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The Top 25 Burger Franchises for 2023

Because burgers are never going out of style.

By Victoria CampisiStaff Writer
Updated 10:10AM 12/21/22

Burger chains have grown into a huge industry in the United States and around the world, making up one of the largest segments in the restaurant industry. 

Whether it's beef, turkey or even plant-based, most people love their burgers. In fact, the market was valued at $161.4 billion in 2022 and has grown 5% on average every year since 2017. 

If you’re looking to capitalize on this growing industry, here are our top burger franchise picks for 2023: 

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes*

Investment Range: $477,918–$989,793
Startup Costs: $477,918–$989,793
Unit Count: 90

MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes is a fast-casual, better-burger concept committed to providing the best-tasting burger experience possible with mouthwatering made-to-order burgers, hand-cut French fries and real ice cream shakes. Founded in 2007, the Texas-based company serves fresh, 100% Certified Angus Beef® brand burgers, all-natural turkey burgers, and Dr. Praeger’s black bean vegan burgers.


Investment Range: $1,400,000–$2,500,000
Startup Costs: $1,400,000–$2,500,000
Unit Count: 39,696

McDonald’s is probably the most identifiable brand in the entire restaurant industry. For decades, it has been a staple for consumers around the world and hasn’t slowed down since its opening in 1955. The brand’s iconic status and global presence offer a great investment opportunity for those looking to enter the restaurant business. 

Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Investment Range: $794,000–$2,300,000
Startup Costs: $794,000–$2,300,000
Unit Count: 443

Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers is a fast-casual burger company named after war veteran Freddy Simon. The first Freddy's opened in 2002 in Wichita, Kansas, which is where it is headquartered today. The company is known for its freshly churned frozen custards and ground beef steakburgers. 

Carl’s Jr.

Investment Range: $1,600,000–$2,200,000
Startup Costs: $1,600,000–$2,200,000
Unit Count: 1,659

Carl’s Jr. is a fast-food franchise that blends a variety of American and Mexican delicacies and is known for its signature Charbroiled 100% Black Angus beef burgers. It has been open since 1941, when it was solely one drive-thru location. By 1981, the brand opened 300 locations and has over 1,600 today. 


Investment Range: $1,500,000–$2,100,000
Startup Costs: $1,500,000–$2,100,000
Unit Count: 2,184

Hardee’s is a global brand with a history of success. The franchise’s product development team keeps menus fresh with bold new product concepts in addition to classics such as their bacon-topped burgers and spicy chicken sandwiches. 

Farmer Boys

Investment Range: $1,100,000–$2,500,000
Startup Costs: $1,100,000–$2,500,000
Unit Count: 99

At Farmer Boys, the motto is “farm food ain’t fast food.” Guests can count on a fresh-cooked, made-to-order meal during each visit. Farmer Boys purchases the freshest ingredients directly from local farmers and purveyors whenever possible. Its mascot, The Scarecrow, always protects and serves fresh farm food. 

The Habit Burger Grill

Investment Range: $1,400,000–$1,800,000
Startup Costs: $1,400,000–$1,800,000
Unit Count: 344

The Habit Burger Grill is a fast-casual restaurant chain that specializes in charbroiled hamburgers. The subsidiary of Yum! Brands, Inc. has been dedicated to delivering quality made-to-order food for over 50 years. 

Checkers* & Rally’s

Investment Range: $791,000–$2,400,000
Startup Costs: $791,000–$2,400,000
Unit Count: 834

Based in Tampa, Florida, Checkers & Rally's Restaurants is an iconic and innovative drive-thru restaurant chain known for its "Crazy Good Food," exceptional value, and people-first attitude. Famous for its milkshakes, burgers and french fries, this franchise proves that the drive-thru can be a great tool. 

Jack in the Box

Investment Range: $1,700,000–$2,700,000
Startup Costs: $1,700,000–$2,700,000
Unit Count: 2,208

Jack in the Box is one of the nation’s largest hamburger chains, with more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states. The urban burger franchise specializes in thinking “outside the box” when it comes to fast food. In addition to burgers, Jack in the Box offers tacos, teriyaki bowls, pitas and more. 


