Here's How Much It Really Costs To Open A McDonald's Franchise

A special place in our hearts and tummies opens up when we see those golden arches on the horizon. There's a little corner of our memories that sparks up when we walk into a McDonald's: the smell of the french fries, biting into a Big Mac, and even dunking a chicken nugget into your sauce of choice. For many, McDonald's brings unquantifiable happiness to their lives, and you can be part of that, too. Owning a McDonald's-franchised restaurant can bring joy on many fronts — you can become your own boss and bring delicious joy to your local community. 

But, like all happiness, this comes at a cost. Owning this type of cheer can cost you a pretty penny initially, but you can reap some super-sized profits. Unlike Chick-fil-A, McDonald's initial franchise fee is much higher, but you do have more room to pocket your profits and own multiple locations. Owning more locations of one of the world's most successful fast food restaurant not only means more happiness to the masses, but also a happier wallet and bank account (via Investopedia).

How much do you need to dish up to own a McDonald's franchise?

Similar to owning a Del Taco franchise, you need to have a sufficient amount in liquid assets — a cool $500,000, to be exact (via McDonald's). According to Business Insider, McDonald's HQ requires all potential franchise applicants to have a minimum $500,000 in unborrowed capital and to pay an initial fee of $45,000 (that's more than Del Taco's $35,000 and Chick-fil-a's $10,000). It's estimated that the total investment cost for owning a franchise is between $1.26 million and $2.23 million. 

How is that cost calculated? Glad you asked. The total investment is tallied up by gathering the cost of location, size of the establishment, the equipment required inside, decor, landscaping, and signage. But let's not forget about the ongoing monthly franchise fee of 4 percent of gross sales you need to ship back to HQ, and monthly rent (you don't own the building, they do), which averages to about 10.7 percent that's pulled from total sales. 

Looking at the overall costs of owning a McDonald's can seem a little daunting, but when you figure in that you can earn up to $150,000 a year, some costs are worth paying (especially if you own several locations). So maybe in the end, there really is a price that can be put on happiness.