Church’s Chicken has  1,520 locations. While the franchise is best known in Texas, the restaurant has expanded into 25 countries. People around the world can’t resist a taste of crunchy chicken from this iconic fast-food joint.

What’s the exact cost to open a Church’s Chicken? The total initial investment will cost about $805,225 – $1,896,300. The total cost could be higher depending on the size and location of the restaurant you plan to open. Franchisees are charged 5% of their gross sales toward royalties, plus an additional 5% advertising fee. 

Still interest in franchising a Church’s Chicken after learning the top-line financial requirements? In this report, I break down the detailed financial requirements of the food chain, along with the benefits and challenges you might encounter as the owner of this chicken concept. Take our franchise quiz to find out if Church’s Chicken is right for you.

Financial Requirements and Fees

Here’s the basic requirements for a Church’s Chicken fast-food chain branch.

Fees or Expenses Financial Amount
Liquid Capital $650,000
Net Worth $1,500,000
Total Investment $805,225 – $1,896,300
Franchise Fee $15,000

The liquid capital needed to open a franchise of Church’s Chicken is $650,000 (minimum). Prospective franchisees must have a net worth exceeding $1,500,000. Church’s Chicken has a franchisee fee of $15,000 and a development fee of $10,000.

Here are some basic financial terms, you should understand before signing with any franchise:

  1. Liquid Capital – refers to the entire amount of money you have available and is also known as cash required.
  2. Net worth – refers to the value of all your non-financial and financial assets minus the value of all your outstanding liabilities. 
  3. Total investment – is the total capital or the total money you will need to put into the franchise overtime to get it up and running. 
  4. Franchise fee – refers to the amount you must pay to the franchisor to use its brand and resources.

Estimated Initial Investment

Name of Fee Low High
Development Fee $10,000 $10,000
Initial Franchise Fee $15,000 $15,000
Grand Marketing Opening Funds $25,000 $25,000
Real Estate (Purchase or Lease) Variable Variable
Site Work $30,075 $480,000
Building and Improvements $335,000 $750,000
Equipment and Signs $306,000 $385,000
Fees, Misc., A&E Services, Deposits $50,000 $150,000
Initial Training 0$ $23,000
Opening Supplies $6,350 $12,700
Insurance $7,500 $10,000
Utility Deposits $10,000 $15,000
Business Licenses $300 $600
Additional Funds – 3 months $10,000 $20,000
ESTIMATED TOTAL $805,225 $1,896,300

The estimated initial investment range covers from 1,500 sq. foot end cap restaurant up to a 2,200 sq. foot free-standing restaurant with dine-in and drive-thru facilities. It will benefit you to invest the extra money up-front to find a location with a drive thru. Some studies report American’s spend $1,200+ on average each year in the drive-thru lane. 

Average Sales / Revenue Per Year

As a growing food business, Church’s chicken has more than 1,500 locations in 25 countries and international territories with its wide sale of more than $1.3 billion according to Franchise Times.

This brand has outperformed the broader fast-food industry for years. Church’s Chicken continued to soar in the year 2023 with record profitability and growth. The brand announced they plan to open another 100 locations in America, Middle East and Asia as well meaning next year’s system-wide sales numbers should be even bigger. 

Church’s Chicken Franchise Facts

Various mouthwatering meals from Church’s chicken.

Total Units: 1,520
Incorporated Name: Church’s Fried Chicken to Go

Church’s Chicken

Church’s Texas Chicken (Sister Brand)

Franchising Since: 1972
Industry: Food
Subsector: Fast food, Fried Chicken, Fries, and Biscuits

Before the Church’s Chicken became known in the food industry, this fast-food chain started as “Church’s Fried Chicken To-Go” in 1952 by the founder, George W. Church. This is where the Church in his business name came from, not from a house of worship. With that being said, customers are religiously faithful to the taste of this chains fried chicken.

For the first few years in business, the establishment only served chicken with no sides. After three years passed, George W. Church decided to add jalapeños and fries to the menu. Eventually other popular items like macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and other traditional Southern sides joined the list of options. 

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This business started more than 50 years ago, the timeless taste of Church’s Chicken’s recipes keep customers coming back again and again. 

How Much Profit Does A Franchisee of Church’s Chicken Make Per Year?

The business continued to expand by providing value to franchisees. Church’s Chicken has a profit margin of 18 percent with an average profit of $224,808

Advantages of Franchising Church’s Chicken

Close-up look to Church’s chicken tender and crisp fried chicken!

 Here are a few advantages that Church’s Chicken offered prospective franchisees. 


Church’s Chicken is optimizing its profit and return of investment to its franchise investors. With that, Church’s has its construction programs and flexible real estate wherein their Quick Service Restaurant competitors’ location could be converted into Church’s establishment.

If you’re able to find a failed restaurant in your area, it’s possible you could convert the location into a Church’s Chicken. Finding a building with sufficient parking, drive-thru, and commercial kitchen that’s already passed local health inspections is a major cost savings compared to working through a new construction. Overhauling an existing restaurant location can be a lot faster too. Less time planning and getting chicken out the door faster.

Comprehensive Support

The National Minority Franchising Initiative recognized Church’s as 50 Top Franchises for Minorities. In 2009, Church’s was recognized as one of the Top 50 Franchises for the Franchisee Satisfaction by the Franchise Business Review.

