- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#148 Ranked #157 last year
- Initial investment
$111K - $518K
- Units as of 2022
358 0.6% 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.
- Franchising Since
- 1947 (2023-1947 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.
This company is offering new franchisees in the following international regions: Africa, Asia, Middle East, Europe (Eastern), Europe (Western), Central America, Canada, South America, Mexico
- # of Units
- 358 (as of 2022)
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
- $5,500 - $30,500
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
- $111,250 - $518,400
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
- $50,000 - $675,000
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
- $20,000 - $300,000
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- $10,500 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
- 20 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.
- 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
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsToll-Free LineGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresLease NegotiationField OperationsSite SelectionProprietary SoftwareFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Ad TemplatesSocial MediaSEOEmail Marketing
Additional details about running this franchise.
- Is absentee ownership allowed?
- 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.
Interested in ownership opportunities like Carvel? Request a free consultation with a Franchise Advisor now.
Franchise 500 Ranking History
Compare where Carvel landed on this year's Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Carvel ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Ranked #148 in 2023
Entrepreneur’s 44th annual Franchise 500® ranking shines a light on the unique challenges and changes that have shaped the franchise industry over the last year—and how franchisors have adapted and evolved to meet them.
Ranked #29 in 2023
Check out the top franchises that offer you the freedom of working from home or on-the-go.
Ranked #117 in 2023
If you're interested in an opportunity with international appeal, start your search with our ranking of the top franchises seeking to expand outside the U.S.
Ranked #4 in Ice Cream in 2022
Our annual list of the top restaurant and other food franchises, divided up by category, is the perfect place to start if you’re craving a food-based business opportunity.
Ranked #24 in 2023
Buying a franchise on a budget? No problem. Here are the top franchises that can be started for less than $150,000. For more low-cost opportunities, see our lists of franchises that can be started for less than $50,000 and less than $100,000.
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