Are you looking for a list of the best fast-food franchises to buy from this year?
At Del Taco, we understand it can be difficult to pick just one because there are so many different options to choose from.
In this article, we’ll take a look at thirty of the best fast-food franchises to own in no particular order.
We simply had to put ourselves on this list because of our freshly prepared menu, streamlined restaurant prototypes, and franchise opportunities in existing and untapped markets.
Since 1964, Del Taco has been serving freshly prepared, craveable food at an unbeatable value. This rare combination is one of the reasons we are the second largest brand in the Mexican Quick-Service Restaurant (QSR) Industry based on number of locations with nearly 600 restaurants across the U.S.
Our menu features tacos and burritos as well as burgers and fries. Plus, we span a full complement of dayparts from breakfast to dinner to late night and everything in-between.
Del Taco Menu Categories:
- Burgers & Fries
- Crispy Chicken
- Value Menu
- Fiesta Packs
Today, we have grown to +590 locations in +15 states thanks to our incredibly loyal fan base. We are aggressively expanding across the United States and currently seeking multi-unit restaurant operators.
To get started, please submit this form and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
McDonald’s is one of the most well-known fast-food franchises in the world. It’s hard to find anyone who isn’t familiar with their “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign.
They currently have more than 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants are owned and operated by independent local business owners.
The availability of restaurants in specific areas is uncertain until you’ve completed your franchisee training. You may be required to relocate to your nearest restaurant opportunity.
Chick-Fil-A was founded by Truett Cathy in Hapeville, GA. Today, it is one of the most successful fast-food restaurants in America.
There are more than 2,800 Chick-Fil-A restaurants in the U.S. and the state with the most units is Texas with 456 locations.
They are currently seeking hands-on franchise candidates in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada to own and operate their quick-service restaurant.
Taco Bell is one of the most well-known food shop franchises in the world. In 1962, their first location opened in Downey, California.
In the United States, Taco Bell and their franchisees operate over 7,200 restaurants that serve more than 40 million customers each week.
This makes Taco Bell the largest Mexican QSR concept in the world when it comes to their total number of restaurants.
Their brand is growing domestically and internationally with more than 1,000 restaurants located in 30 countries across the globe.
In 1969, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. It didn’t take long for their quick-service chain restaurant to become famous for square beef patties and Frosty desserts.
Today, they operate 7,000 restaurants worldwide and are looking for new and diverse franchisees to join their team.
They have a variety of limited and available markets throughout the U.S. with a focus on California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alabama, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.
For more than 70 years, Dunkin’ has been one of the top coffee and baked goods franchises in the United States.
It only took five years after Bill Rosenburg opened their first location in Quincy, MA for Dunkin’ to begin expanding their footprint with franchising.
Today, they have more than 11,000 locations worldwide with over 8,500 of those restaurants located in the USA.
Culver’s is a popular fast-food franchise known for their frozen custard, butterburgers, and cheese curds.
Since 1984, they have grown from their first location in Sauk City, Wisconsin to more than 800 restaurant locations in 25 different states.
They are looking for owner-operators with the skills to take a team of people and operate a Culver’s according to their high standards.
Crumbl is a growing cookie franchise that uses a tech-forward approach to bring people together over a box of cookies.
Their rotating menu features more than unique 200 flavors inspired by cakes, candies, pies, and desserts of all kinds.
Flavors rotate weekly to keep their customers coming back to try new flavors, stock up on returning favorites, or indulge in their classic recipes.
Jack in the Box
Jack in the Box offers a large and distinctive 24/7 menu with five dayparts. This means you can get anything on their menu at any time – day or night.
Their 1,350 square foot prototype features dual drive-throughs for higher order volume and a walk-up window for mobile orders to ensure you’re ready to serve today’s consumer.
Many of the legacy franchise brands you’re familiar with across the country don’t have whitespace availability like you’ll find at Jack in the Box.
This means you have an opportunity to grow a multi-unit portfolio with a brand that has supported their franchisees for more than 70 years.
Zaxby’s has seen a large amount of growth due to the success of their chicken fingers, chicken wings, chicken sandwiches, and chicken salads.
They have more than 900 locations in 18 different states with the majority of them located in the Southeastern United States.
Their headquarters is located in Athens, GA and they are currently looking for franchisees to expand their chicken restaurant into new territories.
Qdoba is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise that was founded in 1995 as “Zuma Fresh Mexican Grill” in Denver, CO.
Today, they have grown their Mexican franchise to over 700 locations across 47 different states along with Canada and Puerto Rico.
Their made-to-order menu features burrito bowls, quesadillas, and tacos. Plus, catering selections when you need to feed a large crowd.
Jimmy John’s is a sandwich franchise who takes pride in their hand-sliced cheeses and meats along with fresh baked bread.
This food shop franchise began operations more than 40 years ago and has grown into one of the fastest-growing chains in America.
Today, they have over 2,600 locations in 43 states with prime markets still available for new franchise development.
Moe’s Southwest Grill is a fast-casual Mexican restaurant franchise that was founded in Atlanta, GA by Raving Brands on December 9th, 2000.
The Moe’s menu is known for burritos, bowls, tacos, quesadillas, nachos, and salads. They even offer taco meal kits able to feed 4 to 6 people.
They’re looking for franchise owners interested in building a loyal following in their market while embracing their own independent spirit.
Freddy’s is a nostalgic fast-casual restaurant with cooked-to-order steakburgers, hot dogs, shoestring fries, and frozen custard.
They are one of the fastest-growing franchises in the United States with 400 locations around the world.
Currently, they offer exclusive territories that are available across the U.S. along with international opportunities.
