Signing out of account, Standby...
- 2022 Franchise 500 Rank
#52 Ranked #88 last year
- Initial investment
$189K - $2.2M
- Units as of 2021
12,095 47.8% over 3 years
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Circle K franchise.
Circle K is a chain of convenience stores with a significant presence in the U.S., as well as more than ten countries worldwide. This company can trace its roots back to Fred Hervey's three food stores back in 1951. He quickly developed them into a chain store that spread across the US. Since they began to offer franchising opportunities in 1995, they have grown to include more than 600 franchised stores in the U.S. Circle K also has more than 2000 locations outside of the United States.
Why You May Want to Start a Circle K Franchise
Circle K offers a high degree of flexibility to its franchisees. For example, you can choose whether to add fuel options or quick-serve restaurants to your location. They also encourage each site to customize its product offerings to suit the needs of the community. There is a strong support team available to help make choices about store layout and products.
As a franchisee, you'll be entitled to receive business assistance and consistent system-wide messaging from the parent company. Moreover, you'll have a centralized purchasing power that gives access to quality equipment and training, as well as established relationships between vendors and the franchise.
What Might Make Circle K a Good Choice?
This franchise has a well-established chain of stores with proven stability over time. Circle K locations are predominantly in the southern and western states in the US, with an overseas presence in Japan, Guam, Mexico, and China, and more. The company is still looking to grow and will offer training to its new franchisees. Here you'll have the advantage of covering new market areas.
To be part of the Circle K team, you should make sure you’re financially ready for an initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. You should also be prepared for ongoing fees, including advertising fees and royalty fees. Franchisees will also need to meet the company's set net worth and liquid capital requirements. The company may be able to provide financing for equipment costs.
How to Open a Circle K Franchise
If you seek to start a franchise under Circle K, the process involves being granted a license through one of its subsidiaries, TMC Franchise Corporation. This license will be an agreement for the right to operate a convenience store under the brand name. You'll get the complete package for hosting such a business: adequate floor space, parking lot, and inventory. The aim is to allow you as the franchisee to operate a full-fledged store under the company brand name based on set rules and regulations in the agreement between the franchisor and franchisee.
Once you've begun the official process of becoming a franchisee, a franchise agreement may be issued for your preferred store location after your application has been reviewed and approved. After approval, a site development team will help customize your store location and buy fixtures and equipment. A marketing team will then help you establish vendor accounts and optimize your merchandising plans. At the end of these processes, you can start up your Circle K franchise.
About Circle K
- Franchising Since
- 1995 (27 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is seeking new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is seeking new franchisees in the following international regions: Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Middle East, Central America, Canada, South America, Mexico
- # of Units
- 12,095 (as of 2021)
Information for Franchisees
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Circle K franchise.
Financial Requirements & Ongoing Fees
Here’s what you can expect to spend to start the business and what ongoing fees the franchisor charges throughout the life of the business.
- Initial Franchise Fee
Definition: The initial fee paid to a franchisor to join their system
What you need to know: Found in Item 5 of the FDD, this may be a flat fee, or may vary based on territory size, experience, or other factors.The franchise fee is an up-front (one-time) cost that a new franchisee pays to the franchisor. This fee is usually due at the signing of the franchise agreement and covers the right to use the franchisor's trademarks, name, and related business systems.
- Initial Investment
- $189,250 - $2,204,150
Definition: The total amount necessary to begin operation of the franchise
What you need to know: The initial investment includes the franchise fee, along with other startup expenses such as real estate, equipment, supplies, business licenses, and working capital. This is outlined in a chart in Item 7 of the FDD, showing a range of possible costs from low to high.
- Net Worth Requirement
Definition: The minimum net worth you must have in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company
What you need to know: Net worth is the value of a person's assets minus liabilities. Assets include cash, stocks, retirement accounts, and real estate. Liabilities include items like mortgages, car payments, and credit card debt.
- Cash Requirement
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- 10% off franchise fee
Definition: A discount or other incentive offered to military veterans who buy a franchise with this company.
- Royalty Fee
Definition: A ongoing fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis.
What you need to know: Most franchisors require franchisees to pay an ongoing royalty fee, which is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD. This fee is typically a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales, but may also be a flat weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Ad Royalty Fee
Definition: An going fee paid to the franchisor on a regular basis to support advertising or marketing efforts.
What you need to know: This may also be called advertising fee, marketing fee, brand fund fee, and more, but the basic purpose is the same-- to support promotion of the brand systemwide. As with the royalty fee, it is detailed in Item 6 of the FDD, and can be a percentage of weekly or monthly gross sales or a weekly, monthly, or annual fee.
- Term of Agreement
- 10 years
Definition: The length of time your franchise agreement will last.
What you need to know: Franchise terms are typically anywhere from 5 to 20 years in length, but are sometimes instead dependent on factors such as the term of your lease. Once your term is up, you may have the option to renew your agreement, typically for a smaller fee than the original franchise fee.
- Is franchise term renewable?
Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.
- In-House Financing
- Circle K offers in-house financing to cover the following: equipment
- Third Party Financing
- Circle K has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: equipment
Training & Support Offered
Franchisors offer initial training programs and a variety of ongoing support options to help franchisees run their businesses.
- On-The-Job Training
- 32 hours
- Classroom Training
- 48 hours
- Ongoing Support
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsToll-Free LineGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresField OperationsSite SelectionFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail MarketingLoyalty Program/App
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
Definition: Absentee ownership means that the franchisee does not actively work in the franchise business or manage day-to-day operations.
- Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Definition: The business can be run from your home and/or a vehicle, and it is not necessary to have a retail facility, office space, or warehouse.
- Can this franchise be run part time?
Definition: This business can be run by the owner on a part-time basis (less than 40 hours per week) and/or as a side business; it is not necessary for the business to be open/run full-time.
- # of employees required to run
- Are exclusive territories available?
Definition: An exclusive territory is a fixed area in which you are given the right to operate and in which no other units of the same franchise may be opened.
What you need to know: Territory size may be based on factors such as radius, population size, zip codes, and more. Details can be found in Item 12 of the FDD.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Circle K landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Circle K ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse more franchises that are similar to Circle K.
Related Franchise Content
Catch up on the latest franchise news, trends, and more.
'Entrepreneur' editor-in-chief Jason Feifer sat down with 'Bar Rescue' host Jon Taffer to discuss his new book, 'The Power of Conflict,' in which he shares illuminating insights on running a business, maintaining consistency in franchising and where to put your money when it comes to marketing.
Back in 2018, Eric Mason made headlines when he began paying his employees a "living wage." On this side of the great recession, his experience could be a roadmap for other fast food franchises.
No commute? No problem. Home-based and mobile franchises are an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to franchise, but stay close to home.
Don't forget to support your local franchisees during National Small Business Week. Here's how these five franchisees thrive as small business owners and inspire their communities.