cost to open a five guys franchise

Five Guys is a popular fast-casual restaurant chain known for its delicious hamburgers, French fries, and milkshakes. With over 1,500 locations worldwide, the brand has become a go-to destination for many burger lovers. For those who are looking to invest in the food industry, opening a Five Guys franchise can be a lucrative option. However, before making any decisions, it is essential to understand the costs involved in starting a Five Guys franchise. In this post, we will delve into the financial requirements of opening a Five Guys franchise, including the initial investment, current profitability of Five guys franchises, as well as the general advantages and disadvantages of investing in franchising a Fives Guys. By the end of this article, you will have more information on the cost of opening a Five Guys franchise and whether it is a feasible investment option for you or whether you should consider other franchising opportunities. We’ll cover the following topics in-depth in this article:

The Cost of Opening and Operating a Five Guys

The total cost of opening a Five Guys franchise can vary widely, depending on a variety of factors, such as location, size, and construction costs. The initial franchise fee for opening a Five Guys location is $35,000, but this is just the beginning of the investment. The total investment of opening a Five Guys franchise can range from $300,000 to $650,000 or more, depending on the location and the level of customization required.

One of the biggest costs associated with opening a Five Guys franchise is the real estate. Five Guys locations typically require a minimum of 1,500 square feet, with some locations requiring up to 3,000 square feet. The cost of leasing or purchasing this amount of space can vary significantly, depending on the location and the current real estate market.

Another significant cost associated with opening a Five Guys franchise is the construction and equipment. The cost of building out a Five Guys location can vary depending on the size, location, and level of customization required. In addition, franchisees will need to purchase a variety of equipment, such as grills, freezers, fryers, refrigeration, and prep tables, which can also be costly.

Another example of a cost to open a Five Guys is cost of leasehold improvements. Leasehold improvements can be a significant expense for franchisees, and the cost can vary depending on the size and condition of the property. The leasehold improvements for a Five Guys franchise typically range from $100,000 to $200,000, but can be more or less depending on the specific location.

Other costs associated with opening a Five Guys franchise include inventory, marketing, training, and labor. The cost of inventory will depend on the size of the location and the level of customer demand, while marketing costs will depend on the level of competition in the local market. Franchisees will also need to pay for the training of their staff and the ongoing support from Five Guys corporate headquarters.

As a franchisee, you are required to pay royalties and marketing fees to Five Guys corporate headquarters in exchange for the use of the company’s brand and ongoing support. The royalty fee is 6% of gross sales and is paid on a weekly basis. This fee is a percentage of your sales and is used to support the company’s ongoing operations and the development of new products and services. This 6% royalty fee is higher than the industry standard of 4-5%. It is worth noting that the royalty fee is a slightly higher 8% in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Alaska.

In addition to the royalty fee, franchisees are required to pay a marketing fee of 2% of gross sales. This fee is used to support national and local marketing campaigns to promote the Five Guys brand and drive customer traffic to your location. The marketing fee is also used to fund the development of new marketing materials, such as menus, signage, and promotional materials. This 2% marketing fee is lower than the industry standard of 4-5%. Therefore, the combined royalty and marketing fees are around in line with the industry standard.

Additionally, Five Guys requires a one-time development fee of $10,000 per location. This development fee is paid to the company when the franchisee signs the development agreement, which gives them the right to open a certain number of locations in a specific area. While the fee may seem like a significant upfront cost, it provides franchisees with the exclusive right to develop and operate multiple locations in a specific area, giving them the potential to generate more revenue and expand their business.

  • Franchise Fee: $35,000
  • Initial Investment: $300,000 to $650,000
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1.5 million
  • Minimum Liquidity: $500,000
  • Royalty Fee: 6%
  • Ad Fee: 2%

History of Fives Guys

The Five Guys fast-food restaurant chain has become a household name in the United States and beyond. The brand’s history dates back to 1986 when it was founded by Jerry Murrell and their four sons in Arlington, Virginia. At the time, the Murrells had a simple goal in mind: to serve the best quality burgers and fries to their customers. Today, the brand has expanded to over 1,500 locations in the US, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

From its humble beginnings, Five Guys Burgers and Fries gained popularity for its delicious menu items including burgers, fresh-cut fries, hot dogs, and unlimited toppings. The restaurant’s unique approach to fast food was a breath of fresh air for customers tired of the standard fare offered by larger chains. In the early days, the Murrells ran the business with the help of their sons, who would go on to play a significant role in the company’s success.

