Hardee’s Franchise Costs, Fees & Owner Salary (2023)









February 9, 2024



a franchise?

is a franchise and

Hardee's, a notable player in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry, has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1960. The franchise began its journey in Franklin, Tennessee, where it is still headquartered today. Just a year after opening its first restaurant, Hardee's embarked on its franchising journey in 1961, showcasing a rapid expansion strategy that set the foundation for its widespread presence.

Hardee's distinguishes itself in the competitive fast-food landscape through its specialized menu, which includes charbroiled 100% Black Angus Thickburger sandwiches, Hand-Breaded Chicken Tenders, Made from Scratch Biscuits, and other quick-serve items. This focus on quality and signature products has helped Hardee's carve out a unique niche in the market.

Hardee's supports its franchisees with a comprehensive 10-week training program and offers ongoing support in various operational aspects, including site selection, restaurant design, construction, and marketing.

This structured approach to franchising, combined with Hardee's distinct menu and operational support, positions the brand as an attractive option for entrepreneurs looking to invest in the fast-food industry. The franchise's commitment to growth and support for its franchise partners highlights its goal to expand its footprint and continue serving its signature dishes to a wider audience.

How many



are there?

In 2022, there were
outlets in the United States, of which
are franchises, and
are corporate-owned.

What are the




Initial franchise fee


Royalty fee


Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($25,000 to $35,000)

The initial franchise fee for a standard Franchise Agreement with Hardee's ranges from $25,000 to $35,000. This fee is payable upon the execution of the Franchise Agreement.

Royalty Fee (4% to 6% of Gross Sales)

Franchisees are required to pay a continuing royalty fee of 4% to 6% of the Gross Sales of the Restaurant for each specified period.

Advertising Fee (Up to 7% of Gross Sales)

  • Local Store Marketing (LSM): The Local Store Marketing (LSM) is a part of the Advertising Fee, and franchisees may develop advertising materials for their own use; however, these materials must be approved by Hardee's in advance of use.
  • Hardee’s National Advertising Fund (HNAF): A portion of the Advertising Fee is directed to the Hardee’s National Advertising Fund (HNAF) as per the agreement.
  • Regional Co-op: A portion of the Advertising Fee may also be directed to a Regional Co-op as per the agreement.

Franchisees are also required to spend and/or contribute for advertising approved by Hardee's or its designee up to 7% of the Gross Sales of the Franchised Restaurant. The exact amount of the advertising fees to be spent and/or contributed by Franchisee, and the allocation of the advertising fees, are as per the agreement.

How much does

it cost

to start a



It costs between
to start a

Stepping into the Hardee's franchise world involves a financial commitment that spans from approximately $1,303,000 to $3,436,000 as the total estimated initial investment. The table below offers a comprehensive breakdown of these costs:

Type of Expenditure Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $25,000
Opening Training Support Team Fee $30,000-$70,000
Building $500,000–$1,200,000
Site Improvements $100,000-$850,000
Soft Costs $50,000- $150,000
Equipment $300,000-$500,000
Signage $75,000-$150,000
Point of Sale System $45,000-65,000
Initial Training $20,000 - $60,000
Pre-Opening Costs $8,000-$23,000
Additional Funds - 3 months $160,000–$250,000
Total Estimated Initial Investment $1,303,000-$3,436,000

Note: The table above provides a snapshot of the main costs associated with starting the most common franchise format (as disclosed in the Item 7 of the Franchise Disclosure Document). For a complete overview of all the expenses involved with the various formats offered by the franchisor, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.





to its


provides training to its franchisees.

The Franchise Management Training Program (FMTP) is a crucial part of franchisee training in Hardee's Restaurants.

This program encompasses classroom instruction and hands-on training at designated Hardee's training facilities or restaurants. It's mandatory for the franchisee, the General Manager, and a minimum of six Shift Leaders to attend and satisfactorily complete each element of the FMTP.

The program's length is at least eight consecutive weeks, although it could be shorter or longer depending on the trainee's prior experience. The franchisee is responsible for all costs related to travel, living, and other expenses incurred during the training.

Additionally, if a franchisee operates three or more franchised restaurants, Hardee's may require the establishment of a Certified Franchisee Training Restaurant and the certification of one or more General Managers as Certified Franchisee Management Trainers.

These certified trainers can provide the FMTP to new trainees at the certified training restaurant, adhering to Hardee's system standards for such training.






Franchisees will not receive an exclusive territory under the Development Agreement. They may face competition from other franchisees, from outlets that the company owns, or from other channels of distribution or competitive brands that the company controls.

If franchisees sign a Development Agreement, they will receive a Development Territory that will be mutually agreed upon by HR and the franchisee, taking into consideration the density of the area and the number of Franchised Restaurants they agree to develop.

A description of the Development Territory will be attached as an appendix to the Development Agreement. The perimeters of the Development Territory may be described by specific street boundaries, county lines, state lines, municipal boundaries, railroad tracks, or other similar boundary descriptions.

Can a



be run as

a passive


Hardee’s does not require the franchisee to participate personally in the direct operation of the restaurant. However, a qualified individual must be designated and approved to serve as the "Operating Principal" of the franchised restaurant.

This Operating Principal must own at least a 10% equity ownership interest in the franchisee entity, unless otherwise modified by Hardee's discretion. The Operating Principal is expected to have full control over the day-to-day activities of the restaurant.

The franchisee, Operating Principal, or, if applicable, the Multi-Unit Manager should remain active in overseeing the operations of the franchised restaurant, including regular visits and communications to ensure compliance with operating standards.

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