Healthy or Comfort? Which is the Right Food Franchise to Buy in 2021?
In our final entry on the the best food franchises to buy in 2021 we're digging into whether customers prefer comfort food or healthier options as the pandemic continues.
Data on changes in consumers' dining habits during COVID-19 has been mixed. Some studies have shown that Americans are eating increasingly healthier during the pandemic, with 18% of consumers purchasing a plant-based entree for the first time and many shoppers making a conscious effort to eat less meat and dairy. Other data shows the opposite, with cookie sales up 147%.
So where will consumer preferences ultimately settle? The truth is that no one really knows. So if you're considering purchasing a franchise, why not hedge your bets with comfort food and a healthier option on the side?
Let's take a look at a few franchises for sale that fit the bill.
Mexican Food Franchises for Sale
According to a recent DoorDash survey, 40% of respondents missed Mexican food the most, with three of their top 10 delivery items being Mexican food. With this kind of customer craving, a Mexican food franchise is a safe bet to buy in 2021.
Fuzzy's Taco Shop
From its humble founding as a neighborhood taco shop in Fort Worth in 2003, Fuzzy's has grown to more than 100 locations throughout the U.S. The franchise was able to quickly pivot to curbside pickup and delivery during the pandemic, aided by new best-selling menu options like family meals, which helped it keep pandemic revenue declines in the single digits and had some locations seeing up to 12% growth. Backed by franchise-focused private equity company NRD Capital, Fuzzy's will have resources to draw on for the long haul. Franchise startup costs begin at $597,000, and you can request more information about starting a franchise with Fuzzy's Taco Shop at this link.
Qdoba has been franchising since 1996, and was voted as one of the 10 best best fast-casual restaurant in 2019 and 2020 by USA Today. The franchise has continued to open new locations during the pandemic, most recently in San Diego, and counts more than 700 locations in its portfolio. Startup costs run $750,000, and you can view franchise opportunities with Qdoba at this link.
Backed by franchise powerhouse Inspire Brands, Rusty Taco is a relative newcomer that has been franchising since 2011 and has expanded to 33 locations. The franchise's concept includes open-air dining on patios and semi-covered spaces, which helps attract diners concerned about social distancing. Startup costs begin at $512,000, and you can learn more about available franchises with Rusty Taco at this link.
One of the most well-known Mexican food franchises, Taco Bell has been franchising since 1964. After initially weathering a pandemic-driven storm that affected its breakfast and late-night offerings, Taco Bell is seeing positive year-over-year revenue growth while its corporate parent works on concept innovations to add additional drive-through lanes to most locations to better accommodate a surging demand for take-out that has also increased digital orders by nearly $1 billion. To learn more about purchasing a franchise with Taco Bell, click here.
Healthy and Salad Franchises for Sale
As much as we'd all like to, we can't live on burritos alone. Here are several healthy food franchises that can help customers looking for smarter dining choices during the pandemic.
Saladworks has been recognized in Franchise Times' Top 200 list, among other awards since beginning franchising in 2002 and currently operates in 23 states. Showing flexibility during the pandemic, Saladworks recently partnered with ShopRite to introduce salad kiosks in the grocery store chain in order to open an alternative revenue stream for its franchisees, and is also delivering food via robots in high-density areas like cities and colleges. Saladworks' franchise startup costs are $125,000, and you can review available franchise opportunities at this link.
Zoup! has been able to expand into retail markets as well, operating more than 7,000 locations that include Walmart, Fresh Thyme and Stop & Shop. With consumer sales of comfort foods like soup likely to increase in the cooler fall months, Zoup! is poised for growth. The company has been franchising since 2003, and startup costs begin at $125,000. To learn more about franchises for sale at Zoup!, click here.