Published on 6 May 2022 Time 6 min read Last update by 29 May 2024

Wendy’s Franchise Cost Is Worth the $300,000 Owner Salary (2024)

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Wendy’s Franchise is one of the most recognizable restaurant brands in the world. It is famous for its hamburgers, sandwiches, fries, tenders, and milkshakes. The Baconator is one of the most popular items and even has been mentioned by Jim Cramer on his investment show numerous times. Wendys Breakfast has been one of the ways the company in recent years has helped to diversify its revenue streams.

Wendy’s Franchise was founded in Columbus Ohio by Dave Thomas in 1969. Although he was not involved in the daily operations, Thomas went on to serve as Chief Executive until 1982 and remained heavily involved with the company. The family even after his death in 1999 continued to own many franchises. In 2008 Arby’s the third-largest restaurant chain at the time purchased Wendy’s for $2.34 Billion. The brands would later separate and would completely cut ties in 2018.

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How Is Wendy’s Franchise Positioned in the Food and Beverage Industry?

Food and Beverage account for the most franchises out of any industry in the United States. Additionally, Food and Beverage industry accounts for 5% of U.S. gross domestic product and 10% of national employment. The sector is drastically changing especially given the stay-at-home economy that the Covid-19 pandemic has made a norm. There is a desire for more delivery and take-out options. The industry average royalty fee is 5.3% and 2.3% for the marketing fee.

Wendy’s is well-positioned in the Food and Beverage industry given its national brand recognition. Additionally, its royalty and marketing fees are both 4%, which is closely aligned with industry norms. Wendys at the end of 2021 has a total of 5,938 total locations worldwide.

While other food franchises like Subway, Burger King and Mcdonald’s permanently closed U.S. restaurants in 2020, Food and Beverage had a net increase in unit count.


How Much Is a Wendy’s Franchise?

There are three estimates of the overall cost of opening a Wendy’s franchise. This depends on whether a franchisee is buying, financing, or leasing the land that they are opening their location. See the costs for each type below.

  • Buying land outright: $1,887,500-$3,693,000 
  • Financing land: $556,500-$1,135,000 
  • Leasing Land: $329,500-$647,500 

Please find the detailed breakdown of initial and ongoing costs below:

Type of Expenditures Estimated Amount Method of Payment When Due To Whom Payment is to be Made
Application Fee $5,000 Lump Sum On Signing Preliminary Agreement Quality
Training Expenses $26,000 – $100,000 As Agreed  As Incurred Third Parties
Initial Technical Assitance Fee $50,000 Lump Sum On Signing Franchise Agreement Quality
Real Estate, Permits, Construction of Standard Prototype Restaurant and Site Improvements

Cash Purchase

Financing (3 mos.)

Leasing (3 mos.)

$1,147,000 – $2,515,000

$271,000 – $551,000

$24,000 – $63,500

As Agreed

As Agreed

As Agreed

 As Incurred

As Specified in Financing Documents

As Specified in Lease or Sublease

Property Owner and Contractors




Cash Purchase

Finaning (3 mos.)

$331,000 – $420,000

$11,000 – $18,000

As Agreed

As Agreed

 As Incurred

As Specified in Financing Documents




Cash Purchase

Financing (3 mos.)

$58,000 – $100,000

$2,000 – $4,000

As Agreed

As Agreed

 As Incurred

As Specified in Financing Documents




Cash Purchase

Financing (3 mos.)

$65,000 – $100,000

$3,000 – $4,000

As Agreed

As Agreed

 As Incurred

As Specified in Financing Documents



Opening Inventory and Supplies $13,000 – $18,000 As Agreed  As Incurred Vendors
Additional Funds – 3 Months $150,000 – $192,000 As Agreed  As Incurred Franchisee Employees / Vendors
Grand Opening Advertising $7,500 – $10,000 As Agreed  As Incurred Advertising Sources
Security Deposit, Utilities, Licenses and Other Prepaid Expenses $20,000 – $165,000 As Agreed  As Incurred Landlord or Other Providers
Insurance Cost $15,000 – $35,000 As Agreed As Incurred Third Parties
Total Estimated Initial Investment $1,887,500 – $3,693,000

$556,500 – $1,135,000

$329,500 – $647,500

If you pay cash for Land, Building, Site Improvements, Equipment, Signage, and Technology.

