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- 2022 Franchise 500 Rank
#5 Ranked #5 last year
- Initial investment
$2.3M - $5.8M
- Units as of 2022
857 19.9% over 3 years
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Culver's franchise.
From their juicy burgers to their cheese curds to their frozen custard, Culver's covers many of the fan-favorites. Part of Culver's famous menu includes their signature ButterBurgers® and fresh frozen custard. Is your mouth watering yet? Let's bite into this delicious franchise.
Culver's runs on an owner-operator restaurant model. The franchise is based on four principles: hospitality, quality, freshness, and service to the community. All Culver's franchisees are expected to make sure every customer leaves happy. Since opening the first Culver's in 1984, the franchise has grown to more than 750 restaurants in 25 states.
Why You May Want to Start a Culver's Franchise
If you are a hands-on type of person, want to be engaged in the business, and strive to lead by example, then a Culver's franchise may be the right place for you. All franchisees are expected to act as owner-operators. That means you are in the restaurant full-time working alongside your employees. Culver's is not a place where the franchise and operator watch the goings-on from afar. Absentee ownership is not an option.
To be part of Culver's team, you should make sure you’re financially ready for an initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. In addition, ongoing fees will include advertising, royalty, or renewal fees. Franchisees will also need to meet the company's set liquid capital requirements.
What Might Make a Culver's Franchise a Good Choice?
With small-town roots, Culver's wishes to be a place for the whole family. Looking to provide a space that always makes you feel welcome, Culver’s can bring you a hearty burger along with a heartfelt smile. The Culver's experience may be one of a kind, as they serve up delicious food in a family-friendly atmosphere. Being able to franchise a Culver's allows you the opportunity to bring together your community.
Culver's also seeks to assist you every step of the way. When you are opening your restaurant, you are likely to receive training, help with ordering your equipment, and assistance with hiring your crew. Before your grand opening, a Culver's opening team will come to your location and remain with you for some weeks to ensure your opening goes smoothly.
How to Open a Culver's Franchise
Before making any financial commitment or signing an agreement, you must perform your due diligence and establish if this is the right opportunity for you. If you feel that opening a Culver's franchise is the right decision for you, submit an inquiry form. Speak to existing franchisees and ask questions directed to the Culver's team.
You also may want to reach out to an attorney or financial advisor to ensure that you have the financial stability to open a Culver’s franchise.
As you decide if you want to open a Culver's franchise, make sure you explore your local area to see if a Culver's would do well in your community. If there are many other restaurants that serve fan-favorites such as burgers and custard in your area, then you may want to reconsider your decision. If all goes well, you can start serving up that better brand of fast-casual food.
- Franchising Since
- 1988 (34 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is seeking new franchisees throughout the US.
- # of Units
- 857 (as of 2022)
Information for Franchisees
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Culver's franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
- Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $2,301,000 - $5,788,000
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
- $500,000 - $750,000
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- $10,000 off franchise fee
Definition: A discount or other incentive offered to military veterans who buy a franchise with this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 15 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
- Third Party Financing
- Culver's has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
- On-The-Job Training
- 550 hours
- Classroom Training
- 172 hours
- Ongoing Support
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresField OperationsSite SelectionProprietary SoftwareFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail Marketing
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
Definition: Absentee ownership means that the franchisee does not actively work in the franchise business or manage day-to-day operations.
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- # of employees required to run
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Culver's landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Culver's ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Ranked #5 in 2022
Franchise 500 Ranking
Ranked #88 in 2022
Ranked #72 in 2022
Fastest-Growing Franchises (U.S. & Canada)
Ranked #1 in Frozen Custard in 2021
Best of the Best
Ranked #1 in Frozen Custard in 2022
Top Food Franchises
Ranked #1 in 2022
#1 in Frozen Desserts: Custard Category
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse more franchises that are similar to Culver's.
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