3. Papa John's
Start-up minimum: $15,000
With more than 3,400 restaurants, Papa John's (PZZA - Get Report) doesn't seem like the typical company that might have franchises available for low costs. According to the IFA, though, start-up can be as low as $15,000.
Besides traditional stores, the company offers what it calls "nontraditional locations" such as sites at universities, airports, military bases, stadiums, theme parks, amphitheaters and convenience stores.
The franchise fee for a nontraditional location is $5,000 per unit, far less than the $25,000 for a stand-alone store. While monthly royalty fees of 5% stay the same, monthly marketing contributions are only about one-quarter of the normal payments for nontraditional locations. Still the total estimated initial investment required for a nontraditional restaurant ranges from about $56,850 to $260,000, according to Papa John's Web site.This year though, Papa John's is also promoting its 2012 U.S. Development Incentive Program, according to the Web site. Approved franchisees can take advantage of a waived franchise fee, up to $50,000 in free equipment and zero royalty payments until June 2013, the company says.