If you finance the Land, Building, Site Improvements, Equipment, Signage, and Technology.

If you lease the Land, Building, Site Improvements, and finance the Equipment, Signage and Technology.

Wendy’s Franchise Requirements

To open a Wendy’s franchise you must have a minimum net worth of $1 million and have at least $500,000 in liquid assets. Additionally, given the demand for opening Wendys locations, prior experience is something the company also looks for. They prefer granting franchises to high net-worth individuals with prior food and beverage experience primarily in fast food. Wendy’s also promotes vulnerable minority groups and women to apply to open a franchise.

Wendy’s On-Going Fees

  • Royalty Fee: 4%
  • National Marketing Fee: 4%
  • Local Marketing Fee: 0.5%
  • Technology Fee $6,500-$12,000 per restaurant each year
  • In-App Delivery Account Statement Services: 3.5% of in-app purchases

How Much Does a Wendy’s Franchise Make

U.S Average Gross Sales
For the period January 4, 2021 to January 2, 2022 (Fiscal Year 2021)

Company Restaurants Franchise Restaurants
Number of Restaurants 393 5,190

Average Annual Gross Sales

Median (Min – Max)

($893,377 to $4,183,704)
($285,004 to $5,636,894)
Number of Restaurants at or Above Average
(% of Restaurants)



Wendy’s Franchise Restaurants Make about $1.9 million in Sales!

Based on Wendy’s 393 corporate-owned restaurants we are able to provide an estimate of how much a franchisee can expect to earn per location. The average revenues and margins the median gross profit percentage is 67%. The median gross sales are $2,147,824 and the median cost of sales is $691,594.

This means that a franchisee can expect to earn a gross profit of more than $1.4 million as franchises typically make a little less than corporate-owned restaurants. Finally, the median EBITDA after rent is $379,285 for a corporate-owned restaurant. A Wendy’s franchisee should expect to make around $300,000 for a typical Wendy’s location after accounting for royalty payments.

This means that depending on the financing method chosen to open a location a franchisee can expect to recoup their initial investment in anywhere from 2-10 years largely depending on how the store was financed.


Company Owned Restaurants

Traditional Company Owned Restaurants – P&L Breakout
Average Amount
(Min to Max)
% of Average Revenues
(Min to Max)
Number of Restaurants at or Above Average

(% Above Average)

Gross Sales $2,203,267


($1,158,899 to $4,192,494)






Cost of Sales $705,542

($401,850 to $1,276,370)



(28.2% to 36.6%)



Gross Profit $1,497,725
$1,452,308($737,712 to $2,916,124)


(63.4% to 71.8%)



Other Operating Expenses $1,054,828


($752,876 to $1,821,281)



(35.0% to 69.0%)



Restaurant EBITDA before Rent $442,898


(-$72,157 to $1,458,069)



(-5.4% to 36.1%)



Rent $48,041


(-$073,045 to $234,503)



(-2.6% to 12.9%)



Restaurant EBITDA after Rent $394,856


(-$200,188 to $1,458,069)



(-17.3% to 36.1%)



Additional Operating Expenses for Franchised Restaurant
Royalty (4% of Gross Sales) $88,131 N/A N/A

Overview of Franchised and Company-Owned locations

Outlet type Year Outlets at the Start of the Year Outlets at the End of the Year Net Change
Franchised 2019 5,457 5,495 +38
2020 5,495 5,520 +25
2021 5,520 5,535 +15
Company-Owned 2019 353 357 +4
2020 357 361 +4
2021 361 403 +42
Total Outlets 2019 5,810 5,852 +42
2020 5,852 5,881 +29
2021 5,881 5,938 +57


Based on the median profits and upfront investment of opening a Wendy’s franchise it is an excellent opportunity. Wendy’s franchise owner’s salary & compensation is about $300,000 per year. The national brand recognition Wendy’s has to offer and franchisees being able to recoup their initial investment within a couple of years make it a great opportunity.

However, opening a franchise is highly competitive, even if you meet the capital requirements. Wendy’s has very specific criteria they look for when granting licensing agreements most notably significant experience operating fast-food chains in the food and service industry.

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