If you’re an entrepreneur, you may be intrigued by the prospect of franchising a restaurant. With the built-in support structure and chance to make good money, its surge in popularity should be no surprise. It is an incredible opportunity, especially for new entrepreneurs looking to get their feet wet. But with all the options out there, what is the best franchise to own?
There are four main types of franchising to consider in the restaurant world: fast food, fast-casual, casual dining, or fine dining. While each has their positives and negatives, the best franchise to own is the one that will increase your financial wealth and offer you the most stability. A fast-casual restaurant is one of the best ways to do that in today’s eating scene, but let’s explore why.
Fast food franchises are some of the most recognizable restaurants in the market. Some of the most popular fast-food restaurants were among the first in the franchising industry. Because of their popularity, they may seem like an obvious choice.
But for many years, these restaurants have been over saturating the market. Opening a fast-food restaurant means you will be competing not only with the many other fast-food restaurants, but sometimes even the franchises within your own chain.
The other issue with fast-food chains is that people are more conscious about what they eat. They want an option that is more natural, not the frozen, mass-produced, and sometimes questionable products that are served in traditional fast food settings. Even their main selling point, the speed which they serve the food up, can be met by restaurants in the fast-casual space.
Fast-casual restaurants are steps above fast food in terms of experience and quality but don’t sacrifice very much in the way of speed or price. They are a perfect middle between fast food and a full-service restaurant. This has become a popular alternative to fast food recently. People are demanding better quality.
Even so, we are a convenience culture. By limiting menu options and opting out of table service, they can provide for those expectations and still maintain faster production. They also have not saturated the market, which makes it easier to be competitive in places. Because of this low cost and speed, fast-casual is a frequent choice for people to get a meal.
Full-service restaurants are not leaving us anytime soon. They are a fun way for the average American to get out of the house and eat a special meal without breaking the bank. Different full-service chains have a nice following of patrons. They offer tons of options, attendance, and ambiance.
While Americans might have the desire for a sit-down meal, they do not always have the disposable income for it. Spending an evening requires more money than other options, not just for the food but also for the service. In some situations, attention is paid more to the atmosphere than to the actual product. That often makes casual dining a very occasional option for the average eater.
This type of franchise is where a special occasion might be celebrated. Because it is a franchise, the food being served here is predictable and familiar, but the quality and service exceed casual dining. They demand a higher asking price.
While more money coming in is never a bad thing, you have to weigh that against the money you are putting up. You probably need to pay high wages to your staff to get people with better experience and skills. And what kind of money do you have to put up to create the atmosphere and food that people are paying for?
You also have to consider how often people choose to go to this kind of establishment. It is usually not a weekly, or even monthly, venture. For some people, it is more like an annual visit. Just because something has a product that costs more, that does not make it a huge moneymaker.
Which Do I Choose?
There are a lot of factors that make fast-casual franchises more appetizing than others. For starters, they are in an in-demand option, and that does not seem to be peaking anytime soon. More people want real food options quickly. Because there are fewer options for fast-casual than there are for other food-on-the-go choices, you can easily be competitive in whichever area you choose.
When it comes to putting money up for services, you can expect your overhead to be lower than in a dining restaurant. This is because there are typically fewer choices in a fast-casual experience. It is also because you don’t have to pay as much for waiters, hosts, and bussers. The job of taking orders and serving food does not require as much, so people are typically in and out.
And the market you are capturing is not fleeting. Instead of catering two patrons who on average would come to your establishment a few times a month, you are getting daily patrons. The price is low and people do not have to cook for themselves to get great food.
When you have made the decision to go into fast-casual franchising, your logical next question is where to go. New franchises that have not made it everywhere in the country yet can often be the best franchise to own. You can take them anywhere due to their novelty. You want a franchise restaurant that is executing well and has some recognition but is still relatively unknown to certain regions.
For example, a place like Chap’s Pit Beef in Maryland has the recognition from their time on the TV show Diner’s, Drive-in’s and Dives, and positive news write-ups for having the best Baltimore pit beef. The pit beef sandwich is well-loved by the patrons. But there is untapped potential in their locations. They could easily expand their franchise throughout the Northeast, or possibly take their food to other regions that might have a hole in the barbecue scene.
You have quite a few options to look into when you are beginning your journey in the franchising world. Fast-casual selections like Chap’s that have that built-in following and lots of room to grow can be a great choice as a small business owner.