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Franchises

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

You can open a top food franchise for less than you think.
Ben and Jerry's
This story originally appeared on GOBankingRates

Want to own your own business? It takes less start-up capital than you think.

The beauty of owning a franchise is that it lets you open a business without developing it from scratch. Top franchises like McDonald’s go for top dollar. The fast-food giant requires potential franchisees to have a minimum of $500,000 of cash on hand, and there are other associated fees to consider, too.

Related: 10 States With the Most Millionaires

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have half a million dollars in your back pocket to invest in a business. There are low-cost franchises, and many are household names. GOBankingRates rounded up 10 food franchises that require $100,000 or less in cash, according to Franchise Direct, a company that helps potential franchisees find business opportunities. Click through to see the franchise openings, and learn success strategies for new entrepreneurs.

(By Lia Sestric)

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

1. Le Macaron French Pastries

Le Macaron

They're sweet, light and eye-catching. Join the trend that's spreading across the U.S. and open up your own macaron shop. In addition to the low start-up costs, you won't have to sweat the baking details, either. All baking is done by French chefs at the company's central pastries commissary.

A total net worth of just $150,000 is required to be considered for a Le Macaron franchise. The franchise fee is $45,000, and the total investment range for a traditional cafe is $146,000-$373,500. An even more affordable option is to open a cart or kiosk as part of a shopping mall. That total investment requirement tops out at $127,000.

There are currently more than 50 Le Macaron shops open across the country, and the company is actively looking to expand its footprint in California, with the goal of opening 15 new locations in the next two years.

  • Liquid assets required: $75,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

2. Jimmy John’s

Mike Mozart | Flickr.com

If you’ve ever had a Jimmy John’s gourmet sandwich, then you know they’re simply delicious. Now, you can be a part of the winning franchise with as little as $80,000.

You can expect to pay an initial $35,000 franchise fee. In all, plan to invest between $329,500 and $557,500. You’ll also need to have a net worth of $300,000. Even with lower start-up costs, you'll likely need a small business credit card, and other entrepreneurs have recommended their favorite cards.

Average 2016 annual sales per Jimmy John's restaurant were $1,170,866, and the average net profit was $121,961. Currently, there are over 2,000 locations across the U.S. Entrepreneur named Jimmy John's the fifth-best franchise to own.

  • Liquid assets required: $80,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

3. Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt

Joanna Santos | Flickr.com

Menchie's is the world’s largest self-serve frozen yogurt franchise, with more than 540 locations open worldwide. While the industry isn't seeing the same stratospheric growth it was experiencing five years ago, market analysts expect frozen yogurt sales to continue to grow 3.4 percent annually.

To be considered as a franchisee, you’ll have to possess approximately $80,000 to $90,000 in liquid assets and have a $350,000 net worth. The startup cost for a Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt shop ranges from $300,000 to $350,000, including a $40,000 franchise fee.

  • Liquid assets required: $90,000

Related: 10 Things Mark Cuban Says to Do With Your Money

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

4. Nestlé Toll House Café by Chip

Nestle Toll House Café

Even if you’re not a baker, you’re familiar with Nestlé Toll House -- a billion-dollar brand name. Now you have a chance to be a part of it all. This café franchise offers over 45 varieties of fresh baked goods and signature Nescafé coffee, as well as wraps, paninis and flatbreads.

The total investment will cost you $151,750 to $475,300. That includes a $30,000 franchise fee. Your net worth also must be at least $300,000 to be considered. Entrepreneur ranked Café by Chip No. 1 in its category for two consecutive years in its Franchise 500 listing.

As an entrepreneur, you'll be looking to cut costs wherever you can. Fortunately, there are lots of free resources and tools for small business owners.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

5. Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill

Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill

Want to get involved in a restaurant that offers affordable and healthy Japanese favorites? Samurai Sam’s Teriyaki Grill is looking for franchisees in Arizona, Nevada, California and Utah. Currently, there 45 locations worldwide.

To be considered as a franchisee, you must have a net worth of $250,000. Overall, you can expect to invest between $117,660 and $432,050, including the $30,000 franchise fee, according to Franchise Direct.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

6. Ben and Jerry’s

Ben and Jerry's

Even with the growth of frozen yogurt, ice cream continues to be an American staple. Ben and Jerry’s has franchise opportunities in select markets across the country. Tasty treats include smoothies and frozen yogurt in addition to the company's well-known ice cream.

Qualified franchisees must have a net worth of $350,000. Total expenses range between $174,800 and $450,800, including a $37,000 franchise fee, according to Franchise Direct.

One fun part about being a Ben and Jerry's owner: Customers get a free scoop of ice cream on their birthdays, so you'll be serving up smiles.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

7. Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery

Another mega-retailer serving up ice cream for years is Cold Stone Creamery, which has franchise opportunities across the nation. Cold Stone has over a 1,000 stores in the U.S. and in 30 international markets. According to the franchise opportunity list, California is the best franchise opportunity for this brand.

What can you expect as a franchise owner? First, to qualify you’ll have to have a net worth of $250,000. There is a $27,000 franchise fee, with your total initial investment ranging between $50,000 and $467,525.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

Related: 15 Businesses You Can Start for $10,000 or Less

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

8. The Great Steak

Great Steak

When it comes to food, Philadelphia is known for its cheesesteak. Now you can become a franchisee of The Great Steak brand, and welcome the cheesesteak to your community.

What does it take exactly? According to Franchise Direct, the initial investment is between $150,900 and $519,050, including a $30,000 franchise fee. That’s for the traditional business model, where the restaurant is located inside a shopping mall or strip mall.

The average gross sales for 53 Great Steak shops was $476,956, with 22 locations meeting or exceeding that number.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

9. Little Caesars

Little Caesars

Little Caesars has been in business since 1959 and is continuing to grow nationwide. For those interested in opening a store, a candidate must have a net worth of $250,000 or more, with a minimum of $100,000 in liquid assets.

The estimated initial investment required per franchise location ranges $334,000 to $1,370,500 for a Little Caesars carry-out location, with free-standing buildings typically costing in the higher range.

The pizza chain has over 4,500 locations worldwide. According to the Franchise Times, Little Caesars does $4.2 billion in global sales annually. That's partially in thanks to some of the best pizza deals around.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000

These Are Some of the Least Expensive Food Franchises You Can Buy

10. Subway

Chris Radcliffe | Subway

If you want to know how good business is for the Subway chain, consider this: Existing owners account for more than 70 percent of new Subway franchises -- and there are currently more than 45,000 global locations.

In total, your investment as a franchisee will be between $116,000 and $263,000 in the U.S. A Subway restaurant on average generates $490,000 in sales annually, according to QSR Magazine.

  • Liquid assets required: $100,000