How much Chick-fil-A franchise owners really make per year

Even with the success of the chicken sandwich, Popeyes still doesn't have Chick-fil-A beat when it comes to America's most favorite fast food chain. Not even McDonald's can seem to touch Chick-fil-A in the brand satisfaction and customer loyalty category, according to QSR Magazine. When one considers just how popular the chicken chain is with American consumers, operating one of their franchises seems like it would be a pretty lucrative business endeavor.  

Owning a Chick-fil-A franchise comes with some different stipulations than the other fast food chains out there, however. Then again, part of what has made Chick-fil-A so successful is also what separates them from their competitors. For those who do manage to open a Chick-fil-A franchise — and getting one isn't easy — the income is very good.

Chick-fil-A operators make a really good income

As for how much a Chick-fil-A franchisee — excuse us, the company calls them "operators" — makes a year, well, that obviously can vary depending on the store. According to a Forbes article, in 2007, a single-store operator took home an average salary of $100,000. That's by no means bad, but 2007 was over a decade ago and Chick-fil-A's popularity has only grown since then. 

Most fast food companies don't make it widely known just how much their franchise owners earn a year, but that doesn't mean it's not possible to get a pretty good idea. According to the franchise information group, Franchise City, a Chick-fil-A operator today can expect to earn an average of around $200,000 a year. This calculation is based on the average restaurant's earnings and the 5 to 7 percent gross that operators take. The chicken business pays pretty well, but the tough part is actually getting the business. 

Chick-fil-A only approves a small percentage of franchise applications

Compared to other franchises, such as McDonald's, that ask for a $45,000 startup fee and liquid assets of $500,000, Chick-fil-A's $10,000 fee is a real bargain (via The Chicken Wire). There's a lot more to getting and operating a franchise, though, than simply coughing up 10 grand. 

"The barrier to entry for being a franchisee is never going to be money," Chick-fil-A spokesperson Amanda Hannah told Business Insider. The company is pretty picky about who they allow to run their restaurants, and looks at an applicant's involvement within the community with a fine-tooth comb. To put into perspective just how few people make the cut, every year Chick-fil-A gets around 20,000 inquiries about opening a franchise, but Hannah said only between 75 and 80 are selected. 

Just like Five Guys and McDonald's, Chick-fil-A has its own requirements for franchisees. On the plus side, operators do get Sundays off