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









May 2, 2024


Nathan’s Famous

a franchise?

Nathan’s Famous

Nathan's Famous, renowned for its all-beef frankfurters and an array of fast-service menu items, started its journey in 1916. Founded by Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker in Coney Island, New York, with a modest hot dog stand, it has since evolved into a significant name in the quick-service restaurant (QSR) industry. The brand began franchising in 1975 and is now headquartered in Jericho, New York.

Nathan's Famous distinguishes itself with a menu that includes not just its world-renowned hot dogs but also items like Fresh Angus Burgers, Black Angus Ribeye New York Cheesesteaks by Pat LaFrieda, Hand-Breaded Chicken and Onion Rings, and Fresh Crinkle Cut French Fries. The brand is celebrated for creating a fun and upbeat restaurant atmosphere, contributing to its strong reputation over the past century.

The franchise offers various business models to suit different investment levels and spaces, from standalone custom-built stores to carts, all of which serve Nathan's Famous' enticing menu. The company is also a pioneer in partnering with virtual kitchen concepts, adding versatility to its franchise offerings with brands like Arthur Treacher’s and Wings of New York under its umbrella. This diversity in models and menu offerings allows for significant flexibility for franchisees.

How many

Nathan’s Famous


are there?

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

What are the

Nathan’s Famous



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($30,000)

Upon signing the agreement, the franchisee is required to pay an initial franchise fee of $30,000. This fee is non-refundable and is charged to cover administrative and other expenses incurred by the franchisor in granting the franchise.

Royalty Fee (5.5% of Gross Sales)

Franchisees are obligated to pay a continuing royalty fee amounting to 5.5% of the Gross Sales of the Franchised Business. This fee is due monthly, based on the Gross Sales of the previous month.

Marketing Development Fund (2.0% of Gross Sales)

Franchisees are required to contribute 2.0% of their Gross Sales to the Marketing Development Fund. This fund is utilized for various marketing and promotional activities to benefit the brand. If a Regional Fund is established, franchisees must join, but the total contribution between the Marketing Development Fund and any Regional Fund will not exceed 2.5% of Gross Sales.

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

Nathan’s Famous


It costs between
to start a
Nathan’s Famous

Nathan's Famous, a renowned name in the fast-food industry, offers a diverse range of franchise formats tailored to fit various market needs and preferences. Each format is uniquely designed to cater to specific customer bases, from bustling malls to standalone establishments.

If you're considering diving into the world of franchising with Nathan's Famous, it's crucial to understand the financial commitment associated with each format. Here's a concise breakdown of the estimated initial investments for their primary franchise options:

  1. Traditional Free-Standing Restaurant: A classic choice, the traditional free-standing restaurant is a standalone establishment designed to serve a broad range of customers. With an ambiance that resonates with the Nathan's Famous brand, this format requires an investment ranging from $554,350 to $2,032,610.
  2. In-Line Restaurant or Food Court: Tailored for malls or shared commercial spaces, this format is perfect for entrepreneurs looking to tap into the foot traffic of bustling commercial centers. The investment for this option ranges from $359,100 to $1,146,860.
  3. Kiosk: Ideal for entrepreneurs with limited space or those looking to set up in high-footfall areas like transit hubs, the kiosk format offers flexibility and efficiency. The investment for this compact setup ranges from $103,850 to $305,000. If you're considering enhancing the kiosk with an optional preparation area, be prepared for additional costs ranging from $21,000 to $90,000.
  4. Mobile Unit: Embodying the essence of flexibility, the mobile unit is designed for those who wish to take Nathan's Famous on the go. Whether it's events, fairs, or any transient location, this format requires an investment between $82,200 and $364,100.

It's also worth noting that these figures exclude co-branding costs. For those interested in integrating an "Arthur Treacher's Co-Branded Operation" with their "Nathan's Famous" restaurant, there's an additional estimated cost of $19,500 to $38,000.

Free-Standing Restaurant

Type of Expenditure Amount
Initial Franchise Fee $30,000
Real Estate Rent $60,000 - $195,000
Restaurant Construction $250,000 to $1,300,000
Site Preparation $25,000 to $170,000
Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment $145,000 to $245,000
Pre-Opening and Inventory Expenses $10,000 to $15,000
Training Expenses $2,250 to $10,360
Insurance $5,000 to $7,500
Security Deposits $0
Utility Deposits $2,500 to $6,500
Professional Fees $12,000 to $25,000
Business Licenses $100 to $750
Additional Funds $10,000 to $25,000
Grand Opening Advertising $2,500
Total (Without Co-branding) $554,350 to $2,032,610

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.


Nathan’s Famous



to its


Nathan’s Famous

Nathan's Famous offers a comprehensive training program for its franchisees. The training program encompasses both classroom and on-the-job training sessions. Specifically, the program covers various subjects, including:

  • Food Preparation:  The training ensures that franchisees understand the nuances of preparing dishes that align with the brand's quality standards.
  • Equipment Operation: To ensure the food's consistency and quality, it's crucial to understand how to operate the equipment correctly. This segment of the training focuses on that.
  • Sanitation: This segment ensures that franchisees understand and adhere to sanitation standards.
  • Food Cost: An understanding of food costs is vital for maintaining profitability. This training segment delves into this aspect.
  • Labor Scheduling:  This segment equips franchisees with the skills to manage their staff schedules effectively.
  • Train the Trainer: This unique segment is designed to empower franchisees to train their staff, ensuring that the brand's standards are consistently met across the board.
  • Customer Service: Given that customer satisfaction is a top priority, this segment focuses on delivering exceptional service.

The duration of the classroom training varies based on the menu level for the restaurant and the participant's prior experience. The frequency of these training sessions can range from two to three times per month to bi-monthly, depending on the subject.


Nathan’s Famous




Franchisees of Nathan's Famous do not receive an exclusive territory. This means they might face competition from other franchisees, outlets owned by the company, or other distribution channels or competitive brands controlled by the company.

Franchisees are allowed to operate a "Nathan's Famous" Restaurant only at a specific site designated in the Franchise Agreement. Any relocation of the restaurant site requires prior approval from the company. Additionally, for those operating a Mobile Unit, there are specific territorial restrictions.

The Mobile Unit Territory will exclude any areas within a two-mile radius from any existing or newly-established permanent "Nathan's Famous" restaurants located within the Mobile Unit Territory. If the Mobile Unit operates outside of this designated territory or at an unapproved location, the company has the right to terminate the Franchise Agreement immediately.

Can a

Nathan’s Famous


be run as

a passive


The franchise must be actively managed full-time by either the franchisee or an Operating Partner. This Operating Partner should have an ownership interest in the franchisee entity.

While the franchise agreement doesn't mandate personal participation by the franchisee in the direct operation of the restaurant, it does emphasize the importance of either the franchisee or the Operating Partner dedicating their full time, energy, and best efforts to the management of the restaurant.

If the franchisee is a corporation or partnership, an approved Operating Partner must supervise the restaurant's operation.

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