the best fast food stores there is.

Most people don’t argue when it comes to the quality of Shake Shack burgers.  Most importantly, they have been constantly strict about the quality sourcing of the ingredients they use for the food served. If you try the milkshakes during one visit, the next one should be for their hot dogs or sandwiches.

43. Sbarro

Sales in 2023$130 million
Total Number of Locations700 worldwide
What’s PopularStuffed Pizza
Opening & closing hours9 AM – 6 PM
Initial Investment$350,000
Franchise Fees$30,000
Net Worth Required$350,000

Gennaro and Carmela Sbarro started Sbarro in 1956 in Brooklyn, United States. In the beginning, it was just a Salumeria. But little by little, it evolved into a popular restaurant chain.

Sbarro is the 6th largest pizza brand in the world. Yes, the quality of their food is not as well celebrated as KFC or the Five Guys. But they have a good track record as a business. Stromboli, New York-style pizza slices, and pasta dishes are among the best dishes to try out here.

44. Carvel

CategoryIce Cream
Revenue in 2023$4.4 billion
Total Number of Locations326 (in 20 US states) 358 worldwide
What’s Popularsoft serve ice cream
Opening & Closing hours10 am–9 pm
Initial Investment$308,550 to $499,900
Franchise Fees$30,000
Net Worth Required$350,000

Tom Carvel founded Carvel in 1934. Hartsdale, New York, United States.  They named themselves by popularizing soft-serve ice creams such as “Fudgie the Whale.”

Entrepreneur Magazine ranks Carvel as one of the top franchises. No, it is not as big as Baskin Robbins. But, Carvel has generated a substantial amount in revenue, making its success known to business owners of tomorrow.

45. Einstein Bros. Bagels

Sales in 2023$521 million
Total Number of Locations691 (in USA)
What’s Popularplain bagel
Opening & closing hours8 am–5 pm
Initial Investment$156,650 and $252,325
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$1,000,000

In 1995, Boston Market founded Einstein Bros. Bagels in Golden, Colorado. The freshly baked bagels and other menus ready and hot to be served at Einstein Bros. Bagels make it a foodies’ hotspot.

Einstein Bros. Bagels is a successful Bagels franchise. Thanks to their leadership, food, and use of technology, they have found the right direction to success, attracting new franchisees in the process.

46. Checkers & Rally’s

Sales in 2023 $332 million
Total Number of Locations816 in the USA
What’s PopularHamburger, french fries
Opening & closing hours9 AM – 6 PM
Initial Investment$751,117 to $2,125,751
Franchise Fees$20,000
Net Worth Required$750,000

In 1986, Jim Mattei founded Checkers in  Mobile, Alabama. He went public with the store in 1991. Rally, on the other hand, was started in Louisville, Kentucky, by Jim Patterson. A 1999 stock swap caused Rally’s to be clubbed with Checker’s while keeping its branding.

It is important to have a good senior manager looking after the franchisees and helping them. Checkers & Rally tops most franchises in the USA in that respect. The leadership here is evidence of a good culture fostering the mentality of providing support and direction leading to success.


Sales in 2023$2.4 billion
Total Number of Locations900 locations in 18 states
What’s PopularChicken Finger Plate
Opening & closing hours10:30 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$284,000 to $664,300
Franchise Fees$35,000
Net Worth Required$35,000

Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley started ZAXBY’S in 1990 in Statesboro, Georgia. Their best items include Chicken Finger Plate and Zalad.

ZAXBY’s brand presence is strong. Customers generally gather at their storefronts to taste the amazing chicken wings dipped into a variety of sauces. Chicken lovers always crave chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, and salads, and ZAXBY’S fast food chain does not miss one target when it comes to targeting the right audience. Franchisees can expect to have their hands full at all times.

48. Baskin-Robbins

CategoryIce Creams
Revenue in 2023$160 million
Total Number of Locations8,000 worldwide
What’s PopularVanilla and chocolate-flavored ice creams
Opening & closing hours10 am – 10 pm (average)
Initial Investment293,840 and $625,185
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$200,000

Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins founded Baskin Robins. The first store was founded in Glendale, California. They made their Pralines ‘n Cream and Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream popular.

Baskin Robbins has a strong brand presence and the potential to earn a huge annual profit. Franchisee owners can expect to earn $500,000 annually. Plus, who does not know and love ice creams from Baskin Robbins?

49. Tim Hortons

CategoryCafe & Bakery
Sales in 2023$1.82 billion
Total Number of Locations24/7
What’s PopularDouble coffee
Opening & closing hours24/7
Initial Investment$2,137,500 and $25,000
Franchise Fees$50,000
Net Worth Required$1,500,000

Tim Horton and Jim Charade are the founders of Tim Horton. They started founded the first location in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Most importantly, Tim Horton became the largest quick-service restaurant in Canada.

Tim Hortons brings stable growth prospects, with customer demands rising continuously. Of course, franchisees must put in the time, effort, and dedication to achieve the expected result. Tim Horton’s is known for their coffee, sandwiches, and donuts. However, according to multiple reviews on platforms like Tripadvisor, their customer service can be improved. 

50. Papa Murphy’s

Sales in 2023$47.8 million
Total Number of Locations1,114 locations
What’s PopularCowboy Pizza
Opening & closing hours11 am – 9 pm
Initial Investment$296,075 to $534,731
Franchise Fees$25,000
Net Worth Required$350,000

Papa Murphy came into existence when the two local companies merged together. Those two brands were Papa Aldo’s and Murphy’s. Terry Collins founded Papa Murphy’s in 1981 in Vancouver, Washington.  Currently, they have more than 1100 outlets in both USA and UAE.

From 2003 to 2009, Papa Murphy’s has been the best pizza chain in America. Customers love the variety of pizza options with different crusts, toppings, and sizes.

Final Words

All the fast food restaurants mentioned in this article prioritize and value what most fast food lovers look for in a fast food chain. They operate with loyalty, value, personalization, and convenience for customers in mind. As a fast food restaurant owner, upholding the values the franchisors want to establish is important.

Most business enthusiasts on their journey to starting a new franchise find it difficult to understand their customers. Before beginning any franchise, conducting market research and audience analysis is important. This article should add value to your research if you are trying to understand which fast food restaurant to start.

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Shahnawaz is a passionate and professional Content writer. He loves to read, write, draw and share his knowledge in different niches like Technology, Cryptocurrency, Travel,Social Media, Social Media Marketing, and Healthcare.

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