Investment Range: $505,000–1,500,000
Startup Costs: $505,000–1,500,000
Unit Count: 193

Dubbed “The Last Great Hamburger Stand,” Fatburger has been open since opening in 1952 in Los Angeles. The menu is centered around its fresh, juicy Fatburgers, while the menu also includes Fatburger Turkeyburgers, Veggieburgers and chicken sandwiches. The chain is also known for its hand-scooped 100% real ice cream milkshakes. 

Burger King

Investment Range: $230,000–$4,194,700
Startup Costs: $230,000–$4,194,700
Unit Count: 19,247

Burger King is the second largest burger chain in the world after McDonald's. It is known for signature food items such as the Whopper and Chicken Fries, and all of its 19,000+ locations are franchised. 

Five Guys

Investment Range: $306,200–$716,250
Startup Costs: $306,200–$716,250
Unit Count: 1,733

Five Guys opened in 1986 but waited 16 years to begin franchising. The menu is primarily focused on burgers and fries, while the chain is known for using fresh beef and frying its food with only peanut oil.


Investment Range: $1,187,500–$3,693,000
Startup Costs: $1,187,500–$3,693,000
Unit Count: 6,949

One of the largest burger chains in the world, Wendy’s was founded by the restaurateur Dave Thomas in 1969 and is named after a nickname for his daughter Melinda. In recent years, the chain has reimagined its brand identity, from its logo and in-house design to its social media presence. 


Investment Range: $628,950–$2,306,000
Startup Costs: $628,950–$2,306,000
Unit Count: 3,407

Arby's Fast Crafted restaurant services feature a unique blend of quick-serve speed combined with the quality and made-for-you care of fast casual. The menu features a variety of high-quality proteins and innovative sides, such as Curly Fries and Jamocha shakes. 


Investment Range: $2,301,000–$5,788,000
Startup Costs: $2,301,000–$5,788,000
Unit Count: 837

Culver’s is a Midwestern burger favorite that is quickly spreading throughout the country. It was founded in Sauk City, Wisconsin, by the Culver family and is known for its “Butterburgers,” frozen custard and cheese curds. 

Red Robin

Investment Range: $1,865,000–$4,115,000
Startup Costs: $1,865,000–$4,115,000
Unit Count: 531

Named for the founder’s favorite barbershop tune, Red Robin was opened in 1969. It has since become a franchised chain of casual restaurants around the United States with a menu mainly focused on hamburgers and craft brews. 


Investment Range: $1,200,000
Startup Costs: $1,200,000
Unit Count: 873

Whataburger is a Texas favorite and is mostly located in the Southern United States. It has a focus on regional outreach, targeting a select number of states for additional franchise expansion. Fans love its signature burgers and chicken items such as the "Whataburger Jr.” and the "Whatachick'n.

Elevation Burger 

Investment Range: $378,500–$743,500
Startup Costs: $378,500–$743,500
Unit Count: 37

Elevation Burger is owned by FAT Brands and opened in 2005. It is primarily focused on the East Coast but also has international locations in places such as Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The brand serves burger restaurant classics, including plant-based options, as well as milkshakes. 


Investment Range: $629,900–$1,049,500
Startup Costs: $629,900–$1,049,500
Unit Count: 118

Established in 2011, BurgerFi is among the nation’s fastest-growing better burger concepts, with approximately 125 restaurants domestically and internationally. The concept was chef-founded and is committed to serving fresh food of transparent quality. BurgerFi uses 100% natural American Angus beef with no steroids, antibiotics, growth hormones, chemicals or additives. 

Johnny Rockets

Investment Range: $605,500–$1,144,000
Startup Costs: $605,500–$1,144,000
Unit Count: 294

Founded on the principle that everyone deserves somewhere they can escape the complicated world, Johnny Rockets opened its doors in 1986 in Los Angeles, California. Today, the timeless all-American brand has locations around the world in 25 countries where guests can enjoy classic burgers and indulgent and hand-spun ice cream shakes.

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