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Jack in the Box vs Whataburger: Which Franchise Is Best?

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Are you searching for the differences between franchising with Jack in the Box vs Whataburger?

At Jack in the Box, we understand you have a lot of choices to make when it comes to finding the best franchise opportunity for you.

In this article, we’ll take an in-depth look at five key differences between Jack in the Box and Whataburger when it comes to franchising.

1) Available Markets

Finding an available market is one of the most important steps in your franchising journey.

Let’s look at current locations in the United States for both companies:

  • Whataburger: +850 Locations
  • Jack in the Box: +2,200 Locations

When compared to the +14,000 McDonald’s locations in the United States, Whataburger and Jack in the Box have a relatively low number of restaurants across the country.

At Jack in the Box, this means you have an opportunity to develop your restaurant in some of the most exciting markets in the country. Plus, a better chance at finding availability in your preferred location.

When you look at our map of available markets, you’ll see most of the cities and states outside of California, Texas, and Utah are open for new restaurants.

As of 2022, the only franchise opportunities currently available at Whataburger are located in Jackson, TN and parts of Northern Mississippi.

2) Investment Requirements

Before you begin the process of becoming a franchisee, you must meet certain investment requirements.

These requirements typically involve a minimum for liquid cash available and net worth along with a franchisee fee.

Whataburger Investment Requirements:

  • Minimum Liquidity: $5,000,000
  • Minimum Net Worth: $12.5 Million
  • Franchise Fee: $40,000 per Location

Jack in the Box Investment Requirements:

  • Minimum Liquidity: $500,000
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1.0 Million
  • Franchise Fee: $50,000 per Location

The minimum liquidity for Whataburger is 10X the requirement for Jack in the Box. Plus, they require franchisees to have an extra $11.5M in net worth.

Keep in mind, you’ll also be responsible for paying ongoing royalty fees as a franchisee.

Jack in the Box charges an ongoing 5% royalty and a 5% ongoing marketing royalty.

Whataburger charges an ongoing 5-6% royalty and a 2% advertising royalty fee.

3) Business Partners

If you’re unable to meet the financial requirements mentioned above, there are many potential sources of liquidity that may be overlooked. For example:

  • Business Partners
  • Local Banks & Credit Unions
  • Stocks & Bonds
  • 401k Rollovers
  • Home Equity

At Jack in the Box, we allow our franchisees to have business partners to help them meet our investment requirements.

Currently, the Whataburger website doesn’t mention if they give franchisees the opportunity to operate with business partners.

4) Real Estate Ownership

One thing in common between Jack in the Box vs Whataburger is the ability of the franchisee to own the real estate associated with their restaurant.

At Jack in the Box, our franchisees can purchase or lease the property where their restaurants are located. We even have an entire real estate and leasing team to help you find available real estate and assist with lease negotiations.

Whataburger prefers ground leases in most situations. This means investors are able to buy the dirt underneath the roughly 3,500 square foot building.

5) Menu Variety

Jack in the Box and Whataburger offer similar menu items like burgers, fries, and shakes. Plus, most of their locations are open 24/7 with breakfast offered all day.

When it comes to variety, there’s a clear winner who offers much more than the delicious burgers and fries they’re known for.

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 the menu at any time – day or night.

Plus, we have a wider menu variety than Whataburger with items like:

  • Tacos
  • Egg Rolls
  • Fajitas

These items are quickly developing a cult following of their own.

Check Out These Additional Resources

We hope this article gave you a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages between Jack in the Box and McDonald’s.

At Jack in the Box, we work with our franchisees every step of the way to get their restaurants up and running.

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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