Dunkin’ Donuts Franchise Costs
Buying a franchise allows you to hit the ground running — the brand often provides training, supplies the products and helps with marketing, so you don’t have to start from scratch. But franchising also comes with significant startup and ongoing costs.
You may be able to get a donut from Dunkin’ for only around a dollar, but the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise cost will leave a dent in your bank account. The minimum investment needed to open a Dunkin’ franchise is $121,400, while some locations may require an investment of up to $1,787,700.
Dunkin’ Donuts franchise overview: What to know
For more than 70 years Dunkin’ Donuts has been serving coffee and baked goods, though the advent of the company’s famous pumpkin-flavored fall treats came later. Dunkin’ Donuts has more than 11,300 restaurant locations worldwide, with more than 8,500 located in the United States, and serves more than 3 million customers each day. Nearly all of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurants are franchises, though its parent brand, Inspired Brands, purchased 31 restaurants in 2022.
Inspired Brands acquired Dunkin’ Brands Group in 2020, making it the second-largest restaurant company in the nation. Other restaurants under the parent company include Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, Buffalo Wild Wings and SONIC Drive-In.
Dunkin’ Donuts franchise costs
Buying a franchise can be costly. To begin operating a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, you’ll need to invest between $121,400 and $1,787,700 upfront. Dunkin’ does not provide financing directly, but does partner with lenders to offer a variety of types of small business loans, including equipment loans and commercial real estate loans. The fees vary by location and store type.
For traditional investment opportunities in stores ranging from 1,200 to 2,600 square feet, you can expect the following startup and ongoing costs:
- Initial franchise fee: $40,000 to $90,000
- Continuing franchise fee: 2% to 6%
- Advertising fee: 5%
- Investment range: $526,900 to $1,787,700
For non-traditional opportunities, such as restaurants in airports and universities that are as small as 500 square feet, the fees and requirements are different. You can expect the following startup and ongoing costs:
- Annual franchise fee: $1,000 to $2,250
- Continuing franchise fee: 5.9%
- Advertising fee: 2.5%
- Investment range: $121,400 to $972,800
To be eligible for these opportunities at Dunkin’ Donuts, you’ll need to meet the following criteria:
- Minimum net worth: $500,000
- Liquid assets: $250,000
Dunkin’ Donuts franchise process
To apply for a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise, follow these steps:
Fill out the application
Start by answering the questions in the Dunkin’ Brands application. You’ll select whether you’re interested in purchasing an existing restaurant or building a new one. You’ll also choose between a traditional and non-traditional location and specify how many restaurants you want to build or develop, along with a location. You’ll then enter your personal details, financial details and work history.
Secure franchise funding
The next step is to get a business loan. Dunkin’ can connect you with lenders offering franchise financing, including SBA-backed loans, or you may choose to work directly with a bank or online lender. Some of the options you might consider include:
- SBA 7(a) loan: This popular loan program from the U.S. Small Business Administration offers up to $5 million in funding that you can use for almost any business need, including working capital and the construction or renovation of a building.
- SBA 504/CDC loan: These are long-term, fixed-rate loans in amounts of up to $5 million that can be used for major fixed assets, such as a new store or kitchen equipment.
- Equipment loan: With an equipment loan, you borrow the money upfront to buy large kitchen machinery and repay it in fixed, monthly installments of principal and interest.
- Business line of credit: Business lines of credit come with lower borrowing limits, but you can borrow from these revolving lines of credit as needed and pay back only what you borrow plus interest.
Business plan and financial review
Meet with the Dunkin’ team, conduct due diligence and gain insights from existing franchisees. You’ll then present your business plan and financial information for approval and submit for a background check. Once approved, you’ll choose your store location and sign your Store Development Agreement.
Prepare for your grand opening
You’ll participate in the Dunkin’ Brand training program for about 15 days and have access to online training as well. You’ll also work with the Dunkin’ real estate team to develop your site. You’ll then need to set up your back-of-house technology, train your employees and access marketing programs for your store before your grand opening.
Dunkin’ Donuts franchise pros and cons
Dunkin’ supports franchisees with construction, training, technology and marketing
Dunkin’ consistently ranks as the number one coffee brand in the Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Index
Non-traditional restaurant options require a lower initial investment
Dunkin’ doesn’t offer franchisor-direct financing
Buying an existing business is expensive. Franchisees are required to have $500,000 in net worth and $250,000 in liquid assets
Buying a Dunkin Donuts’ franchise may limit your creativity, since products and marketing strategies will be decided for you
Franchise alternatives to Dunkin’ Donuts
If a Dunkin’ Donuts franchise doesn’t seem like the right business opportunity for you, there are many other restaurant franchises you might consider. Here’s how a few other options compare.
If burgers are more your speed, McDonald’s provides more extensive training and support to franchisees than Dunkin’ Donuts. You’ll be required to participate in a 12- to 18-month training program, which you may view as helpful or cumbersome. McDonald’s does not offer financing and has more stringent financial requirements than Dunkin’ — you must have at least $700,000 in non-borrowed, unencumbered, personal resources to be considered. McDonald’s also requires an ongoing 4% service fee, ongoing rent and a $45,000 license fee for a 20-year term.
- Initial fee: $45,000 plus a 25% to 40% down payment
- Total investment: Undisclosed
- Liquid assets: at least $500,000 minimum
Subway is a sandwich franchise that has more lenient financial requirements for prospective franchisees and a lower initial investment than many other restaurants. The company also offers the potential to invest in multiple units, and you can enjoy a quicker timeline to opening if you choose to remodel an existing restaurant. Subway also offers a three-week online training program and ongoing support. However, there are ongoing royalty and advertising fees that add up to 12.5% of gross sales. In addition, the following startup costs are required:
- Initial fee: $15,000 per location
- Total investment: $207,050 to $476,900
- Liquid assets: $100,000
Cold Stone Creamery
Cold Stone Creamery is an artisanal ice cream franchise that has been around for 34 years and is rapidly expanding. The company aims to open hundreds of locations over the next several years. Unlike many other franchise restaurants, Cold Stone Creamery doesn’t require you to have restaurant experience to get started. Plus, the company offers initial and ongoing training with monthly check-ins along. Marketing and PR assistance is also provided, including social media training. And the Cold Stone Creamery initial investment requirement is lower than the Dunkin’ Donuts franchise cost.
- Initial fee: $12,000 to $27,000
- Total investment: $53,200 to $580,650
- Liquid assets: $120,000
As with any franchise opportunity, there are significant costs involved and, even with the included support, you’ll need to devote a lot of time and energy to achieve success for your Dunkin’ Donuts store. If you do proceed with opening a Dunkin’ franchise, be sure to celebrate your new business with a bite of something chocolate-glazed or rainbow-sprinkled.