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Franchise 500 2023
2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#148 Ranked #157 last year
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Initial investment
$68K - $536K
Units as of 2023
352 Increase 0.0% over 3 years

For nearly 90 years, Carvel has maintained a reputation for being a premier brand of ice cream. Millions of people love the brand's ice cream and their specialty ice cream cakes. With such a vast market for its products, Carvel has become one of the country's best in the ice cream industry.

Tom Carvel started the first Carvel ice cream shop in 1934. Eventually, Carvel's shop went on to become the most reputable ice cream parlor in New York. He began franchising the brand in 1947 and had over 100 locations by 1951.

Carvel now operates under the FOCUS brands banner. Thousands of restaurants and parlors exist under the FOCUS brands, with some of the most famous and prominent franchises under the brand including Seattle's Coffee and Cinnabon. Being the best employer is one of FOCUS brands' core values. This means that they are willing to go the extra mile to ensure you are well-positioned to succeed as a Carvel franchise.

Why You May Want to Start a Carvel Franchise

By starting a Carvel franchise, you become part of a family of franchisees who enjoy their job while maintaining year-round business. Carvel only requires their ideal franchise candidates to be savvy business people with experience in-store management and marketing.

If you possess leadership skills, that is an added advantage. However, Carvel also trains individuals with little to no skills in running a business. Having these skills only improves your chances of engaging in better business practices earlier in your new ice cream career.

Carvel also allows for absentee ownership, meaning that you can hire employees and operate in a more hands-off manner once you get the franchise up and running.

What Might Make a Carvel Franchise a Good Choice?

Today, the vast majority of households in America consume ice cream regularly. With such a market, Carvel has remained focused on doing what they strive to do best, and that is serving the freshest ice cream in the country. This puts franchisees in an enviable position with their Carvel franchise.

To drive incremental sales, Carvel has introduced an online cake ordering system. Franchisees are often encouraged to sell the core product line and try new products, such as original cakes for their specific area.

To be part of the Carvel team, you should make sure you’re financially ready for an initial investment that will include a franchise fee and other startup costs. You should also be prepared for ongoing costs, which will include advertising, royalty, and potential renewal fees. 

How Do You Start a Carvel Franchise?

To start the process with Carvel, you will need to fill out the request for consideration form. You will briefly describe your business background, liquid assets, and net worth on this request form. After reviewing your request form, a regional franchise sales director may get in touch with you.

If contact is made, you can then request a Carvel Franchise Disclosure Document, which you will review, sign, and hand over to the sales director. If you find the opportunity appealing, complete the franchise application form, after which you may receive the franchise agreement. After five days, you can sign and return the franchise agreement with all the required documentation and confirm your interest by paying the franchise fee. Carvel will return a countersigned copy of the contract to you, and a team will be assigned to help you open the store. Soon, you will be scooping delicious ice cream in your Carvel franchise location. 

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Company Overview

About Carvel

Industry Food
Related Categories Ice Cream, Ices
Founded 1934
Parent Company Focus Brands LLC
Leadership Jim Salerno, Chief Brand Officer
Corporate Address 5620 Glenridge Dr. N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30342
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1947 (76 years)
# of employees at HQ 57
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.

This company is offering new franchisees in the following international regions: Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Middle East, Europe (Eastern), Europe (Western), Central America, Canada, South America, Mexico

# of Units 352 (as of 2023)

Information for Franchisees

Here's what you need to know if you're interested in opening a Carvel 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 Information Circle
$5,500 - $30,500
Initial Investment Information Circle
$67,875 - $536,400
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
Cash Requirement Information Circle
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
$10,500 off franchise fee
Royalty Fee Information Circle
Ad Royalty Fee Information Circle
Term of Agreement Information Circle
20 years
Is franchise term renewable? Yes
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Financing Options

Some franchisors offer in-house financing, while others have relationships with third-party financing sources to which they refer qualified franchisees.

Third Party Financing Carvel has relationships with third-party sources which offer financing to cover the following: franchise fee, startup costs, equipment, inventory, accounts receivable, payroll

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 16-77 hours
Classroom Training 16-30 hours
Ongoing Support
Meetings & Conventions
Toll-Free Line
Grand Opening
Online Support
Security & Safety Procedures
Lease Negotiation
Field Operations
Site Selection
Proprietary Software
Franchisee Intranet Platform
Marketing Support
Co-op Advertising
Ad Templates
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed? No
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit? Information Circle
Can this franchise be run part time? Information Circle
# of employees required to run 2-6
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where Carvel landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.

Additional Rankings

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The information on this page is not intended as an endorsement or recommendation of any particular franchise or business opportunity by Entrepreneur Media. Our listings and rankings are solely research tools you can use to compare opportunities. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing in a franchise or business opportunity. That should include reviewing the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to former and current franchisees/licensees/dealers.
Updated: December 12th, 2022