Here's How Much Money You'd Need To Open An Au Bon Pain Franchise

The prospect of opening your own bakery café might seem tempting, but it's best not to be deceived by the allure of freshly baked bread and the sweet smell of cinnamon rolls in the morning. It takes much more than these delicious smells to make a successful business. There are so many things to consider when it comes to starting your own bakery, but what if someone else already did the work? Investing in a franchise can help ease some of the work you'd have to do on your own and provide an established system, which can help you achieve financial success faster. 

If you decide to go down the franchise route, the next decision is which bakery works best for you and what you're trying to achieve? There are a number of choices including Au Bon Pain, Auntie Anne's, and Panera Bread — all nationally recognized brands and all with a loyal built-in customer base, per Franchise Help. What it might come down to is how much all of this will cost. Here's what we found out.

The cost differences between franchises and starting your own

The cost to open your own bricks-and-mortar bakery can vary greatly depending on the location and size of the business. According to Zen Business, it could range from $62,500-$77,500. This takes into account licenses, insurance, employees, rent, cooking equipment, advertising, and branding.

Franchises, on the other hand, cost a lot more. A Dunkin' Donuts, for example, could set you back up to $1.4 million, per Zen Business. With a franchise, you're paying for the name and the reputation that those businesses have already built over many years of operation. Au Bon Pain — a name that actually means 'from good bread' – was founded in Boston in 1978, has 178 locations throughout the United States and Thailand, and is owned by AMPEX Brands, per Au Bon Pain. That's 44 years of reputation and a customer base already knowing what sort of goods you'll have, even before you open your doors. 

Au Bon Pain was originally owned by Panera Bread and that's why the menu might seem similar, but the franchise cost of Panera is approximately $100k more than buying into an Au Bon Pain. According to Franchise Help, an Au Bon Pain will set you back between $460k-$1.5 million. While there are no reports of the income an individual Au Bon Pain, Mobile-Cuisine, reported that Panera — which is similar — annually brings in approximately $2.47 million gross.