5 Breakfast Franchises of the Future in the US

When entrepreneurs consider worthy restaurant franchises to own, it’s often breakfast franchises on the investment platter. Better margins on the ingredients, creative menus offering lots of choices, and Americans’ love of the all-day breakfast make many breakfast restaurants a great addition to the portfolio.

However, there are many opinions on the best breakfast franchise to own. Some investors are more interested in breakfast, brunch, and lunch franchises, so they’re not limited to breakfast hours or a single meal type.

What Makes a Good Breakfast Franchise?

Many of the biggest breakfast franchise restaurant brands serve hearty dishes in lunch and dinner day-parts to accompany their Belgian waffles, French toast, eggs benedict, and big house breakfasts. But it’s also about more than the food. It’s about the menu combinations, unique flavors, fresh ingredients, comfort foods, and even Southern hospitality in some regions.

The breakfast franchise must also expand the ways guests can order, including third-party delivery apps and mobile ordering for carry-out to go along with dining in. Guests want to order many breakfast options when they want, and however they want it.

It’s a good time to be in the breakfast franchise business!

The State of the Breakfast Franchise Industry

The breakfast restaurant industry is growing, encompassing the breakfast franchise market. According to IBISWorld, breakfast restaurants and diners in the US grew by 9.8% in 2022.

Which breakfast franchise is the hottest right now to own? That answer can be incredibly personal.

Below are five brands with positive franchisee feedback and some of the best brand recognition in the United States. 

5 of the Most Popular Breakfast Franchise Brands

Let’s look at some of the biggest breakfast restaurant franchises in the US today.

Perkins Restaurant & Bakery®

Perkins® is a quintessential American diner, making a name for itself as a breakfast franchise and bakery with its legendary fresh-baked pies and classic breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. A full-service restaurant promising next-level customer service where guests are treated like family, Perkins® is a legacy brand with more than 50 years of serving guests.

The Perkins Restaurant & Bakery® includes an iconic menu where breakfast begins, with classic and innovative lunch and dinner selections.

What’s great for investors is that Perkins® has a reputation for flexibility in their franchise model, with non-traditional locations that make for unique setups that help them stand out where other franchises may not go.

To invest in a Perkins® breakfast franchise, an entrepreneur can expect an investment range between $1,530,065 and $2,499,390, with a franchise fee of $40,000.

Huddle House Franchise

Huddle House has made a name for itself as the hometown hero of breakfast franchises, partly because the company also operates in non-traditional spaces and is not afraid to take on smaller markets that other brands consider too rural. They’ve built a very loyal customer base this way.

Customers love Huddle House because they’re treated like family, but they also love the all-day breakfast menu and the motto, “Any meal. Any time.” Huddle Houses can be found along interstates in travel plazas, as part of end-cap locations alongside gas stations. Here, customers can get a burger at 5 a.m. or an omelet at 11 at night, thanks to many locations having 24/7 operating hours.

Other real estate options for Huddle House include restaurant conversions and in-line locations, which makes their franchise very flexible for the franchise owner. Many Huddle House franchisees have become multi-unit owners through this increased flexibility, starting small and expanding as their first locations grow.

To own a Huddle House, an investor can expect to pay between $576K and $1.4M, including the $35,000 franchise fee, for their initial investment in this iconic breakfast franchise.

Dunkin’ Donuts 

Dunkin’ Donuts is another legacy brand in the coffee shop and bakery that serves breakfast, though maybe not French toast. They’ve succeeded even in the growing competitiveness with brands like Starbucks.

Dunkin’ Donuts has developed a transparent and respectful culture for franchise owners, contributing to its popularity. Dunkin’ Donuts promises exceptional support to investors during their franchise launch, and with experience opening thousands of locations, it’s easy to believe.

To operate a Dunkin’ Donuts, investors have two choices, a traditional and a non-traditional investment:

  • A traditional Dunkin’ Donuts franchise is between 250 and 3100 sq ft of space and ranges between $526,900 and $1,809,500.
  • A non-traditional Dunkin’ Donuts store size starts at 500 sq ft, and the investment ranges between $121,400 and $1,310,500. 

Some of the locations Dunkin’ Donuts supports are travel centers like airport and train stations, university campuses, malls and shopping centers, and sports arenas. 

Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel restaurants became famous for Southern-style comfort food with their homestyle biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and hot fried apples. The restaurants themselves are big, built to evoke a country feel. Guests enter through a literal country store with vintage-style offerings that take them back to a more laid-back era.

The dining area is equally rustic in decor and meant to invoke the classic family dining experience of a farmstead. And it works, with Cracker Barrels nationwide growing to more than 600 locations today with a menu full of comfort foods.

However, Cracker Barrel doesn’t offer breakfast franchise opportunities. They’re not a franchise at all. The only way to invest in a Cracker Barrel is to purchase shares through public trading on the stock market.

Waffle House

Everybody loves waffles, and Waffle House knows it! Primarily located in the South, the Waffle House has built a reputation as the authority on all things waffle related. Whether that’s true or not is a matter of opinion.

They also serve other breakfast items, like sandwiches and bowls, and non-breakfast fare, like burgers, on their lunch or dinner menu. With more than 2,000 locations across 25 states, Waffle House is a brand name the nation knows. 

However, Waffle House franchising is extremely difficult to break into. It’s less about financial qualifications and matching their culture and more about networking. Even making connections within the company isn’t guaranteed—there’s a very long waiting list to become a Waffle House owner!

Franchise investors can also expect to pay handsomely for the investment, with a $200,000 – $300,000 franchise fee alone! Then, the expected investment capital on top of that can be between $600,000 to $1,300,000.

Take the Next Step in Becoming a Breakfast Restaurant Owner

If you’re looking for franchise opportunities where your breakfast restaurant chain serves a good food menu with friendly service, this list is a great place to start! Contact us today via our website!