A franchise is a business relationship between an independent operator (franchisee) and a more well-established business owner (franchiser). The franchisee uses the business name, know-how, philosophy, trademark, advertising, system and concept of the franchiser. In exchange, the franchiser gets a percentage of the franchisee's gross income and royalties. Many fast food companies such as McDonalds, Burger King and Subway are run this way.
Research your franchise options and choose the one you'd like to operate. There are various fast food franchises available each with its own requirements for new franchisees. You need to study all of them in order to settle on the franchise that agrees with your values and how you will like to run your business. USA Today has a comprehensive franchise research tool.
Decide on your budget. Starting a franchise is usually an expensive process because everything from how the building looks to how each particular meal is made has to meet the franchise's stipulations. There is little room for variation, so you need to make sure that your budget will meet these requirements. Franchises could require an investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes millions.
Get the money you will need. If you intend on getting a loan from a bank, you will need a detailed business plan as well as all the information about the franchise and the way it operates in order to apply for a loan. Some franchises such as Checker's and Charley's also have a net worth requirement, which you will have to meet.
Meet your staffing and facilities requirements. You will need to have your staff in place and ready to go before you open your franchise. You will also need to bring the business premises in line with the franchise's standards and this may involve some renovations.
Open your franchise when everything is in place. Most franchises have different phases of support available until you are able to stand on your own two feet and begin the growth phase of your business.