Buying a franchise from an established company is a great way to start and open a business when you have capital but do not want to invest in building a brand. While franchise opportunities can include many different business types, one of the most popular options for new franchise buyers is a restaurant. A new restaurant or fast-food chain location provides easy access to new customers familiar with the brand and eager to sample its food again. Many popular eateries like Panera, Jimmy John's and Chik-fil-A offer franchise opportunities while others like Chipotle are exploring branching out into franchising.

Buying a franchise from an established company is a great way to start and open a business when you have capital but do not want to invest in building a brand…

While franchise opportunities can include many different business types, one of the most popular options for new franchise buyers is a restaurant. A new restaurant or fast-food chain location provides easy access to new customers familiar with the brand and eager to sample its food again. Many popular eateries like Panera, Jimmy John's and Chik-fil-A offer franchise opportunities while others like Chipotle are exploring branching out into franchising.

Obtaining a franchise is an expensive, complicated process. There are initial license fees and start-up costs and necessary annual contributions to the brand. To start a Panera Bread or Jimmy John's requires a franchise fee of $35,000 if you move past the application phase. Chik-fil-A's franchise fee is only $10,000, but the brand is highly selective when reviewing applications and few make the final cut. After start-up, the contract must be renewed periodically. At Chik-fil-A renewals happen annually while Jimmy John's franchise contracts are for 10 years initially and Panera Bread's for 20 years. 

Additional fees, such as royalty fees and ad fees are also charged to a franchise each year based on volume, or gross sales. Jimmy John's charges a 6 percent royalty fee and 4.5 percent ad fee while Panera Bread charges 5 percent and 3 percent, respectively. Chik-fil-A doesn't charge a royalty fee but does assess an ad fee of 3 percent. If you're thinking about opening a franchise but are unsure which restaurant makes the most business sense, use the following quiz to consider your options.