bannerFranchisor Stories

Emerging Full-Service Restaurant Franchises Worth Investing In

Signing a franchise agreement with these brands affords investors many great benefits.

By Katie Porter1851 Franchise Contributor
Updated 11:11AM 07/07/22

When it comes to franchising, many people often think of quick-service restaurants like Subway, A&W or McDonald’s. However, full-service dining establishments also make up a large part of the food franchising market, with Statista estimating over 28,000 establishments in this category in the United States. These brands encompass everything from casual sit-down service to upscale white tablecloth dining, so the options for what kind of restaurant to invest in are vast. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average American spends $2,375 per year on dining out, so this segment is a hot market for revenue. Franchisees can take advantage of these consumers who are willing to pay for an extraordinary food experience outside of their homes, and with average restaurant markup costs of 300%, there’s a handsome return on investment in the full-service restaurant sphere.

The following brands are popular emerging franchises that have seen a great deal of interest as they mature: 

Famous Toastery

Charlotte, N.C.-based Famous Toastery began in 2005 as a small breakfast spot with fresh ingredients and friendly service. The brand evolved into a franchise system in 2013 and has been ranked No. 9 in the Full-Service Restaurants category of Entrepreneur Magazine’s Top Food Franchises of 2019, received recognition by CNBC as a top franchise to buy, and was on FSR Magazine’s Top 14 restaurant chains ready for lift-off. Breakfast/Brunch is now the fastest-growing segment in the restaurant industry, and the concept’s locations reflect that, with average gross sales of $1,316,080.

The Brass Tap*

  • Start-up costs: $781,000 - $1.3M
  • Unit count: 50

Franchising since 2012, The Brass Tap is an upscale beer bar that offers dozens of craft beers on tap, more than 300 varieties of imports and some excellent bar food. With a constantly revolving menu of global beverages and live entertainment onsite, these establishments bring in big crowds and recurring revenue streams. The brand offers franchisees the opportunity to own a bar/restaurant establishment with low labor costs and limited competition in a market valued at $23.5 billion. 

Shuckin’ Shack

Shuckin' Shack Oyster Bar is where friends and family can enjoy fresh, delicious meals and creative cocktails in a comfortable community environment. The brand started franchising in 2014 and offers franchise owners the opportunity to have a popular seafood restaurant in areas where the cuisine is not always readily available — a true niche in the market. The company differentiates itself within the segment with small square footage requirements, low inventory, smaller staff sizes and maximum return on investment. 

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse

  • Start-up costs: $1.3M - $4M
  • Unit count: 13

This upscale steakhouse and seafood restaurant started in Des Moines, Iowa and has expanded to multiple states after franchising in 2013. The brand is known for quality service and meals in a distinctive supper club atmosphere, with reasonable pricing for menu items. Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse franchise owners enjoy the concept's versatility and partnering with a brand with meticulous standards and rave reviews. 

Lumberjacks Restaurant

  • Start-up costs: $437K - $1.3M
  • Unit count: 9

This family-style restaurant franchise has nine locations in California and Nevada and is known for generous portions of hearty food in a casual setting. Lumberjacks has grown a great, sustainable business model in a relatively short time by selecting franchisees that are the right fit. The brand offers in-house training and ongoing support for each location’s staff. Lumberjacks is currently working to sign a new wave of franchise owners in the Western United States region. 

*This brand is a paid partner of 1851 Franchise. For more information on paid partnerships please click here.