Qdoba Mexican Eats Franchise Costs, Fees & Owner Salary (2023)









May 2, 2024


Qdoba Mexican Eats

a franchise?

Qdoba Mexican Eats

Headquartered in San Diego, California, Qdoba Mexican Eats is a chain of fast-casual restaurants with presence across the United States and Canada.

Qdoba Mexican Eats was founded in 1995 by Anthony Miller and Robert Hauser in the vibrant streets of Denver, Colorado.

The chain serves mostly authentic Mexican-inspired dishes featuring burritos, nachos, taco salads, and quesadillas, and other delicious offerings.

Majority of the Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurants offer chips and a dazzling array of sauces, dips, and refreshing beverages. However, some select locations serve fine wine, margaritas, beer, and a captivating selection of other libations.

Since its journey into franchising in 1997, the Qdoba Mexican Eats family has grown, with a presence of over 600 restaurants in the US and Canada. Among these, 406 are franchise-owned, marking a 54% growth.

How many

Qdoba Mexican Eats


are there?

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

What are the

Qdoba Mexican Eats



Advertising fee


Initial Franchise Fee ($30,000 for traditional units; $15,000 for Non-Traditional units)

This fee grants the franchisee the right to operate a Qdoba Mexican Eats restaurant. The fee is due upon signing the Franchise Agreement and is non-refundable. If the franchise term is for fewer than the standard ten years, the Franchise Fee is $3,000 for each year or partial year in excess of six months.

Royalty Fee (5% of gross sales)

Franchisees are required to pay a royalty fee of 5% of their gross sales. This fee is for the ongoing right to use the Qdoba Mexican Eats trademarks and systems.

Advertising (3% of gross sales)

  • Marketing Fund (1.75% of Gross Sales, with potential to increase up to 4%): Franchisees are required to make weekly advertising contributions to the Marketing Fund. The rate can be increased by a half percent (0.5%) of Gross Sales in any 12-month period, up to a maximum of four percent (4%). Increases above four percent (4%) require approval by majority vote of system restaurants.
  • Local Advertising (1.25% of Gross Sales): On an ongoing basis, franchisees are required to spend this amount on local advertising. They are responsible for the cost of the placement of such advertising with various media. Franchisees can develop their own advertising material but must obtain prior written approval from the company before using it.
  • Grand Opening Advertising (up to $5,000): Franchisees operating at a traditional site are required to spend up to this amount on grand opening advertising.

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

Qdoba Mexican Eats


It costs between
to start a
Qdoba Mexican Eats

The investment varies based on the type of restaurant model chosen. For a "Traditional Qdoba Restaurant", the estimated initial investment ranges from $489,200 - $1,178,000 On the other hand, the "Non-Traditional Qdoba Restaurant" model requires an estimated initial investment ranging from $252,800 to $816,700. Below, we provide a detailed breakdown of these costs to offer a clearer picture of the financial commitment involved.

Initial investment for a Traditional Qdoba Restaurant

Type of Expenditure Amount
Franchise Fee $30,000
Development costs: plans, legal fees, permits $10,000 - $50,000
Leasehold improvements $180,000 - $500,000
Furnishings, fixtures and equipment $185,000 - $380,000
Signage $5,000 - $50,000
IT and other Systems $33,700 - $84,000
Opening inventory $5,000 - $10,000
Travel and living expenses while training Varies
Miscellaneous preopening expenses $5,000 - $15,000
Grand opening advertising $5,000 - $25,000
Insurance $5,000 - $10,000
Liquor license Varies depending on location
Real property lease / purchase costs Varies depending on location
Business licenses, health permits and similar permits $500 - $3,000 (Varies depending on location)
Additional funds – 3 months $25,000 - $150,000
Total (excluding real property and liquor license costs) $489,200 - $1,307,000

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.


Qdoba Mexican Eats



to its


Qdoba Mexican Eats

Before a franchisee can operate a Qdoba restaurant, they must complete an application package specific to the type of site they wish to operate. Additionally, a non-disclosure agreement must be signed.

If a franchisee aims to develop multiple Qdoba restaurants, they must also sign a Development Agreement and pay a Development Fee. It's crucial for potential franchisees to understand that they shouldn't obtain any interest in a site for a Qdoba restaurant until they've signed the necessary agreements and received written approval for the site from Qdoba.

In conclusion, Qdoba offers a comprehensive and structured approach to its franchise system, ensuring that franchisees are well-equipped and prepared to operate their restaurants successfully.


Qdoba Mexican Eats




Franchisees are granted certain rights within a designated geographical area known as the "Development Area". This Development Area is described in an exhibit attached to the Development Agreement.

The size of the designated Development Area varies based on factors such as population concentrations. However, franchisees do not receive an exclusive territory. They may face competition from other franchisees, from outlets that Qdoba owns, or from other channels of distribution of competitive brands controlled by Qdoba.

Furthermore, during the term of the Franchise Agreement, Qdoba will not, without the franchisee's consent, establish or franchise another to establish, a new Qdoba restaurant at any location within the franchisee's Protected Territory.

Can a

Qdoba Mexican Eats


be run as

a passive


For individuals or entities considering a franchise opportunity with Qdoba Mexican Eats, it's essential to recognize the importance of active involvement in the restaurant's operations.

If you have more than one Qdoba franchised restaurant, they must always be under the full-time supervision of a Designated Operator (DO) and a General Manager. The DO, in particular, should have at least three years of multi-unit experience in restaurant operations.

Additionally, the person responsible for the day-to-day supervision of the restaurant must commit to the role full-time. They shouldn't engage in any other business or activity that might require significant management responsibility or time commitments that could conflict with their obligations under the Franchise Agreement.

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