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









May 2, 2024


McAlister’s Deli

a franchise?

McAlister’s Deli

McAlister's Deli, founded in 1989 in Oxford, Mississippi, has grown from a single location to a notable presence in the fast-casual dining sector. Now headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the brand is part of the Focus Brands portfolio, a leading developer of global multi-channel foodservice brands.

McAlister's is renowned for its extensive menu that includes hearty sandwiches, giant spuds, soups, salads, desserts, and its famous sweet tea, setting it apart with a mix of quality food and genuine Southern hospitality.

The brand's differentiation lies in its commitment to creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, where every guest feels like part of the McAlister's family. This approach stems from the brand's small-town origins and is a key aspect of its identity. Operations at McAlister's Deli are streamlined for efficiency, eliminating the need for grills or fryers, which simplifies kitchen processes and potentially reduces costs.

McAlister's Deli supports its franchisees extensively, offering guidance in areas such as real estate, construction, training, operations, marketing, and supply chain management. This comprehensive support system is designed to ensure the success and smooth operation of each franchise location.

How many

McAlister’s Deli


are there?

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

What are the

McAlister’s Deli



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($35,000)

The fee for the right to open and operate a single McAlister’s Deli restaurant.

Royalty Fee (5% of Net Sales)

Franchisees are required to pay a royalty fee of 5% of their Net Sales. This fee is payable weekly and is for the continued use of the McAlister’s Deli System and Marks.

Advertising (3% of Net Sales)

  • Advertising Contribution (2% of Net Sales for new or renewing Restaurants): For Restaurants that are transferred, the percentage of Net Sales paid by the transferor at the time of the transfer is either 1.75% or 2% of Net Sales. However, this is expected to increase to 2% of Net Sales by the end of 2023. This contribution goes to the Ad Fund.
  • Local Marketing Obligation (1% of Net Sales): Franchisees are required to spend not less than 1% of Net Sales on local market advertising each calendar quarter. If franchisees fail to make the minimum advertising expenditures, McAlister’s Deli may do so on their behalf, and the franchisees must reimburse them for their expenses.

Grand Opening Advertising ($25,000)

Franchisees must spend at least $25,000 on grand opening advertising promoting the opening of the Restaurant. This expenditure covers the period beginning four weeks before the restaurant's opening and ending eight weeks after the opening. All advertising and promotional content used for this obligation is subject to approval.

Note: The fees presented here can be found in the Item 5 of the Franchise Disclosure Document. For a complete list of all the fees borne by the franchisee, please consult the Franchise Disclosure Document.

How much does

it cost

to start a

McAlister’s Deli


It costs between
to start a
McAlister’s Deli

McAlister’s Deli offers franchise opportunities for individuals or entities interested in operating a fast-casual restaurant. There are three primary types of McAlister’s Deli franchise opportunities:

  1. Traditional Restaurant (Endcap or Inline Shopping Center Location): The total investment required for this type ranges from $921,450 to $1,565,900.
  2. Traditional Restaurant (Newly-Constructed Freestanding Location): The investment for this format ranges from $1,328,050 to $2,329,400.
  3. Express Restaurant: For those interested in the Express format, the total investment ranges from $436,850 to $898,050.

The table below  provides a detailed breakdown of the estimated initial investment for a Traditional Restaurant (at an endcap or inline shopping center location):

Type of Expenditure Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $35,500
Construction and Build Out Costs $389,000 - $676,000
Permitting $14,000 - $31,000
Equipment Package $207,000 - $272,000
Millwork $41,000 - $63,000
Furniture $18,000 - $35,000
Menu Board, Graphics and Interior Signage $25,500 - $27,100
Exterior Signage $32,000 - $65,000
Computer System $32,000 - $66,500
Smallwares $10,200 - $30,000
TV/Music $2,000 - $11,000
Architect/Engineer $17,500 - $26,000
Rent $7,200 - $18,600
Grand Opening Marketing $25,000 - $27,000
Legal and Accounting Fees $2,700 - $5,500
Insurance $1,850 - $9,200
Misc. Opening Costs/Security Deposits $2,500 - $6,500
Training Fees $0 - $13,000
Travel and Living Expenses during Training $15,000 - $40,000
Opening Inventory $18,500 - $58,000
Additional Funds - 3 Months $25,000 - $50,000
Total $921,450 - $1,565,900

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.


McAlister’s Deli



to its


McAlister’s Deli

McAlister’s Deli offers a robust training program for its franchisees. This training is essential for those who wish to operate a McAlister’s Deli franchise, ensuring they have the necessary knowledge and skills.

This program is tailored to introduce franchisees to the specific operational techniques of McAlister’s Deli. It covers a wide range of topics, from maintaining the brand's operational standards to understanding the nuances of the menu.

Beyond the initial training, the company offers ongoing operational training programs. These are designed to reinforce and update the brand's operational standards, ensuring consistency across all locations.


McAlister’s Deli




Franchisees are granted the right to operate a McAlister’s Deli Restaurant within a specific "Designated Area" as specified in the Franchise Agreement. This Designated Area is solely for site selection purposes.

If franchisees default under the Franchise Agreement and fail to cure the default in the applicable cure period, McAlister’s Deli has the right to reduce or eliminate the franchisee's Area of Protection.

The Area of Protection may not be altered before the expiration or termination of the Franchise Agreement. Franchisees' territorial protection is not dependent on achieving a certain sales volume, market penetration, or other factors, other than compliance with the Franchise Agreement.

Can a

McAlister’s Deli


be run as

a passive


The franchisee is expected to give their best efforts to ensure the proper and effective operation of the restaurant. While the franchisee and their owners aren't mandated to be directly involved in the restaurant's daily operations, they can, with the company's consent, serve as the "Primary Contact" and/or a "Manager."

However, it's worth noting that McAlister’s Deli doesn't recommend their franchise for those looking for an absentee management business.

A "Primary Contact" must be appointed by the franchisee, responsible for the restaurant and its operations. This individual should either hold a direct or indirect interest of 5% or more in the franchisee's entity or have a written agreement that provides for such authority.

The Primary Contact can also serve as a Manager for the restaurant, given that it's their full-time job and they've successfully completed the Management Training Program.

Related Posts