Fried Chicken > How much does fried chicken cost to make

How Much Does Fried Chicken Cost to Make?

Fried chicken is a popular comfort food that can be found in restaurants across America. For many entrepreneurs, opening a fried chicken restaurant or food truck is an appealing business venture.

However, the costs involved in making fried chicken from scratch may be more than some realize. In this article, we’ll break down the typical expenses involved in fried chicken production.


The single biggest cost when making fried chicken is the chicken itself. Whole chickens generally cost between $0.99 to $1.99 per pound. After cutting a whole chicken into 8 pieces, you can expect each piece to cost around $0.75 to $1.50.

Beyond the chicken, you’ll need flour, eggs, and oil or shortening for frying. Spices like salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, etc. bring flavor. Expect to pay around $0.30 per piece of chicken for these extra ingredients.


From butchering chickens to mixing batter and frying, producing fried chicken requires substantial labor. At minimum wage, labor may cost $0.25 or more per piece. Skilled fry cooks or chefs will expect higher pay.

Related post: How much does fried chicken cost in Korea?


Commercial fryers, vent hoods, and other kitchen equipment represent major startup costs. Basic fryers start around $2,000, while heavy duty models run $5,000 to $10,000. Ventilation hoods are also required, typically starting around $1,500 installed. Other costs include gas, electric, insurance, and building maintenance.


Fried chicken sold through restaurants or takeout will need appropriate packaging. Foil sheets, boxes, paper bags, and branding will create additional expenses per piece.

Is Selling Fried Chicken Profitable?

Given the significant ingredients, labor, equipment, and packaging costs involved, operating a profitable fried chicken business takes tight cost control and reasonable prices. Fried chicken can certainly be profitable, but restaurants must carefully manage their finances.

Most successful fried chicken outlets price each piece between $2 to $6 on average. This means a minimum breakeven cost below $1.50 per piece. Keeping costs within this range takes an efficient operation and fair pricing strategies. New businesses should be prepared for potentially lean startup periods before turning a consistent profit.

Strong customer demand, efficient processes, and fair prices make success possible. Large established franchises also benefit from bulk purchasing and optimized operations. With popularity remaining high, there are plenty of opportunities in the fried chicken market.

How Much Does It Cost to Open a KFC?

As one of the largest fried chicken chains, KFC offers an appealing franchise opportunity. However, the costs involved are significant. KFC estimates the total investment to open a new restaurant ranges from $1.2 million to $2.5 million. This includes:

    • Initial franchise fee – $45,000
    • Real estate and build out – $500,000 to $1.5 million
    • Equipment and furnishings – $300,000 to $500,000
    • Initial inventory and working capital – $150,000 to $300,000
    • Other expenses like signage and security deposits

Beyond the high startup costs, KFC franchisees pay an ongoing royalty fee equal to 5% of sales. Other fees may also apply. While costly, KFC provides training, brand recognition, and optimized processes to franchisees. This boosts the potential for success and return on investment.

Is Owning a KFC Profitable?

Given the steep startup and ongoing costs, owning a KFC can be highly profitable if successful. The average KFC restaurant generates $1.2 million to $2.5 million in annual sales. Profit margins vary but are often estimated between 10% to 15% of sales. Based on this, a typical location may produce $120,000 to $375,000 in profit per year.

Top performing locations can be even more lucrative. With over 4,500 US locations, KFC remains in high demand. Strong brand recognition and customer loyalty make it a go-to choice for fried chicken. Franchisees benefit from corporate support and optimized operations. For those able to take on the major investment, owning a KFC carries substantial money-making potential.

How Much Does a KFC Franchise Make?

As independent business owners, KFC franchisees have earnings based largely on their store’s annual profits. The average franchise location may produce owner earnings between $100,000 to $250,000 per year. However, this can vary substantially based on sales, costs, staffing, and local economic conditions.

Some franchisees operate multiple locations to increase their overall earnings. KFC will only grant franchises to candidates with substantial net worth and liquid assets. This ensures franchisees are financially prepared to operate effectively.

Beyond profits, franchisees must consider their return on investment and payback period. Given the high startup costs, it often takes several years for profits to fully repay the initial investment. Strong unit economics and profitability make KFC a desirable franchise business for many entrepreneurs despite the challenges.

How much does it cost to buy the ingredients for fried chicken?

Total ingredient costs per piece of fried chicken are typically $0.75 – $1.50, including the chicken itself, flour, eggs, spices, and oil. Larger from-scratch operations buy wholesale chicken for cost savings.

What are the additional costs beyond ingredients?

Labor, equipment, rent, insurance, packaging, utilities, and other expenses add considerably to production costs. These overhead costs often equal or exceed the base ingredients.

How much should I charge customers for fried chicken?

Most restaurants price fried chicken between $2 – $6 per piece. Cost per piece should be kept below $1.50 to maintain profitability at these price points. Demand, competition, and economic conditions also impact ideal pricing.

Can I start a fried chicken business on a budget?

Keeping start-up costs low is difficult, as commercial kitchen equipment, insurance, and inventory require major up-front investment. However, some home-based food trucks and caterers can launch for under $50,000 in total costs with persistence and creativity.

What tips help keep fried chicken profitable?

Controlling food costs, minimizing waste, tracking labor efficiency, and maintaining quality are key. Upselling sides and drinks boosts profits. Takeout and delivery models reduce dining room costs. Strong operations and customer service also help succeed.


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