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

Culver's, the Wisconsinite fast casual chain known for its butterburgers, custard, french fries, and more is expanding. To that end, depending on if you live within the market areas they intend to tap, you too can own a Culver's outlet.

For those interested in such a prospect, Culver's includes a list of FAQs concerning franchise opportunities. To qualify, you must own $350,000 in liquid assets, though this goes up to $600,000 in cases where the franchisee intends to own the building, real estate, and equipment. Then, you must pay $55,000 for a franchise fee that grants you a 15-year agreement with Culver's. Later, you may renew it for 10 years after a second fee of $30,000. This doesn't include equipment and other such miscellaneous items. 

Once the franchise is established, Culver's then takes a royalty fee equalling 4 percent of gross sales. Franchises must also contribute 2.5 percent for corporate's advertising and spend at least 1 percent each year on advertisements within their own Culver's area. In all, then, Culver's offers a pretty run-of-the-mill franchising agreement.

Culver's could be a good bet

For those looking for a brand displaying signs of health, Culver's has shown a steady rate of growth in recent years. As Restaurant Business reported in 2019, between 2013 and the end of 2016, system sales increased by 74 percent. Moreover, the piece notes that only two Culver's outlets had closed in the previous 35 years, with Culver's CFO crediting the fact that they focus on signing agreements with owner-operators, rather than absentee franchise holders. 

Nor has the pandemic had a negative impact upon Culver's growth. In fact, WisBusiness, a Wisconsin-centric news site, claimed that Culver's saw a further 4 percent increase in sales and opened 50 new restaurants. The biggest spur for this was the drive-thrus, which have seen a surge of business during the pandemic. "Where would have we been without the drive-thru? Well, we would have been in the same position as everybody else who has spoke [about restaurant closures] today," Craig Culver, co-founder and former CEO, stated, admitting that Culver's had not prepared even close to adequately for online ordering. 

So, Culver's has set itself up as a good partner for people looking to join in the business. However, as mentioned, these franchises are only available in certain locations, primarily the Midwest, some of the Southwest, and most of the Southeast. Those on the coasts will have to wait.