The Murrells’ approach to running the business was simple yet effective. At the heart of Five Guys’ was their operating principle which emphasized a focus on quality, consistency, and customer service. The company grew committed to using only the freshest ingredients in its products, and all burgers are cooked to order, ensuring that every meal is made with the highest quality standards. This focus on quality, not quantity, and refused to cut corners on any aspect of their food or service. For instance, the restaurant’s burgers were made from 80% lean ground beef, with no fillers or additives. The french fries were hand-cut, and the peanut oil used for frying was of the highest quality.

Despite its early success, the Five Guys chain remained a regional chain for several years. It wasn’t until 2003 that the brand began expanding outside of Virginia. The company opened its first franchise in Maryland, which was followed by locations in Washington D.C. and then New York City.

The franchise model proved to be a game-changer for Five Guys, and the brand began expanding rapidly across the United States. By 2012, the chain had over 1,000 locations, with a presence in all 50 states. Today, Five Guys has over 1,500 franchise locations across the world, making it one of the most successful fast-food chains in history. Its headquarters remains close to where the burger joint start, in Lorton, Virginia.

Despite its rapid growth, Five Guys has remained committed to the principles that made it successful in the first place. The brand has continued to focus on quality, freshness, and customer service, and has earned a loyal following as a result. In fact, Five Guys has consistently ranked as one of the best burger chains in the United States, according to various consumer surveys.

Five Guys is a privately held company, and the ownership is split between the Murrell family. The company was founded in 1986 by Jerry and Janie Murrell, and their sons Jim, Matt, Chad, and Ben later joined the business. Today, the Murrell family remains actively involved in the management and operations of the company. It’s worth noting that Five Guys has attracted the attention of private equity firms in the past. In 2017, the company sold a minority stake to the global investment firm, Carlyle Group, for an undisclosed amount. However, the Murrell family still retains a majority ownership stake in the company.

Advantages of Franchising a Five Guys

Franchising itself inherently comes with a variety of advantages that franchisees get access to. We know that Five Guys is a popular and successful fast-casual restaurant chain that has gained a loyal following of customers over the years, so let’s discuss the advantages of buying your first Five Guys Burger and Fries franchise The company has a unique business model that sets it apart from other fast-food restaurants, which can offer several advantages to franchise owners.

High-quality ingredients: One of the key factors that sets Five Guys apart from other fast-food chains is the quality of its ingredients. The company uses only fresh, high-quality beef for its burgers and hand-cuts its fries daily. This commitment to quality sets Five Guys apart from other fast-food chains and can help franchise owners to attract customers who are looking for a higher-quality dining experience.

Low overhead costs: Another advantage of owning a Five Guys franchise is the relatively low overhead costs. Unlike many other fast-food chains, Five Guys does not require franchisees to purchase expensive equipment or to maintain a large inventory of food items. This can help franchise owners to keep their operating costs low, which can improve profitability.

Multiple revenue streams: In addition to the traditional in-store dining experience, Five Guys also offers catering and delivery services, which can provide additional revenue streams for franchise owners. The company has partnerships with popular third-party delivery services like Uber Eats and Grubhub, which can help franchisees to expand their customer base and generate more revenue.

Strong training program and support: Five Guys provides comprehensive training and support to franchisees, which can help new owners to launch their businesses successfully and to manage their operations effectively. The company provides training in areas such as operations, marketing, and customer service, and provides ongoing support to franchisees as they grow their businesses.

Strong brand recognition: Five Guys has a strong brand that is recognized and respected by customers and industry professionals alike. The company has won numerous awards for its food and its customer service and has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing restaurant chains in the world. As a franchise owner, you will benefit from the strong brand recognition and customer loyalty that Five Guys has built over the years.

Disadvantages of Franchising a Five Guys

While owning a Five Guys franchise can offer several advantages, there are also some disadvantages to consider before making the investment. In this essay, we will discuss some of the disadvantages specific to owning a Five Guys franchise.

