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Chicken franchises: the ultimate guide


Chicken franchises: the ultimate guide

Chicken franchises are soaring, which has prompted a high volume of new franchisors to emerge, to challenge even the most established legacy brands

Way back when, the fast-food, QSR, and fast-casual spaces used to be dominated almost exclusively by burger and pizza joints, with KFC being the main, sole, chicken-orientated player in the food franchise market.

However, those days are behind us, and now chicken franchises are soaring, which has prompted a high volume of chicken brands to emerge, while many legacy players are diversifying their menus to incorporate the inexorable demand for the fried chicken sandwich, with the likes of Wendy’s recently launching its own Wendy’s chicken sandwich.

In fact, the humble chicken sandwich was at the vanguard of the fried chicken explosion, with chicken brand Popeyes going viral online by starting a ‘chicken sandwich wars’ with the Chick-Fil-A franchise. This subsequently enticed a plethora of other fried chicken brands to get involved in the heated debate, announcing their chicken sandwiches as the best in the world.

The popularity of the chicken sandwich doesn’t mean that fried chicken, chicken wings, chicken fingers, chicken tenders, and all manner of other chicken dishes are being shunned, though. It appears that the public – especially U.S. consumers – can’t get enough of chicken in general, with Chick-Fil-A being named America’s favorite fast-food establishment in a Market Force survey, beating the likes of In-N-Out, Blaze Pizza, Krispy Kreme, and more.

Franchised chicken restaurants: a global demand

It’s not just the U.S. that has an insatiable appetite for chicken, either. According to a Mintel report, U.K foodies spent an estimated £2.2bn in chicken restaurants back in 2017, and the research and intel firm predicts that this figure will rise to £2.6bn by 2022. This growing appetite for fried chicken has resulted in many a chicken business looking to expand to the U.K., with Popeyes set to launch its first unit by the end of 2021, with plans to open a further 350 sites within the next decade.

Slim Chickens is a chicken concept hailing from the United States that recently launched in the U.K., and it’s growing at a rapid rate, with franchise owners based in locations such as London, Essex, and more. Its proprietary recipes, such as fried chicken tenders and a range of hot sauces and dips, have been named some of the best-tasting chicken items on any menu, making Slim Chickens a very enticing investment opportunity for any entrepreneur looking to specialize in the chicken category.

Demand for chicken franchise restaurants isn’t just restricted to the western world, either. In fact, Popeyes has also announced that it will be expanding its presence in key Asian markets, including India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Bhutan.

The fried chicken craze isn’t just pioneered by good ol’ American brands serving Texas chicken and corn on the cob, though. Asian chicken brands – with Korean fried chicken being a coveted foodstuff across the world – are noticing a surge in demand. Fast-food restaurant chain and Korean chicken frontrunner Kyochon F&B has noticed such an uptick in investor interest and franchise sales that it has recently announced that it will be opening 500 international stores by 2025, pinpointing the Middle East as a growing market for its tasty food concept.

Top chicken franchises to invest in right now


From the first KFC franchise location in Salt Lake, Utah, USA, in the 1950s, Kentucky Fried Chicken now boasts 20,000 chicken franchise establishments worldwide and is estimated to service in the region of 12 million customers every single day.

How much does it cost to own a KFC franchise?

Prospective franchisees based in the U.K. must have £5m in assets and £2m in liquid capital. The initial franchise fee is approximately £38,000.

What do I get in return for my investment?

At a glance, the initial investment involved in the KFC franchise opportunity might appear expensive, however, when it comes to the return on investment, you’re in safe hands with such a well-known fried chicken player.

Benefits include extensive management training, help sourcing real estate, an established and professional supply chain, immense marketing campaigns, and more. Reach out to the brand to receive a Franchise Disclosure Document, and you can find out more about the advantages of owning your own KFC international franchise.

Southern Fried Chicken

If you’re looking to invest in a brand that’s a little less well-known than KFC, then look no further than Southern Fried Chicken. That’s not to say it’s small fry, though. The brand, which was founded in the U.K. almost four decades ago, boasts 102 international stores, and has serious clout in Britain.

How much does it cost to own a Southern Fried Chicken franchise?

The total investment is around £80,000 – £30,000, with a minimum investment of £125,000, and a initial franchise fee of £15,000. The royalty fee is around £650, depending on the franchise location and size.

Church’s Chicken

If you’re looking for chicken franchise opportunities, the Church’s Chicken franchise is experiencing serious demand. Known as a rival to the popular Popeyes chicken franchise, Church’s Chicken was founded in Texas in 1952, and has grown to have more than 1,700 locations worldwide.

Named Texas Chicken or Church’s Texas Chicken outside of the United States, locations can be found in Bahrain, Canada, Guyana, Honduras, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, and many, many more countries.

How much does a Church’s Chicken franchise cost?

The initial franchise fee for a Church’s Chicken franchise is $15,000, and the overall investment cost can range between around $680,000 and $1.6m.


The Wingstop franchise is a chicken restaurant renowned for not just serving up tasty fantastic chicken menu items, it’s also a quick-service restaurant with real celebrity investor appeal, with the likes of Rick Ross owning franchises himself. In fact, celebrities are clambering to invest in the next best chicken franchise, with Samuel L. Jackson an investor in the emerging concept Dave’s Hot Chicken.

Back to the Wingstop franchise, though. The winner of a Global Franchise Award in 2020, the brand is known for serving up delectable chicken wings, which can be found in its over 1,200 locations in the U.S., as well as in over 100 international restaurants.

How much does a Wingstop franchise cost?

If you’re looking to invest in a top chicken wings franchise, you’re going to need to stump up an initial investment of around $390,000 to $775,000, which includes a franchise fee of $20,000 per store. As a franchisee, you are required to open at least three stores, and you are expected to have a minimum net worth of $1.2m.

Like most other franchises, you will be expected to pay a franchise royalty fee of 6 per cent of your monthly gross sales, as well as a marketing fee of 4 per cent and a local advertising fee of 1 per cent.

Popeyes Chicken

Popeyes is a global franchising hit, with over 3,100 Popeyes restaurants around the world, making it the third-largest fast-food restaurant in the world. In fact, the brand spans 25 countries currently, and is also soon to launch in the U.K.

Why is the Popeyes franchise so popular? Primarily due its New Orleans-inspired, Cajun-spiced cuisine, which has consumers consistently coming back for more. Its menu isn’t restricted to chicken only, either, with gravy, red beans, rice, and macaroni and cheese all popular options.

How much is a Popeyes Chicken franchise?

Before applying to be a franchisee, make sure you meet Popeyes’ franchise requirements.

For a Popeyes franchise in the U.S, franchisees are required to prove a net worth of $500,000, with half of that being in liquid assets. Expect a similar initial investment in Pound Sterling for starting a Popeyes in the U.K. when it does finally launch in Britain.

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