So you want to open a restaurant?

Expressed opinions Entrepreneur Contributors are their own.

Save a seat at the table

If owning a dining company has been your lifelong dream and you are considering taking a franchising route there, you are definitely not alone. Statistics show that dining, a segment of fast-food – also referred to as Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) – makes up the largest part of the franchising industry. It is estimated that fast-food units account for a quarter (approximately 200,000) of all franchise operations, and the total economic output in the United States, according to Statista, is $ 241 billion. Some of the world’s leading brands, including McDonald’s, Subway and Pizza Hut, fall into the QSR category. But if you want to take the path of restaurant franchising, there are more options than just fast-food. There are quick casual, coffee shops, ice cream and yogurt shops, mobile operations, sandwich shops and healthy eating ideas.

Related: Here are 3 reasons to leave your corporate job and become a restaurant franchisee

The subtle difference between fast-food and fast casual

Fast-food, or QSR, is the most common and widespread franchise in the United States, followed by casual. Although the two may seem similar, their differences are shown in terms of time, convenience and environment. Fast-food is about making quick meals for commuters, making these locations convenient for those who want to eat fast, cheaply and efficiently. They have limited seating, kiosk ordering and drive-through lanes, surpassing other restaurant divisions during operation, most of which are open 24/7. Quick casual, on the other hand, offers a bit more than QSR. While still convenient, they provide more seating and an environment that welcomes diners to stay longer and enjoy their meals. Quick casual dining is usually conducted through a counter service and diners pick up their own food. Most fast food restaurants have customizable meals, using an assembly line method to serve their specialties. Dining costs in fast-food locations range from 10-15, while fast casual meals tend to be a little higher at $ 15-20. In short: Taco Bell fast-food. Wingsstop is fast casual.

Related: Franchise Player: How I Went From Fine Dining to Fast Casual

Coffee, coffee, coffee, buzz-buzz

Ever since Starbucks became a nationwide phenomenon, America’s love affair with coffee has only accelerated. Dunkin ‘is consistently among the top ten most popular franchises, and there are still more than two dozen other coffee and cafe-related franchises. An added bonus to choosing a coffee-related franchise concept is that unlike fast-food or fast casual franchises, there is usually less inventory and employee involvement.

Sweet tooth craze

Some of the most popular franchise brands on the market right now are a variety of frozen desserts – including ice cream, yogurt and soft-serve brands. According to IBISWorld, the frozen yogurt market in the United States earns আয় 654 million annually. The sector has received encouragement from consumers who prefer low-fat alternatives to their frozen foods, and some franchise-assisted self-serve toppings bars have become increasingly popular with children of all ages.

Related: Frozen-yogurt warms up the franchise fight

Mobile food franchising

The food truck industry has gained traction and popularity in the last few years. Although not all food trucks are franchised operations, entry barriers are much lower and instead of trying to pull customers into a single brick-and-mortar position, you can decide when, where, and how to follow your consumers.

Related: Why Food Truck Businesses Are Reviving

If you decide to buy

If owning a restaurant is your dream and you choose the franchising route, here are some tips to consider, excluding the traditional search process:

  • Be realistic about your finances. Have a clear idea of ​​your financial tolerance – this will determine the restaurant concept within your budget. Big-name brands like KFC need more than 1 million. However, there are plenty of options available at every budget level – so it’s important to know what you can and can’t afford when it comes to your search process.
  • See for yourself. If the brand has already established a presence in your area, you can personally investigate on your own. Get a feel for the brand and decide if it’s right for you.
  • Think about your desired level of engagement. Depending on your background, level of experience and the training provided, you will have to decide whether you will be a hands-on owner, not just someone who manages the manager. By having a clear idea of ​​how you want to get involved, you will be able to narrow down your search and find a franchise idea that meets your needs as a leader.

Franchising can be convenient to establish yourself as a restaurant owner, but it is not for everyone. But if a restaurant calls you, as they say, “Bon appetit!”

Related: 5 Affordable Restaurant Franchises You can start with 5 digits.

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