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

If you are craving a delicious handcrafted sandwich or a thirst-quenching glass of sweet tea, you may want to head to McAlister’s Deli.

Known for its fantastic food and famous sweet tea, McAlister’s Deli is the go-to place for a delicious meal in a casual dining environment.

Continue reading for everything you need to know about becoming a McAlister’s Deli franchisee.

What is McAlister’s Deli?

Started in 1989, McAlister’s Deli is a fast-casual restaurant franchise known for its top-notch customer service. This franchise is well known for its vast menu, including handcrafted sandwiches, baked potatoes, soups, salads, desserts and world-famous sweet tea.

Offering more than just a sit-down dining experience, they also provide take-out services and catering options.

Consisting of more than 500 restaurants in 27 states, with the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, GA, this is an excellent franchise opportunity worth looking into.

Related: Franchisees and Licensees | What's the Difference? | Buying a Franchise |

How do you start a McAlister’s Deli franchise?

There is a six-step process to be approved to open a McAlister’s Deli franchise. Continue reading to learn everything that is involved in becoming a McAlister’s Deli franchise owner:

1. Request more info

The first step is to contact McAlister’s Deli by filling out the inquiry form on their website for free info on this business opportunity.

2. Introductory call

Once the franchisor receives your franchise request, a team member will contact you to review your goals and ensure you meet the franchisee requirements. This is where they will also discuss whether you are interested in a single or multi-unit franchise opportunity.

3. Get to know the brand

During this step, you will talk to the sales team. They will review the franchise information in more detail, including franchisee requirements. This is the ideal time to ask any questions you might have.

4. Review the paperwork

This is the step where you will fill out the franchise application and review the Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD).

5. Final research

It is paramount that both the franchisor (Focus Brands Inc.) and the franchisee feel that this will be a good fit. 

At this stage, applicants are encouraged to talk to existing franchise owners before committing to signing an agreement. The franchisor might also request that you attend an in-person interview before it is mutually decided whether to move forward.

6. Finalize the agreement

Once both parties have signed the franchise agreement, everything is completed – you are officially a McAlister’s Deli franchise member.

Related: Should You Buy a Franchise or Start Your Own Small Business? Ask Yourself These 5 Questions First.

What costs are associated with starting a McAlister’s Deli franchise?

Numerous costs and fees are associated with any franchise opportunity. To better understand the financial requirements of opening a McAlister’s Deli franchise, continue reading for a breakdown of the franchise costs:

  • Initial franchise fee: $35,000.
  • Total initial investment: $927,900 to $1,565,900.
  • Minimum liquid capital: $425,000.
  • Working capital: $25,000 to $50,000.
  • Minimum net worth: $1,000,000.
  • Royalty fee: 5.0%.

Related: Franchise Fees: The Money Question That Can Make or Break Your Franchise | Entrepreneur

What is McAlister’s Deli looking for in a franchisee?

There are a few characteristics that McAlister’s Deli is looking for when approving a franchisee. They are ideally looking for:

  • Individuals that have previous restaurant business experience and the knowledge necessary to succeed.
  • Someone who is a people person and realizes that superior customer service is the key to any successful restaurant franchise.
  • Individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit, have big dreams and the work ethic to achieve them.

Related: 10 Franchises Reveal What They Look for in a Franchisee | Entrepreneur

What are the benefits of opening a McAlister’s Deli franchise?

There are numerous benefits when you take advantage of this business opportunity and open your McAlister’s Deli franchise.

Continue reading for a few of the benefits McAlister’s Deli restaurant owners can expect to receive.

Simple operations

Setting them apart from many other restaurant franchises is that they don’t require grills, fryers, early mornings, or late nights. This means franchise owners can save on equipment and utilities and have a better work-life balance.

Multiple ways to enjoy

McAlister's Deli offers customers numerous ways to enjoy their food, offering dine-in, takeout, online ordering, catering and a pick-up window for their convenience.

Building process

To help with the initial building process, you may receive help choosing the best McAlister’s Deli location. This can include real estate help with selecting the perfect site selection and help with the construction process as well.


New franchise owners will partake in a classroom-based job training program to receive hands-on experience concerning the menu, business operations and diving into the basics of the hospitality industry.

