Founded in the Great Depression, this brand has stood the test of time.
Franchise Units: 100+
AUV: $1,200,000
Minimum Net Worth: $1,500,000
Franchise Fee: $32,500

When Krystal opened its first restaurant in the midst of the Great Depression, the concept was fairly simple: founders Rody Davenport, Jr. and Glenn Sherill believed that a good meal at a great price, served with a smile in a clean restaurant, would attract customers and keep them coming back. Nearly 90 years later, that formula has stood the test of time, and it should be no surprise that the legacy brand is in growth mode coming off a difficult year that had consumers searching for comfort.

And though the proven formula of serving good food at a great price remains unchanged, it’s also been enhanced by the considerable investment Krystal has made in a modern quick-service model. Those investments include enhanced drive-thru functionality and seamless delivery options that help cater to customers increasingly seeking off-premises fare.

“Our customers’ parents and grandparents have Krystal stories to share, and the brand is uniquely relevant to a whole new generation of folks who crave sackfuls of sharable, snackable food at affordable prices,” says Angela Johnson, vice president of marketing at Krystal. “We’re woven into the very fiber of life here in the South, and yet the future of our brand will feature these modern technologies that help franchisees best serve our guests.”

Central to the brand’s identity is the Krystal, a “craveable” burger known for its unique square shape. Other hot-off-the-grill fan favorite items on the menu include the Krystal Chik—a fried chicken slider—and chili cheese fries. The craveability of these items is what has made the brand durable, says Johnson, and it’s also making franchise stores profitable.

“We have a serious brand loyalty due to our 89-year history filled with tradition,” says Melissa Hodge, director of franchise development. “Our loyal customers are always coming back because they love our unique Southern culture, and they of course most of all, our iconic, craveable, hot-off-the-grill Krystal.”

With a widespread presence throughout most of the U.S., Krystal is looking to break into and develop new markets in South Carolina, Virginia, Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. Every franchisee receives full support from the franchisor, from the development and construction phase to the dedicated field support that includes a management training program and ongoing marketing support.

One franchisee, Wayne Hale, has been with the company for over thirty years and lauds what he calls the “open dialogue” that goes back and forth between franchisees and the franchisor.

“They’ve been receptive to any suggestions and changes,” Hale says. “And I appreciate the conversations we have.”

Another franchisee says he was sold on the unique brand that has been around for nearly a century. “When you have that kind of history and success, why would you not want to be part of it?” says operator John Jones.

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