WingStop specializes in chicken wings and tenders along with 11 different sauces like lemon pepper, hickory smoked BBQ, original hot, mango habanero, and atomic.
Their menu includes a variety of classic wings, boneless wings, and fries along with your choice of dipping sauces.
They currently have over 1,600 locations around the world with the majority of them in Texas, California, and Florida.
What started as a single taco stand in Cheyenne, WY has become one of the nation’s largest Mexican franchise restaurants.
More than 50 years later, they have grown to over 380 restaurants in 22 states with further plans to expand their taco franchise brand.
Taco John’s has available markets throughout the United States. Target areas include Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Kansas, and Missouri among others.
Arby’s is known as the second-largest sandwich restaurant brand in the world with more than 3,400 restaurants in eight different countries.
This food shop franchise focuses on serving quality food at affordable prices with the speed and convenience their guests love.
They are looking for people who are interested in being a part of the exciting culture this food shop franchise brand has created.
KFC, formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken, was founded by Harlan “Colonel” Sanders in 1930. They began franchising a few years later in 1952.
Since then, they’ve grown their chicken franchise to more than 25,000 locations across the world with most of their growth coming from outside the USA.
Close to 99% of their chicken restaurants are franchised and they bring in roughly $4.6 billion in U.S. sales each year.
The story of Whataburger began at a 24-hour burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. 70 years later, they have grown to more than 890 locations throughout the United States.
Their original idea was to serve a burger so big it took two hands to hold, and so good it caused customers to exclaim, “What a burger!” after their first bite.
Whataburger was family-owned until their recent acquisition by an investment company. This has allowed for more franchises to open in new markets.
Subway is one of the most well-known sub sandwich franchises in the world with more than 20,000 locations throughout the USA.
To complement their submarine sandwiches, this food shop franchise also sells wraps, salads, paninis, and baked goods like cookies, doughnuts, and muffins.
They are currently looking for potential franchisees with restaurant experience who can effectively operate multiple locations.
Domino’s is one of the most well-known pizza franchises in the United States with more than 19,000 restaurants around the world.
Did you know more than 95% of their franchisees in the USA started off as part-time pizza makers or delivery drivers?
Even today, you must have at least one year of experience as a general manager or supervisor before you can apply to join their internal Franchise Management School.
Burger King currently has more than 7,000 restaurants across the U.S. with opportunities for growth across the U.S. and international markets.
This burger franchise is known for creating signature recipes and providing family-friending dining experiences. Every day, more than 11 million guests visit Burger King restaurants around the world.
They empower franchisees with built-in support for ongoing operations along with training to gain access and know-how across all aspects of the business.
Teriyaki Madness is a fast-growing Japanese restaurant franchise with +130 locations in the United States of America.
Twenty years ago, this franchise got their start in Seattle where they became known by their authentic, Japanese teriyaki bowls.
Their bowls are made to order with fresh ingredients and a wide variety of sauces you can choose from.
Checkers & Rally’s
Not too long ago, these two burger franchises used to be independent drive-thru restaurants.
In 1999, Checkers acquired Rally’s and joined the two brands to create one unique franchise opportunity.
Both restaurants offer dual drive-thru lanes and operate with the same menu provided by the same distributors.
This food shop franchise is headquartered in Tampa, FL and have a combined 878 locations throughout the United States.
Dairy Queen is one of the most popular food franchises in the United States with more than 7,000 locations worldwide.
Since 1940, they have been creating memorable moments by serving food and sweet treats to their local communities.
DQ is currently looking for franchisees across the United States and Canada.
Jersey Mike’s is a sandwich franchise opportunity that serves jumbo subs filled with cold cuts and a variety of other toppings.
Since 1956, they have been focused on providing fresh and quality ingredients along with a pleasant experience to their customers.
They are looking for franchisees who are passionate about their concept, care about the local community, and recognize the value of their system.
Steak ‘N Shake
Steak ‘n Shake is an American casual restaurant famous for their steakburgers and milkshakes.
They operate 414 corporate restaurants with 214 franchised establishments for a total of 628 in the United States, Europe, and Middle East.
They are currently looking for “Franchise Partners” to take over operations for company-owned Steak ‘n Shake locations.
Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen is a fried chicken fast-food restaurant that was founded in 1972 in New Orleans, Louisiana.
They are famous for their spicy chicken, chicken tenders, fried shrimp, and other seafood items based on Cajun and Creole flavor profiles.
As of 2020, they have increased their number of chicken restaurants to nearly 3,500 in 46 states and 30 countries worldwide.
Smoothie King is a health-conscious franchise that serves blended drinks with fruits and veggies in a wide variety of combinations.
In 1973, founder Steve Kuhnau began experimenting with mixing real fruit, nutrients, and proteins in a blender at home.
Today, they have grown this smoothie franchise to more than 1,400 locations around the globe.
The story of Pizza Hut began over 60 years ago at a 500-square foot pizza restaurant in Kansas.
Today, they have more than 6,500 restaurants in the U.S. and employ over 150,000 team members.
Pizza Hut is looking for new franchisees who are ready to embrace their culture and commitment to quality food.
Check Out These Additional Resources
We hope this list of the best fast-food franchises to buy helped you narrow down your search.
At Del Taco, we serve freshly prepared, craveable food at an unbeatable value and are looking for franchisees who want to grow with our brand.
Here are some additional online resources you may like to check out:
- How Much Does a Del Taco Franchise Cost?
- What Are the Site Requirements for Del Taco?
- Which Taco Franchise Makes the Most Money?
If you have any questions, please contact our franchise sales and support team.