Franchise support

When you open a new franchise, a specialized business consultant will be by your side every step of the way to ensure your business is running smoothly. You will also have a supply chain team to assist you in managing your spending.

Marketing support

With the help of a field marketing manager, you will participate in national marketing campaigns and create a local marketing plan. They will also assist you in promoting your business on social media.

Related: Why You Should Buy a Franchise Instead of Starting Your Own | Entrepreneur

Does McAlister’s Deli offer franchisees exclusive territory?

Yes. McAlister's Deli grants its franchisees the exclusive right to operate within a clearly defined geographic area. This eliminates the possibility of unnecessary competition between locations and encourages franchisees to invest in local marketing efforts and community engagement. 

This exclusivity enables entrepreneurs to establish a solid local presence, bolster customer loyalty and develop a deep understanding of their market's unique needs and preferences.

In addition to these benefits, territory exclusivity allows for better resource allocation and streamlined operations. With a clear delineation of responsibilities, franchisees can optimize their supply chain and reduce the time and costs of managing multiple locations. 

Moreover, McAlister's Deli's comprehensive support system ensures that franchisees receive the guidance they need to navigate the challenges of territory management.

By granting entrepreneurs the exclusive right to operate within a specific area, McAlister's Deli empowers its franchisees to focus on building a robust business that delivers exceptional customer experiences while reaping the benefits of a loyal and growing customer base.

What training does McAlister’s Deli provide?

Before opening your franchise, four managers for a traditional restaurant and two managers for an express restaurant must complete the management training program.

The management training program consists of in-person classroom training and takes approximately five to six weeks to complete. All required staff must complete the program to the franchisor’s satisfaction.

Once the franchisee receives the Certificate of Occupancy for their restaurant, the company will send them at least one representative to help prepare the restaurant for the grand opening.

Related: Will Train For Good | Franchise Training Program |

What is the average income potential for a McAlister’s Deli franchise?

McAlister’s Deli has ranked multiple times in Entrepreneur’s Franchise 500 list, been awarded Newsweek’s Best Customer Services award and ranked in FranchiseTimes Top 500. When you open a McAlister’s Deli franchise, you know you are backed by a company that knows what they are doing.

In 2022, the average net sales per franchise was an astounding $1,922,992 showing just what a wise business investment this can be.

Related: Looking to Figure Out How Much You'll Make as a Franchisee? Consider These Factors. | Entrepreneur

What is McAlister’s Deli loyalty program?

When you open a franchise with McAlister’s Deli, you partner with a company that knows the restaurant industry and how to market it successfully.

Rewarding customers and increasing sales go hand-in-hand with their loyalty program. The program details are as follows:

  • For every dollar spent, the customer receives ten points.
  • When a customer reaches 500 points, they receive a complimentary beverage or a kid’s meal.
  • With 1,000 points, the customer can choose a free side, cup of soup, or dessert option.
  • When customers redeem 1,500 points, they can choose a free entree with a sandwich, salad, spud, or two options.

Related: Why Trust and Incentives Help Consumers With Better Brand Selection | Entrepreneur

Start a McAlister’s franchise today

If you are looking at getting into the restaurant franchise business and are looking for a franchise that is backed by excellent corporate support, is known for its superior customer service and offers a variety of healthy, fresh menu options, then opening a McAlister’s Deli franchise just might be for you.

Check out Entrepreneur’s other articles for more information about McAlister’s Deli and other franchise opportunities.




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Company Overview

About McAlister's Deli

Industry Food
Related Categories Miscellaneous Sandwiches, Sandwiches
Founded 1989
Parent Company Focus Brands
Leadership Mike Freeman, Chief Brand Officer
Corporate Address 5620 Glenridge Dr.
Atlanta, GA 30342
Social Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram

Business Overview

Franchising Since 1994 (2023-1994 years)
# of employees at HQ 71
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 Information Circle
$15,500 - $35,500
Initial Investment Information Circle
$393,500 - $2,187,450
Net Worth Requirement Information Circle
$1,000,000 - $1,900,000
Cash Requirement Information Circle
$425,000 - $930,000
Veteran Incentives Information Circle
$15,500 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 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? 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 40
Are exclusive territories available? Information Circle
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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