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- 2023 Franchise 500 Rank
#48 Ranked #40 last year
- Initial investment
$394K - $2.2M
- Units as of 2022
516 14.2% over 3 years
Here’s what you need to know if you’re interested in opening a McAlister's Deli franchise.
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.
About McAlister's Deli
- 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
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
- $393,500 - $2,187,450
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
- $1,000,000 - $1,900,000
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
- $425,000 - $930,000
Definition: The minimum liquid capital you must have available in order to qualify to become a franchisee of this company.
- Veteran Incentives
- $15,500 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?
- 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
NewsletterMeetings & ConventionsToll-Free LineGrand OpeningOnline SupportSecurity & Safety ProceduresLease NegotiationField OperationsSite SelectionProprietary SoftwareFranchisee Intranet Platform
- Marketing Support
Co-op AdvertisingAd TemplatesNational MediaRegional AdvertisingSocial MediaSEOWebsite DevelopmentEmail MarketingLoyalty Program/App
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.
- # 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 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.
Curious to know where McAlister's Deli ranked on other franchise lists? Find out below.
Are you eager to see what else is out there? Browse franchises that are similar to McAlister's Deli.
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