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- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#47 Ranked #73 last year
- Initial investment
$150K - $189K
- Units as of 2023
1,512 15.9% over 3 years
About Kona Ice
More from Kona Ice
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Kona Ice franchise.
Have you ever wondered what the largest food truck company in the world looks like? Or how the largest food truck company in the world has ranked #1 in franchisee satisfaction by the Franchise Business Review 9 years in a row? It looks a little bit like this:
- A company of passionate, hardworking-employees dedicated to the Kona Ice brand day in and day out.
- A brand that is designed to be good, do good, for good.
- A business that supports and ranks #1 for culture, women, veterans, and more.
- A recession-proof business model that thrives during any economic season.
If you’ve dreamed of starting your own business and are looking to find an established company that’s fun, innovative, and dedicated to you, then look no further.
Tony Lamb founded Kona Ice in 2007, beginning to franchise the following year. The concept behind the shaved ice mobile truck is to provide the perfect texture of shaved ice in delicious flavors to parties, events, fundraisers, and any other location their ice trucks can reach.
There are over 1,500 Kona Ice franchises located throughout the United States to go along with multiple locations in Canada.
Why You May Want to Start a Kona Ice Franchise
Owning a Kona Ice franchise calls for a potential franchisee looking to run a business that will give them flexibility. With this franchise, you may get to dictate your working hours and enjoy the mobility and flexibility that comes with it. If you love to interact with people and have a fun, easy-going nature, then a Kona Ice franchise may be the right fit for you.
Opening a Kona Ice franchise may offer a more predictable outcome than investing in a completely new brand that could struggle to thrive in an already crowded and competitive industry.
Kona Ice has been ranked in Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 many times since its inception. 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 Kona Ice Franchise a Good Choice?
It is crucial to note that opening a Kona Ice franchise may serve as an excellent opportunity for franchisees who may not qualify for other high-investment ventures. The franchisor claims that its startup figures are quite affordable, and they strive to make it easier for you by including a full setup Kona Ice truck that is NSF-approved.
Once approved for a Kona Ice franchise, new franchisees will receive a multi-day all-expenses-paid trip to the Kona Ice headquarters in Florence, Kentucky for an immersive training experience. At Kona Kollege, franchisees will learn the ins and outs of running a Kona Ice franchise. A typical franchise agreement runs for ten years. Franchisees may be allowed to renew their agreement if they meet the company's requirements.
How To Open a Kona Ice Franchise
Before making any financial commitment or signing an agreement, you must perform your due diligence and establish if this is the right opportunity for you. As part of your due diligence, you may want to speak to existing franchisees and ask the Kona Ice franchising team any questions you might have.
To be part of the Kona Ice 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.
- Franchising Since
- 2008 (15 years)
- # of employees at HQ
- Where seeking
This company is offering new franchisees in the following US states: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Wyoming
This company is offering new franchisees in the following international regions: Canada, Mexico
- # of Units
- 1,512 (as of 2023)
Information for Franchisees
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a Kona Ice 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
- $149,995 - $189,300
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.
- 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?
- Third Party Financing
- Kona Ice 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.
- Classroom Training
- 30 hours
- Ongoing Support
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsGrand OpeningSecurity & Safety ProceduresLease NegotiationField OperationsProprietary SoftwareFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail Marketing
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.
- 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 Kona Ice landed on this year’s Franchise 500 Ranking versus previous years.
Curious to know where Kona Ice ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Ranked #47 in 2023
Franchise 500 Ranking
Ranked #37 in 2022
Ranked #196 in 2022
Top Global Franchises
Ranked #33 in 2022
Fastest-Growing Franchises (U.S. & Canada)
Ranked #1 in Miscellaneous Frozen Desserts in 2021
Best of the Best
Ranked #1 in Miscellaneous Frozen Desserts in 2022
Top Food Franchises
Ranked #1 in 2023
#1 in Frozen Desserts: Miscellaneous Category
Ranked #13 in 2022
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