That achievement was accomplished because of the Church’s Chicken’s comprehensive support to guide its franchisees in selecting sites for construction. Aside from that, franchisees of Church’s Chicken appreciate the monthly newsletters, meetings, toll-free phone lines, grand openings, security/safety procedures, field operations/evaluations, and purchasing cooperatives valuable to newly built restaurants. 

System-Wide Sales

In the year 2022, Church’s system-wide sales increased by 4.5%. The company has an 18% profit margin with global sales reaching $1.3 billion . 

Menu profitability is a really important factor to consider before buying into any food franchise. Ideally, you want to find a company with some wiggle room for profit. This is especially important in environments where we see periods of transitory inflation and rising food prices. Having a product with strong margin like chicken is important.

Strong Brand Awareness

After being in business nearly 7 decades, Church’s Chicken continues to grow and hit new sales records. Church’s Chicken owns and franchises more than a thousand fast-food chicken restaurants in various countries with another 100 locations being added in the next 12 months. 

Amidst the tough competitors, Church’s Chicken is ranking well along with different fried chicken restaurant competitors. Franchisees don’t need to further introduce the Church’s Chicken concept in many instances because the brand is already famous. 

Challenges of Franchising Church’s Chicken

In spite of all the advantages mentioned for franchising Church’s Chicken, it is also important to be aware of challenges that could be faced when franchising this company. 

Limited Menu

This fast-food chain is known for its fried chicken and side dishes. Considering that offer, there is a huge possibility that customers will more likely find more options for food. One of the downsides of Church’s Chicken is its limited menu.

In 2020, the company did adapt to the times by permanently adding a chicken sandwich to the menu. This sandwich comes on a brioche bun with pickles, mayo, and of course fried chicken breast. Overnight the restaurant chain became a major competitor in the so-called “Chicken Sandwich Wars.”

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Expensive Cost Franchise Fee

For people who would like to start up a business by franchising, Church’s Chicken could be out of reach financially for many entrepreneurs. Even though there is a huge possibility to receive a high-end return of investment in the future, you should also take into consideration that there will also be an additional payment not limited to your workers, maintenance, or additional funds.

Chicken Shortages?

Due to a combination of logistic challenges and poultry shortages, chicken has been hard to come by for restaurants across the country. It is even reported that the fried chicken craze is causing the United States to run low on poultry. If the poultry problem isn’t solved, the company would have challenges maintaining profitability. Without the chicken, there’s not much left on the menu to sell outside of the sides. 

Friends eating Church’s Chicken nuggets.

Franchising a Church’s Chicken is a bet that the timeless meal of fried chicken will continue being a winning business model. If you are planning to franchise this fast-food brand, you must assess yourself, your budget, and your desire to start up this business. Overall, I give this franchise concept my stamp of approval. But you need to consider your personal interests and skills before taking the leap. 

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Are you willing to open up this business up until the next following years? Do you have the resources to open up this business? Is it enough to let your business stand for a long period of time? If these questions answer yes to each of these questions then this might be the opportunity you’ve been looking for. 

Is the Church’s Chicken Brand being Updated?

The owner of the Church’s Chicken brand has set a report that the brand of the quick-service chain in Atlanta will be sold. However, representatives for Church’s Chicken have not addressed the rumors. After announcing that the Church’s Chicken will have its brand refresh, the rumors speculate that it will be on sale. Could it be true or some sort of a bluff? The answer is still uncertain today. CEO and President, Jim Hyatt hasn’t confirmed any brand redesign. 

On the other hand, most brands go through redesigns of their logo and store designs from time to time. The menu could possibly give a great addition and launch overseas, thus, giving it a go for the newly improved brand but selling the same timeless flavors of “Texas Chicken.”

Church’s Chicken vs Popeyes: What’s the Better Franchise?

Church’s Chicken and Popeyes are well establish and successful brands. Both fast-food chains offer mouth-watering fried chicken with a loyal following. Church’s Chicken franchise fee is lower than Popeyes. If you’re aiming to start a franchise business with lower capital requirements, Church’s Chicken is the perfect option for you. 

Church’s Chicken Franchise offer ads, regional advertising, operations, and training support. It shows that Church’s chicken is intentional in making sure that the franchisee obtains the enough skills and knowledge to run the business efficiently. On the other hand, in terms of people’s choice, Popeyes has a competitive edge.

More consumers find their chicken more juicy, tender, and flavorful than Church’s. Popeyes is also winning with brand awareness with the number of restaurant locations topping 3,000.

At the end of the day, both of these chains are quality franchise options. If you have a tighter investment budget and would like hands-on training from your franchised restaurant, choose Church’s Chicken. Popeyes is the best choice if you want a restaurant that’s more well-known and best quality chicken. 

Who Owns the Church’s Chicken Franchise?

Church’s Chicken humble beginning ins 1990s.

The chain is currently owned by the investment firm High Bluff Capital Partners. The investment firm bought Church’s Chicken for an undisclosed amount. The owners also recently bought 81 Hardee’s restaurants to add to their growing business.

At the end of the day, us humans are built to crave fried chicken and I don’t see this restaurant concept going out of style anytime soon. Even scientific evidence shows that the crunchiness, experience of eating a fried chicken is hard-wired into us humans. We can’t help, but love this food.