I've been a Jack in the Box franchisee for 3 decades. Here are 4 surprising things about franchising a fast-food restaurant.

I've been a Jack in the Box franchisee for 3 decades. Here are 4 surprising things about franchising a fast-food restaurant.
  • Terry Jones has been a franchisee of Jack in the Box restaurants for nearly 37 years.

  • He spoke to Business Insider about the surprising parts of being a franchise owner.

  • Buying a franchise restaurant is more expensive than you might expect, he said.

Much like owning your own independent restaurant, owning and operating a fast-food restaurant as a franchisee can be a lot of work.

Business Insider spoke to Terry Jones, a longtime franchisee of Jack in the Box restaurants, about the most surprising parts of his job.

Jones purchased his first Jack in the Box location when he was 44 years old, nearly 37 years ago. Now, he owns and operates 16 Jack in the Box restaurants alongside his daughter, who has also become a franchisee. In total, Jack in the Box has more than 2,000 locations in the US.

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity that Jack gave me to get into this business, because I've grown and I've learned a lot through the years," Jones told Business Insider. "I've met many great people within our organization and those that are outside it."

Here are the most surprising parts about owning a fast-food restaurant, according to Jones.

Becoming a franchisee is more expensive than you might expect

jack in the box restaurant
Jack in the Box restaurant.QualityHD/Shutterstock

Jones said when he decided to purchase his first fast-food restaurant, he chose Jack in the Box based on the amount of money it took to buy into the company, which was lower compared to other chains.

However, he said it was still difficult to raise the capital needed to purchase his first Jack in the Box.

"When I started, you needed at least $100,000 in cash to get in. Now, that number could be $300,000, $400,000, or possibly higher," he said.

According to the Jack in the Box website, the minimum financial requirements to become a franchisee are $500,000 in liquid cash, a minimum net worth of $1.5 million, and a franchise fee of $50,000 per location.

"Back in the day, you could get in there and buy one restaurant. Today, most of the brands want you to do a development agreement for five or more," he continued. "So, it is more difficult, but you still need to get that cash amount. And unless you're related to a wealthy family where you can possibly get the money, you have to earn it."

Jones said he earned money flipping houses in order to purchase his first Jack in the Box restaurant.

Franchisees also have to pay to maintain and remodel their restaurants

Jones said many of the day-to-day operations of being a franchisee are now up to his daughter, but he still manages the remodeling and maintenance of his restaurants.

"I have one restaurant I'm doing now where the roof was going to come off and because it's an older building," he told Business Insider. "Everything has to be redone, so it's not cheap. We're talking about maybe $1.5 million to put that restaurant to where I want it."

There's a lot of responsibility beyond just making food

"When you become a franchisee, you realize you're walking the tightrope without the safety net anymore," Jones said. "You have to make the decisions."

Jones said that some of the responsibilities of being a franchisee include managing employees, hiring, firing, dealing with employee insurance, and managing payroll.

"There's a lot of work. It's not just flipping a hamburger," he said.

However, there are also benefits to being a franchisee compared to being a typical restaurant owner

jack in the box restaurant
The counter at a Jack in the Box restaurant.Eric Broder Van Dyke/Shutterstock

Jones said that while there's a lot that goes into becoming a fast-food franchisee, there are benefits compared to opening your own restaurant, including the security and support that comes with working with a large company.

"I had a friend of mine say to me, 'Why would you want to go and pay a franchise fee to some company? Why don't you go down on the Boulevard and open up Terry's Burgers?'" he said.

"I said, 'It's not that easy. How do I know about sourcing the product? Where does it come from? Who delivers it?'" he continued. "When you become a franchisee, all these are on your plate, and this is how you learn to grow and become a better person and a better businessman. And you've got people that are relying on you for their paycheck. That's a lot of responsibility."

Read the original article on Business Insider