Low AUV: The revenue that a Five Guys store generates can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location, size of the store, and local market conditions. However, according to a 2020 report by QSR Magazine, the average Five Guys restaurant in the United States generates about $1.2 million in annual sales. This figure is based on data from Technomic’s Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. This Average Unit Volume (AUV) places Five Guys near the bottom of QSR’s analysis. An AUV of $1.2 million ranks only ahead of Sonic Drive-In on the list of 29 comparable major fast food chains that QSR analyzed. This AUV is lower than other chains known for their burgers, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, and Chick-Fil-A.

High Startup Costs: One of the biggest disadvantages of owning a Five Guys franchise is the high startup costs. The company requires franchisees to have a net worth of at least $1.5 million and to make an initial investment of between $306,000 and $625,000. This hefty initial investment may be a significant barrier to entry for entrepreneurs who are just starting out or who have limited resources. In addition to these high start-up costs, the yearly fees and operational expenses are likely to exceed a million dollars. Combined with the low AUV, there is little room for error.

Limited menu options: While Five Guys is known for its high-quality hamburgers and French fries, the menu is relatively limited compared to other fast-food chains. This limited menu can be a disadvantage for franchise owners who are trying to attract a broader customer base or who want to offer a wider variety of menu items. While the menu is limited, they do adapt their menu according to their location.

Limited flexibility: Five Guys has a strict set of operating procedures and guidelines that franchisees must follow. These restrictions can limit the flexibility and autonomy of franchise owners, who may not have the ability to make significant changes to their menu, store layout, or operations.

Intense competition: The fast-food industry is highly competitive. Franchise owners will need to compete with other fast-food chains and burger joints in their local market such as McDonald’s, Shake Shack, or Burger King which can be challenging and require a significant investment in marketing and advertising.

Process of Starting a Five Guys

Before thinking about franchising a Five Guys, there are certain requirements that a potential franchisee must meet. The two principle requirements are that prospective franchisees must have a minimum net worth of $1.5 million and liquid assets of at least $500,000. Additionally, Five Guys looks for franchisees with experience in restaurant management or other related industries. Previous experience as a business owner is also desirable. Five Guys will also have other considerations such as willingness to play an on-site in guaranteeing the success of the franchise.

If these requirements are met and you are interested in franchising, the first step in starting a Five Guys franchise is reviewing the company’s franchising website and reviewing their franchise disclosure document (FDD). The FDD provides information about the costs associated with starting a franchise, the training and support provided by the company, and the financial performance of existing franchise locations. You should also research the competition and evaluate the demand for Five Guys in your chosen location.

Once you have done your research and are interested in pursuing a Five Guys franchise, you should contact the company to express your interest. You will be asked to fill out an application and provide financial information to determine your eligibility.

If your application is approved, you will be invited to attend a Discovery Day at Five Guys headquarters. This is an opportunity to meet with the company’s leadership team, learn more about the company culture, and discuss the details of the franchise agreement.

If you decide to move forward with opening a Five Guys franchise, you will be required to sign a franchise agreement. This agreement outlines the terms and conditions of the franchise, including the initial franchise fee, ongoing royalty and marketing fees, and other operational requirements.

Before opening your Five Guys franchise location, you will be required to complete a comprehensive initial training program that covers all aspects of running a Five Guys restaurant. This includes product preparation, customer service, financial management, and other operational aspects.

Once you have completed training, you will need to select a location for your Five Guys franchise and begin the construction process. Five Guys provides support and guidance in site selection, lease negotiations, and restaurant design.

After the construction of your franchise location is complete, you will have a grand opening celebration to introduce your restaurant to the community. Five Guys will provide ongoing support and resources to help you operate and grow your franchise location.

How Profitable is Five Guys?

Over the last three years, the Franchisor, Five Guys Holdings, Inc., has suffered losses of $224 million, but the number of franchised outlets has increased by 89, with a record increase of 67 in 2020. Despite the losses, analysis suggests that investing in a Five Guys franchise could be worthwhile, as the investment can be recouped with a reasonable profit margin in six years or less. With an initial investment of around a half million dollars and five years of 15% net profit margin, it would take around five years to recoup your initial investment.

