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2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#48 Ranked #40 last year
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Initial investment
$394K - $2.2M
Units as of 2022
516 14.2% over 3 years

McAlister's Deli is a community and family-oriented casual restaurant chain. Started in 1989 by Don Newcomb in Oxford, Mississippi, the brand still serves traditional favorites: 13-layer club sandwiches, spuds, and its famous 32 oz. sweet tea.

The idea behind McAlister's Deli menu is simple: serve food that everyone, even the pickiest eater, will enjoy. The restaurant takes familiar flavors and popular classics and adds a special twist. It's one of many reasons why families eat out at McAlister's Deli, and franchisees take on the franchising opportunity. 

Since beginning to franchise in 1994, McAlister’s Deli has grown to over 430 franchises located in the United States. It is seeking to expand even further.

Why You May Want to Start a McAlister's Deli Franchise

A potential McAlister's Deli franchisee should be a hardworking, community-oriented leader. Franchisees may be better suited to the company if they genuinely believe that giving back improves communities. The company will most likely prefer that its franchisees have prior business experience, ideally in restaurants.

McAlister's Deli has been ranked in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 many times in recent years. This ranking is based on an evaluation of more than 150 data points in the areas of costs and fees, size and growth, franchisee support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability.

What Might Make a McAlister's Deli Franchise a Good Choice?

What may make McAlister's Deli a unique restaurant franchise is its emphasis on genuine hospitality and brand values. A franchisee should expect to commit themselves to the role of host and representative. McAlister's Deli often does community outreach, giving back to churches, schools, and other non-profits.

The company also uses ethically sourced ingredients, including Rainforest Alliance Certified cane sugar and tea leaves in their sweet tea, local produce, and genuine Idaho russet potatoes. Kitchens may be minimalistic, with no grills or fryers needed. This may make it easier for franchisees to hire and manage staff, monitor food quality, and keep up with food trends and new menu items.

To be part of the McAlister's Deli team, you should make sure you're financially ready for an initial investment made up of a franchise fee and other startup costs. In addition, you should prepare yourself for ongoing fees that will include advertising, royalty, and potential renewal fees. Franchisees will also need to meet the company's set net worth and liquid capital requirements. 

If accepted into the franchise family, the company may expect a franchisee to open multiple locations within several years.

How To Open a McAlister's Deli Franchise

To open a McAlister's Deli franchise, you should conduct thorough research into the local market, potential locations, and the company itself. Once you've decided to open the franchise, you'll contact a franchise representative who will begin the screening process. Be prepared to ask the company and existing franchisees questions as part of your due diligence. If you meet all the requirements, the company will call you in for discovery day and training. 

Training usually lasts several weeks and covers menu items, operational standards, and other brand values. Franchisees most likely will train on-site at a McAlister's Deli location as well. Once ready, the company typically provides development and real estate support and marketing services. Franchisees will also have access to pre-established vendors and the McAlister's Deli IT team. 

Soon, you may find yourself the owner of the newest McAlister’s Deli franchise.

Find Your Perfect Franchise

Company Overview

About McAlister's Deli

Related Categories
Miscellaneous Sandwiches, Sandwiches
Parent Company
Focus Brands
Mike Freeman, Chief Brand Officer
Corporate Address
5620 Glenridge Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30342

Business Overview

Franchising Since
1994 (29 years)
# of employees at HQ
Where seeking

This company is offering new franchisees throughout the US.

This company is offering new franchisees worldwide.

# of Units
516 (as of 2022)

Information for Franchisees

Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a McAlister's Deli 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
$15,500 - $35,500
Initial Investment
$393,500 - $2,187,450
Net Worth Requirement
$1,000,000 - $1,900,000
Cash Requirement
$425,000 - $930,000
Veteran Incentives
$15,500 off franchise fee
Royalty Fee
Ad Royalty Fee
Term of Agreement
20 years
Is franchise term renewable?
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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
McAlister's Deli 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
250 hours
Classroom Training
50 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
National Media
Regional Advertising
Social Media
Website Development
Email Marketing
Loyalty Program/App


Additional details about running this franchise.

Is absentee ownership allowed?
Can this franchise be run from home/mobile unit?
Can this franchise be run part time?
# of employees required to run
Are exclusive territories available?
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Interested in ownership opportunities like McAlister's Deli? Request a free consultation with a Franchise Advisor now.

Franchise 500 Ranking History

Compare where McAlister's Deli 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