The 10 biggest fast food franchises in the Australian market

The 10 Biggest Fast Food Franchises In The Australian Market On Franchise Buyer

20, 30 and 40+ years of growth will get you a long way in any market. That's what we see in the vast majority of cases in this fast food list.

Long-established fast food chains are always going to be difficult to get anywhere near them in terms of unit numbers across the country. In the vast majority of cases, we're talking about big brands that are this big due to decades of growth in the market compounding.

Yet, as we are seeing now in some instances, this multiple decade market presence, can come with it's own unique challenges to 2020 and beyond. Ageing store networks in need of substantial refurbishment and investment, becomes a significantly bigger issue when talking hundreds of locations requiring it.

All the while, new food competitors and concepts hit the market investing in new locations and more modern menu offerings. Yet, these have certainly not withstood the test of time in the market.

We created this list to help make your research and decision making process easier. We'll update as the market changes, and as we get more information for you.

1. Subway - 1300+ locations (AU)

The brand and it's franchise owners have invested heavily in the refresh of it's presence in the market. This continues to be an ongoing process across a large network of stores. Arguably the brand has suffered from it's long track record of growth success prior to increased competition and palate changes, with store numbers receding in recent years. Reports indicate the brand had some 1,400+ units in 2015.

The brand has had to address a perception of it being out-shined by many newer, on-trend food concepts.

A menu and brand refresh has the potential to attract and hold the next generation of consumers to the brand.

  • CEO = Geoff Cockerill (Country Director Australia & New Zealand)
  • Headquarters located = Brisbane, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1974
  • Investment = $195k to $360k AUD (ex GST)
  • Initial Franchise fee = $10k - $15k USD
  • Ongoing Fees = Advertising fee: 4.5% Royalty: 8% of overall sales
  • Training = 2 week training program

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 23K (global page) followers
  • Instagram = 20.6K followers
  • Twitter = 9,357 followers
  • LinkedIn = 701 followers

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2. McDonald's - 1,000+ locations (AU)

After hitting the Australian market in the early 70's, McDonald's has been a staple in the market since. For so long, its burgers mainly competed with Hungry Jacks and the corner milk bar burger. With the explosion in local specialty burger chains, arguably the global giant 'blinked' more recently with the Create your taste, hand crafted burger range, which has been withdrawn. 

Adding the McCafe concept to the business has significantly increased the ability of the business to attract a broader custom beyond it's traditional 'fast food' base.

  • CEO = Andrew Gregory
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1971 (first in Australia)
  • Investment = $2mil (approx) 
  • Initial Franchise fee = $60,000
  • Ongoing Fees = 4% advertising fee & 5% royalty fee & monthly rental fixed base+
  • Training = 12 months (min) (full time, unpaid)

Social Media Presence 

  • facebook = 80,591,352 (global) followers
  • Instagram = 159K followers
  • Twitter = 32.5k followers
  • LinkedIn = 1,230,277 (global) followers

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3. Dominos - 694 locations (AU)

The Australian Domino's master franchisor also holds the rights and operates the brand in international markets through Asia, and European countries with 2,600+ total locations. With franchise owners in the group currently averaging 2.2 stores, growth through internal candidates features prominently.

The brand has been extending its menu to appeal to a broader consumer market just beyond pizza, but also giving it the ability to increase its average transaction value.

  • CEO = Don Meij (DPE Group) / Nick Knight, CEO Australia / NZ
  • Headquarters located = Hamilton, QLD
  • Franchising Since = 1983
  • Investment = $450k - $600k
  • Initial Franchise fee = $60k
  • Ongoing Fees = 6% marketing fee & 7% royalties
  • Training = 12 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 1,138,301 followers
  • Instagram = 101k followers
  • Twitter = 36.9k followers
  • LinkedIn = 19,878 followers

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4. KFC - 680+ locations

KFC is a subsidiary of YUM! Brands, with 24,000 KFC restaurants globally. YUM! operates the KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and Habit Burger.

While KFC Australia owns and operates 50 restaurants across the country, the business is characterised in Australia with having groups of franchise owners with large blocks of restaurant numbers in regions. 

At face value, broadly, many of the locations appear tired and in need of refresh and revitalisation investment.

The brand has been effective in marketing campaigns at a national level, being highly active and visible with major sporting code promotions over an extended period, giving it arguably, a disproportionally high profile . In saying that, it can't be said that the brand is aggressive and highly innovative in stretching it's menu range across the years.

  • CEO = Tony Lowings, CEO KFC Global
  • Headquarters located = Frenchs Forest, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1968 (first Australian restaurant)
  • Investment = $1,309,900 (approx)
  • Initial Franchise fee = TBA
  • Ongoing Fees = Advertising fee: 5% of Gross Revenues | Royalty Fee: 5% of Gross Revenues
  • Training = TBA

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 55.8M (global) followers
  • Instagram = 163K followers
  • Twitter = 29.4K followers
  • LinkedIn = 161,628 (global YUM) followers

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5. Hungry Jacks - 420+ locations 

Hungry Jacks (aka Burger King in the USA), has been a permanent presence in the Australian market basically since the arrival of McDonald's. 

The brand has a high proportion of company owned and run outlets, with a lower % of stores owned and operated by franchise partners.

At face value, broadly, many of the locations appear tired and in need of refresh and revitalisation investment.

