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Myths about becoming a Chick-fil-A Operator

January 4, 2024

What you need to know about becoming a Chick-fil-A franchisee 

“Almost impossible!” “Harder than getting into an Ivy League college!” 

People say a lot of things about Chick-fil-A’s local Owner-Operator selection process. Trust us, we’ve heard them all. So, to give you some insights into the folks who are selected to be our local Owner-Operators, here are a few of the common myths about the Chick-fil-A Operator selection process: 

1. Myth: You must live in the southeast. 
The truth: While it’s true that the first Chick-fil-A® restaurant was opened at Greenbriar Mall in Atlanta in 1967, there are now Chick-fil-A branded restaurants in 48 states around the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and franchised restaurants are continuing to pop up all over the country. In fact, Chick-fil-A even has plans to expand to Europe and Asia in 2025, aiming to open five franchised restaurants in the first two years. 

2. Myth: It only costs $10,000 upfront. 
The truth: It’s true that the initial franchise fee expected from Chick-fil-A local Owner-Operators is $10,000, but the total initial investment goes beyond the amount of that payment. Local Owner-Operators also invest much more than money -- they invest time and energy in their businesses, Team Members and local communities. Being a Chick-fil-A local Owner-Operator is anything but a passive investment. Just ask Jas Bains, local Owner-Operator of a California Chick-fil-A restaurant who hosted a Coast Guard Appreciation Night for his local community. Or talk with Scott Peterson, local Owner-Operator of a Plymouth, MN Chick-fil-A restaurant, who collected winter gear for individuals experiencing homelessness. Or meet Josh Baals, a New York based local Owner-Operator who paid for his Team Members to take English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. For Chick-fil-A Operators, their return on investment goes well beyond the dollars and cents. 

3. Myth: You must have worked at a Chick-fil-A restaurant before applying for a franchise opportunity.
The truth: Nope. More than 25 percent of our newly selected franchised local Owner-Operators never worked at a Chick-fil-A branded restaurant (or even for Chick-fil-A, Inc.) before applying to become a franchised Operator. 

4. Myth: You need to have some type of restaurant experience. 
The truth: While some Chick-fil-A local Owner-Operators come from the restaurant industry, most have entirely different backgrounds. For example, Marlon Terrell, Owner-Operator of Chick-fil-A Linden and Chick-fil-A St. Georges Avenue in New Jersey, is a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy. There are local Owner-Operators who have worked in industries from manufacturing to law enforcement to education to retail to healthcare. In short, there’s no cookie-cutter previous experience among our selected Operators. But they all have in common an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for helping others and a deep desire for caring for the community. 

While every day as a local Owner-Operator is full of Waffle Fries and smiles, this business opportunity is a hands-on, life investment. It often requires long hours and leading a team of mostly entry-level, hourly-paid employees. It’s hard work – but it’s exceedingly rewarding.

5. Myth: Chick-fil-A Operators can only own one restaurant.
The truth:
Once an Operator has successfully operated their first restaurant, a select group have the opportunity to expand their impact and operate additional restaurants (up to three traditional restaurants). They’re often chosen because of their extensive knowledge, history with the area and integration into the community and passion for expanding their reach of service.

6. Myth: It’s impossible to get selected. 
The truth:
Yes, the Chick-fil-A local Owner-Operator selection process is highly competitive, and well, selective. Thousands apply each year for relatively few restaurant opportunities. But we are always looking for those select few who are strong leaders with proven track records in business leadership, results-oriented self-starters and are willing to devote their full time and best personal efforts toward starting and growing a business while giving back to their communities. Local Owner-Operators have the opportunity to impact countless lives, from their Team Members to their guests who walk into their restaurants every day. If you think you’ve got what it takes, then we’d love to hear from you. Click here to get started.