According to a report by QSR Magazine, however, the odds do not look great. It is estimated that the average cost to operate a Five Guys restaurant in the United States is approximately $1.25 million per year. This includes costs such as labor, food and beverage costs, rent and occupancy expenses, marketing and advertising costs, and other operating expenses. Because the AUV is also around $1.2 million, this would suggest that, on average, operating a Five Guys could be a breakeven or even slightly losing endeavor. Of course, this is merely an average. Therefore, it is certainly possible to run a highly profitable Five Guys franchise under the right circumstances, but looking into other fast food joints may offer better prospects.

The Five Guys Franchisee Training Program

The Five Guys Training Program is a multi-phased program designed to provide franchisees with the knowledge and skills they need to operate their franchise successfully. The program covers all aspects of running a Five Guys franchise, from food preparation and customer service to financial management and marketing.

The first phase of the training program is the pre-opening training, which typically takes place at a Five Guys training restaurant. During this phase, franchisees learn about the company’s history and culture, receive an introduction to the menu, and learn the basics of food preparation and safety. They also receive training in customer service and restaurant operations, including cash handling and inventory management.

The second phase of the training program is the in-store training, which takes place at the franchisee’s own restaurant. During this phase, franchisees work alongside experienced trainers to put their knowledge into practice. They learn about the restaurant’s specific equipment and layout, as well as how to manage a team of employees effectively. They also receive training in food safety and quality control.

The third and final phase of the training program is ongoing support, which is provided to franchisees after their restaurant has opened. This support includes regular visits from a Field Business Consultant, who provides guidance and advice on all aspects of running a successful franchise. Franchisees also have access to online training resources, including a training portal that provides access to instructional videos, manuals, and other resources.

Throughout the training program, franchisees are evaluated on their performance and are provided with feedback to help them improve. This ensures that franchisees are fully prepared to operate their franchise and provide a high-quality customer experience.

Terms of Agreement and Renewal for a Five Guys Franchise

The initial term of the franchise agreement for a Five Guys franchisee is typically ten years. However, the length of the term may vary depending on the specific franchise agreement.

The renewal term for a Five Guys franchisee is typically five years. Similar to the initial term, the length of the renewal term may also vary depending on the specific franchise agreement.

It is important to note that renewal is not automatic and is subject to certain conditions, such as being in good standing with the franchisor, complying with all franchise requirements and standards, and paying all franchise fees and royalties. The franchisor may also require the franchisee to make updates or renovations to their restaurant to maintain brand standards or participate in additional training programs.

Renewing a franchise agreement provides franchisees with the opportunity to continue operating under the Five Guys brand name and operating system, which can help to maintain customer loyalty and improve profitability. The renewal process is an important aspect of the franchise agreement and should be carefully reviewed and negotiated between the franchisee and franchisor.


In conclusion, opening a Five Guys franchise is a significant investment that requires careful consideration and planning. While the cost of opening a franchise can vary depending on several factors such as location, restaurant size, and other operational expenses, the estimated initial investment for a new Five Guys franchise costs from $306,200 to $641,250. The cost of opening a Five Guys franchise may seem high, it is actually lower than other competitors in the fast food market. Even though this initial investment may seem daunting for a Five Guys franchise owner, it is important to note that it will also cover various expenses such as franchise fees, equipment, inventory, marketing, and other operational costs. Additionally, Five Guys provides a comprehensive training program, ongoing support, and a strong brand name, which can help franchisees to operate a successful business. As discussed in this article, however, Five Guys has a high initial investment for its relatively low average revenue per store. Therefore, it may take more work to build a successful franchise compared with other fast food franchises. Accordingly, unless you are uniquely passionate about Five Guys, other avenues may be better explored. But under the right circumstances, Five Guys remains a top fast food joint with quality, even if steeply-priced, hamburgers and milkshakes.

As a late note, it is worth reminding you that it is important for potential franchisees to carefully review the franchise disclosure documents, conduct research, and seek professional advice to ensure that they fully understand the costs and requirements associated with opening a Five Guys franchise. Ultimately, the cost of opening a Five Guys franchise can be a worthwhile investment for individuals who are passionate about the brand and willing to put in the effort to operate a successful franchise.


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