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Franchise Deep Dive: McAlister's Deli’s Franchise Costs, Fees, Profit and Data

Since starting on a film production set in the 1980s, this restaurant franchise has grown to over 500 locations across the United States.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
11:11AM 10/12/23

LAST UPDATED: October 2023



REPORTED COST TO GET IN: $921,450–$1,565,900

REPORTED ROI (Item 19): $1,922,992 (2021)

McAlister’s Deli is an American fast casual restaurant franchise that is known for its menu of  handcrafted sandwiches, baked potatoes, soups, salads, desserts and world-famous sweet tea. The franchise is owned by Focus Brands, the parent company behind JambaCinnabonMoe’s and Auntie Anne’s

How Many McAlister's Deli Locations Are There?

McAlister’s Deli started when a film production opened in Oxford, Mississippi, and transformed an old gas station into a 1950s diner. In 1989, a retired dentist named Dr. Don Newcomb turned that set into the first-ever McAlister’s Deli. Today, McAlister’s Deli has over 500 locations in 29 states.

What Is the McAlister's Deli Business Model?

One of the key pillars of McAlister's Deli's business model is its simplicity. Unlike many restaurants that require complex equipment like grills and fryers, McAlister's relies on a straightforward kitchen setup, saving both time and resources. This simplicity extends to the restaurant's operating hours, as well. With no early mornings or late nights, franchisees can maintain a work-life balance that is often elusive in the food-service industry.

Additionally, McAlister's offers various ways for customers to enjoy their meals, including dine-in, takeout, catering, online ordering and a convenient pickup window. This flexibility allows McAlister's to capture a wide range of customers, from those looking for a quick meal on the go to those seeking catering options for special occasions.

When it comes to real estate, McAlister's Deli provides valuable support to its franchisees. They offer guidance on selecting the right location and provide assistance with restaurant development. Franchisees also receive training in a classroom setting, as well as hands-on experience at a high-volume McAlister's Deli location. This comprehensive training covers the menu, operational standards and the philosophy of hospitality that is central to the brand. It equips franchisees with the skills and knowledge needed for success.

How Much Can McAlister's Deli Franchise Owners Make?

The average net sales for fiscal year 2022 was $1,922,992. The lowest net sales reported for 2022 was $540,281 and the highest net sales reported for 2022 was $5,044,372.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a McAlister's Deli?

Financial requirements for McAlister’s Deli include: 

  • Minimum Liquid Capital: $425,000
  • Estimated Initial Investment for Traditional Restaurants: $921,450–$1,565,900
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1,000,000

What Is the Franchise Fee for McAlister's Deli?

The franchise fee is $20,000, although this is part of a limited time incentive. The incentive also includes a 2% royalty fee and 1% advertising fee for the first year of ownership. 

According to the brand’s 2023 Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) the franchise fee for a traditional restaurant is ordinarily $35,500 and $15,500 for an express restaurant.  

Who’s on McAlister's Deli’s Leadership Team?

What Helpful Articles Can I Read to Learn More about McAlister's Deli?

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