  • CEO = Chris Green
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1971
  • Investment = $2.6mil (approx) 
  • Initial Franchise fee = TBA
  • Ongoing Fees = TBA
  • Training = TBA

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 663,733 followers
  • Instagram = 63.3K followers
  • Twitter = 11.8k followers
  • LinkedIn = 15,719 followers

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6. Red Rooster - 360 (AU) locations

Owned by multi-brand operator, Craveable brands, which also runs Oporto and Chicken Treat. Another brand in this fast food niche that appear to have a significant portion of aged locations in need of refresh and re-investment. 

This looks to be a crucial next phase of the brands life cycle. Having trouble with it's place in the market over recent years with fresher, on-trend food competitors pouring into the market and no-doubt taking market share from it, Red Rooster has signalled a clear intent and plan to take action.

This is clear from the brands' website; “In 2020 and beyond Red Rooster will be transforming... from modernising the restaurant design, to improving technology in restaurant as well as customer interfaces, to food innovation including new burgers, new snacks and diversifying our chicken offering.

Kudos to the brand for clearly acknowledging the issue, and acting bolder than many other established food brands who we've seen decline over recent years. Now for the delivery on the plan for all stakeholders.

  • CEO = Clint Ault
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1979
  • Investment = $350k - $900k (depends on store type)
  • Initial Franchise fee = $50k
  • Ongoing Fees = Marketing fund: 6% weekly sales | Royalty fee: 5% weekly sales
  • Training = 10 week (with an initial training fee of $12,500 + GST)

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 282K followers
  • Instagram = 17K followers
  • Twitter = 1,374 followers
  • LinkedIn = 6,322 followers

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7. Nando's - 270 (AU) locations 

Founded in South Africa in 1987, the brand sells franchises only there and in Australia, yet operates in 35 countries.

The brand was highly visible and very strong in on-going growth and market presence several years ago in Australia, yet has a had a period of significant decline over recent years. Operates a self-proclaimed 'blended franchise and company owned store model.'.

Unfortunately, the company has featured extensively in reports over recent years centred around issues of store refurbishment costs and closures. The refurbishment works would seem crucial in order to position the brand for the future competitive fast food / casual dining consumer market. 

  • CEO = Amanda Banfield
  • Headquarters located = Abbotsford, VIC
  • Franchising Since = 1990 (AU)
  • Investment = $950k to $1mil (approx.) 
  • Initial Franchise fee = $48,500
  • Ongoing Fees = 4.5% advertising fee | 8% royalties (varies per state/region)
  • Training = 12 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 4.5M (global) followers
  • Instagram = 44.7K followers
  • Twitter = 15K followers
  • LinkedIn = 8,413 followers

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8. Pizza Hut - 254 locations

The master franchisee licence for the brand was purchased by Allegro private equity from Yum! Brands in late 2016. It has also purchased the remaining Eagle Boys locations (127) in 2016. By appearances, the brand has slowed new franchise development with the brand withdrawn as a corporate presence from the vast majority of recognised franchise growth platforms.

  • CEO = Phil Reed
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1970 (entered Australia)
  • Investment = from $300k
  • Initial Franchise fee = Varies
  • Ongoing Fees = 5.5% marketing fee & 6% royalties
  • Training = 8 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 32,042,390 followers (global)
  • Instagram = 11.9k followers
  • Twitter = 4,461 followers
  • LinkedIn = 772 follower

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9. Zambrero - 181 (AU) locations 

Quite an amazing story, founded by Dr Sam Prince in Canberra in 2005 while a university student. The brand achieved surprising growth over an extended period across 2013 - 2017 or there about's, when other Mexican brands trying to push into the market were seemingly unable to match them for whatever reason, which remains unclear.

It has clearly positioned its brand persona around 'helping to end world hunger' with its Plate 4 Plate initiative, and this has been a key pillar of their customer and franchisee related marketing. This initiative is to be highly commended.

The question with the brand into the future, is one around its ability to attract and retain its customer share of market, with competition increasing rapidly in Mexican offerings in particular, into the Australian market. 

Multi-restaurant ownership is encouraged in the network.

  • CEO = Bianca Azzopardi
  • Headquarters located = Sydney, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 2009
  • Investment = $350k to $450k
  • Initial Franchise fee = $30k
  • Ongoing Fees = Marketing/Advertising: 3% of gross | Royalty: 7% of gross
  • Training = 4 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 201K followers
  • Instagram = 24.6K followers
  • Twitter = 1,705 followers
  • LinkedIn = 4,587 (global) followers

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10. Oporto - 172 locations

Owned by multi-brand operator, Craveable Brands, which also operates the Red Rooster and Chicken Treat brands. 

With the vast majority of stores located in NSW, the brand is focusing on growth in the QLD, VIC and WA markets in 2020. The brand has also had expansion into Singapore and Sri Lanka recently as well.  

  • CEO = Helen Moore
  • Headquarters located = Chatswood, NSW
  • Franchising Since = 1986 (brand started)
  • Investment = $450k - $900k
  • Initial Franchise fee = $50,000
  • Ongoing Fees = 4-6% advertising fee & 6% royalties
  • Training = 10-12 weeks

Social Media Presence 

  • Facebook = 144,176 followers
  • Instagram = 13.7K followers
  • Twitter = 2,475 followers
  • LinkedIn = 2,365 followers

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Note: And of course, please contact the brands direct for the most up to date information, as while we've done our best to be as accurate as possible, we know some of this information can be a moving target at times unfortunately!