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15 Best Burger Businesses to Start in 2024

15 Best Burger Businesses to Start in 2024

Are you looking for a list of the best burger businesses to start from this year?

At Jack in the Box, we understand it can be hard to pick just one because there are so many options to choose from.

In this article, we will highlight fifteen of the best burger franchises to start in no particular order.

Jack in the Box

We simply had to put ourselves on this list because of our innovative menu, flexible restaurant designs, and franchise opportunities in prime U.S. markets.

Jack in the Box offers a large and distinctive 24/7 menu with five dayparts to our customers. This means you can get anything on our menu at any time – day or night.

Plus, our 1,350 square foot prototype features dual drive-throughs for higher order volume and a walk-up window for mobile orders to ensure you’re ready to serve today’s consumer.

When you look at our map of available markets, you’ll see most of the United States is available with a focus on exciting markets like:

Being able to develop multiple franchises in markets with this much potential is rare in the quick service restaurant (QSR) industry. It would be hard to do with other top brands.

Many of the legacy franchise brands you’re familiar with across the country don’t have whitespace availability like we do at Jack in the Box.

This means you have an opportunity to grow a multi-unit portfolio with a brand that has supported our franchisees for more than 70 years.


McDonald’s is one of the most well-known burger franchises in the world. It’s hard to find anyone who isn’t familiar with their “I’m Lovin’ It” advertising campaign.

They currently have more than 38,000 locations in over 100 countries. Approximately 93% of McDonald’s restaurants are owned and operated by independent local business owners.

The availability of restaurants in specific areas is uncertain until you’ve completed your franchisee training. Keep in mind, you may be required to relocate to your nearest restaurant opportunity.


In 1969, Dave Thomas opened the first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio. It didn’t take long for their quick-service chain restaurant to become famous for square beef patties and Frosty desserts.

Today, they operate 7,000 restaurants worldwide and are looking for new and diverse franchisees to join their team.

They have a variety of limited and available markets throughout the U.S. with a focus on California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Alabama, Tennessee, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts.

Burger King

Burger King currently has more than 7,000 restaurants across the U.S. with opportunities for growth across the U.S. and international markets.

This burger franchise is known for creating signature recipes and providing family-friending dining experiences. Every day, more than 11 million guests visit Burger King restaurants around the world.

They empower franchisees with built-in support for ongoing operations along with training to gain access and know-how across all aspects of the business.


Culver’s is a drive-thru burger franchise known for their frozen custard, butterburgers, and cheese curds.

Since 1984, they have grown from their first location in Sauk City, Wisconsin to more than 800 restaurant locations in 25 different states.

They are looking for owner-operators with the skills to take a team of people and operate a Culver’s according to their high standards.


The story of Whataburger began at a 24-hour burger stand in Corpus Christi, Texas. 70 years later, they have grown to more than 890 locations throughout the United States.

Their original idea was to serve a burger so big it took two hands to hold, and so good it caused customers to exclaim, “What a burger!” after their first bite.

Whataburger was family-owned until their recent acquisition by an investment company. This has allowed for more franchises to open in new markets.


Freddy’s is a nostalgic fast-casual restaurant with cooked-to-order steakburgers, hot dogs, shoestring fries, and frozen custard.

They are one of the fastest-growing franchises in the United States with 400 locations around the world.

Currently, they offer exclusive territories that are available across the U.S. along with international opportunities.

Carl’s Jr & Hardee’s

Since 1997, Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s have been sister companies of, CKE Restaurants, their parent company.

Hardee’s is known as the east coast equivalent of Carl’s Jr. However, both of these burger franchises can be found around the world.

As of 2016, CKE Restaurants has a total of 3,664 franchised and company-operated restaurants in 44 states and 38 foreign countries.


Sonic has been one of America’s favorite drive-in burger franchises for more than 65 years.

Since 1959, they have grown their number of drive-in restaurants to 32,000 locations across the world.

If you’re interested in a burger franchise with a unique dining experience, you should consider Sonic.

Five Guys

Five Guys is a fast casual restaurant focused on burgers, hot dogs, fries, and complimentary peanuts.

In 1986, the first Five Guys restaurant opened in Arlington County, VA. Since they began franchising in 2002, they’ve grown to more than 1,500 locations in 16 countries.

From 2010 to 2011, they were the fastest-growing fast food chain in the United States with a 32.8% sales increase.

Checkers & Rally’s

Not too long ago, these two burger franchises used to be independent drive-thru restaurants.

In 1999, Checkers acquired Rally’s and joined the two brands to create one unique franchise opportunity.

Both restaurants offer dual drive-thru lanes and operate with the same menu provided by the same distributors.

As of 2022, they are headquartered in Tampa, FL and have a combined 878 locations throughout the United States.


If you had to guess how Smashburger prepares their burgers, you’d probably figure it out on the first try.

At Smashburger, you order at the counter then sit while your burger is prepared. Ground beef is smashed on the grill then seasoned and cooked within 3 minutes.

They set the record as the quickest fast-casual concept to hit the 200-restaurant milestone. You can find their +340 locations in 38 states and 9 countries.


BurgerFi is a fast-casual burger concept with approximately 120 franchised and corporate-owned restaurants.

They are known for delivering an all-natural burger experience in contemporary and sustainably designed restaurants that look much like your local coffee shop.

On their menu, you’ll also find quinoa-based veggie burgers along with frozen custard desserts, craft beer, and wine.

Steak ‘n Shake

Steak ‘n Shake is an American casual restaurant famous for their steakburgers and milkshakes.

They operate 414 corporate restaurants with 214 franchised establishments for a total of 628 in the United States, Europe, and Middle East.

They are currently looking for “Franchise Partners” to take over operations for company-owned Steak ‘n Shake locations.


In-N-Out is a regional burger business with locations primarily found in California and the Southwestern United States.

Their menu is known for burgers, fries, and milkshakes. Unfortunately, they are not currently looking for franchisees to expand their business at this time.

Check Out These Additional Resources

We hope this list of the best burger businesses to start helped you narrow down your search.

At Jack in the Box, we’re looking for multi-unit franchisees who are excited to bring our craveable 24/7 menu to new markets across the country.

Here are some additional online resources you may like to check out:

If you have any questions, please contact our franchise sales and support team.

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