Many new restaurants open every year, proving how important dedicated investors are to the restaurant industry. They all have grit, determination, and inspiration. Passion isn’t the hard part. The hard part is understanding how to franchise a restaurant people love and hold onto that brand for years.

Opening a restaurant franchise is no small feat. Franchising, by definition, is duplicating a business plan with a robust future across multiple locations with predictable and—hopefully!—profitable results. In this article, we’ll create an example and describe the steps for how to open a restaurant franchise that lasts.

How to Franchise a Restaurant: Identify a Need

The first step in any business venture is finding your niche. We’re considering how to franchise a restaurant brand, so that’s where we begin.

We determine what type of restaurant the town best supports. We’ll create an example to follow a franchising restaurant brand’s journey.

Let’s presume we’re in a medium-sized market not that close to major urban centers. In this market, much of the town gets behind the local high school’s sports teams. Friday night football in the fall, basketball in winter, and baseball in spring keep people cheering them on most of the year.

Where do people go when the big game is over? Games are hours long, and people work up appetites cheering for their kids. Or maybe they’ve promised celebratory desserts after a big win.

Is there a restaurant open? If the answer is no, there’s the niche we need. A family-friendly restaurant that’s open late enough to accommodate post-game snacks or meals seems like a great start for how to franchise a restaurant.

It brings people together, gives them a place to hang out, and shows the town’s residents the business cares about giving their young people a safe place to go.

How to Franchise a Restaurant: Consider Your Market

Given we’re starting our how-to-own-a-restaurant franchise example in a smaller market, we should consider what precisely that means for franchising purposes.

Metropolitan cities like New York and Chicago are extremely competitive markets, so staying in the more rural, medium-sized markets can actually be an advantage despite the smaller population density. Consider the following:

  • Smaller markets mean fewer competitors.
  • More flexible locations with more affordable build-outs.
  • Customers become loyal to the restaurant because they don’t have to drive farther to enjoy their favorite foods from the menu.

Guests who eat at our example restaurant more frequently become very friendly, and familiarity grows with the staff and restaurant owners. The more the staff comes to know the regulars, the more they treat them like family, and the more the guests choose to eat at the restaurant.

As for expansion plans, by considering equal markets and non-traditional locations outside of major metro areas, we can expect the same guest loyalty.

Offering flexible franchise models such as travel plazas, restaurant conversions, end caps, or in-line franchise locations can make the initial buy-in more affordable to new investors. The more affordable the initial investment range, the more attractive the franchise package becomes to new restaurant entrepreneurs.

How to Franchise a Restaurant: Operate for the Long Term

Let’s now consider that our restaurant example has expanded this hometown brand of restaurants across several states. The restaurant has a reputation for being a great place to relax and get good food from family-friendly servers.

It’s time to bring the franchise to the next level and go nationwide. The question becomes getting more investors to ask how to buy a restaurant franchise.

Part of that involves ensuring new franchisees have everything they need to launch their new restaurant location as smoothly as possible. This entices new franchisees who see they can be confident going into their grand opening.

What else can our restaurant franchise do to help franchisees keep customers happy? Guests want the best food for the value, which means quality ingredients in plentiful portions for a fair price.

One way to ensure the quality is consistent from location to location is to centralize the source of the ingredients. By operating distribution centers within a certain distance of a number of the restaurant’s locations, the franchise can minimize quality control issues and keep the food standards high.

Distribution centers also maintain food supply levels, so there are fewer shortages among the franchise’s locations, even if there’s a shortage of ingredients nationwide. Keeping these levels stable allows the franchise to moderate menu prices both for customer satisfaction and franchise owner profitability. It’s a powerful feature to becoming a legacy brand in the journey of how to franchise a restaurant. 

How to Open a Huddle House Franchise Restaurant

The example above is exactly how Huddle House has grown from a small hometown restaurant brand from Decatur, Georgia in 1964 to a beloved nationwide restaurant franchise with more than 275 locations. And we’re still growing!

If you’re looking for how to franchise a restaurant, the answer lies with Huddle House. Many of our franchise owners come to us with previous restaurant experience, and the feedback on our franchise model is second to none.

A cornerstone of our franchise model is our franchisee support, which includes:

  • Extensive training to ensure our franchise owners have all the history and procedures needed to understand their Huddle House operation inside and out.
  • Site selection and build-out advice with demographic data and market analysis using decades of experience opening many Huddle House restaurants.
  • Marketing and advertising support from a nationwide legacy restaurant brand that pioneered the all-day breakfast menu to help drive business to all locations system-wide.
  • Supplier relations are based on decades of long relationships with our vendors. This also includes coverage within our distribution center network, which provides the Huddle House brand purchasing power and favorable pricing strategies for profitability, stable supplies, and quality control.

This is how Huddle House, an iconic, beloved hometown restaurant, has become the legacy brand in many American towns today and is an excellent roadmap for How to Franchise a Restaurant. 

Ready to become the next Huddle House franchise owner? Call us today or fill out the form on this page to get started!