KFC vs. Mary Brown’s Franchise Comparison

Opening a restaurant on your own for the first time can be an incredibly challenging and stressful experience. And unless you have an endless stream of capital to invest, it can pose a significant threat to your finances. 

Opening a franchise restaurant can help you avoid some of these pitfalls. The great news is that, by joining Canadian restaurant franchises like Mary Brown’s or KFC, you can gain access to a strong support system, an established brand, and receive all the training you need. 

But with so many different options, how do you decide which franchise to join? If you are looking to open a Canadian restaurant franchise that specializes in chicken, KFC and Mary both Brown’s are excellent choices. You want to choose the one that you can afford and which will maximize your chances of success in the fast food restaurant industry. 

In this article we will compare the KFC and Mary Brown’s franchises by looking at aspects such as product offerings, cost, available restaurant models, and training and support. 


Product Offerings:

While both franchises are known for their chicken, there are slight, but important differences between the two franchises’ signature products and the way they prepare their chicken. KFC, as the name suggests, specializes in fried chicken. They use 100% Canadian farm-raised chicken, with no steroids or added hormones. The chicken is breaded by hand seven times and cooked at a low temperature in canola oil in order to get that golden, crispy “Finger Lickin’ Good” signature chicken they are known for. KFC also offers a number of fried chicken-related products including the KFC chicken sandwich, popcorn chicken, chicken wings, and boneless strips.

Mary Brown’s chicken is prepared differently from KFC’s. Our signature chicken is made from Grade A Canadian raised chicken, delivered whole and fresh to each of our store locations, and marinated, cut, and breaded by hand. Our chicken is cooked fresh every day by our very own proprietary cookers. Rather than pressure frying our chicken, which is the industry standard, our cookers use heat to seal in the natural juiciness and flavour that gives our chicken its delicious, natural golden colour.

Additionally, Mary Brown’s has a number of other signature dishes besides fried chicken, including taters that are made from whole, fresh potatoes grown by Canadian farmers that are cut and seasoned by hand each day. The Mary Brown’s Chicken Sandwich is another special that is considered a Canadian favourite according to the Daily Hive. It is handmade in-store from the same Grade A quality chicken breast that our fried chicken is made from. Even our coleslaw is considered a signature dish, handmade in each store from fresh carrots and cabbage. Mary Brown’s is real, wholesome, comfort food, made fresh daily. 


Available Restaurant Models

Different franchises will offer different restaurant model options for their franchisees to choose from. For instance, KFC has three basic restaurant models: 

  1. Freestanding–ranging from 1,400-2,000 square feet, this model is the largest one that KFC offers. Drive-thru is preferred with this type of model. This model also offers delivery and order ahead pick-up options for customers.
  2. End cap/in line–this model ranges from 1,200-1,800 square feet and, as with the freestanding model, drive-thru is preferred. This model also gives its customers delivery or order ahead pick-up services.
  3. Non-traditional or express–this last model is the smallest of the three, ranging from 400-1,200 square feet. These models are often found within other businesses like shopping malls. Preferred locations for this type of model are prominent gas stations, as these businesses attract a number of customers.


Mary Brown’s, like KFC, offers a freestanding model (referred to as a stand-alone), an end cap/in-line model, and a nontraditional model. However, unlike KFC, Mary Brown’s offers a wider variety of franchise models to choose from, including:


  1. Stand-alone with drive-thru: This model is the largest restaurant model we offer, ranging from 2,200-3,200 square feet. This spacious model is the perfect size to host happy families, groups of friends, and workers from nearby businesses. It also has the added benefit of a drive-thru which gives you the opportunity to make additional sales.
  2. Stand-alone: ranging from 1,800-2,500 square feet, this is yet another spacious option. Typically located in busy strip malls, plazas, city centers, or other high-traffic areas where people are either looking for a quick bite to eat or a cozy and homey place to dine, this model is perfect for both dine-in or take-out options.
  3. End-cap: Located on the far end of strip malls or shopping centers, end caps are a highly desirable restaurant model because they provide greater visibility, accessibility, parking, outdoor space, and drive-thru. These models typically range from 1,700-2,200 square feet and generally have a modern design. 
  4. In-line: commonly found in the heart of a shopping mall or other high-density foot-traffic locations, these models are designed to ensure that your restaurant is readily seen, thereby attracting more customers. These models range from 1,700-2,200 square feet.
  5. Non-traditional: the smallest restaurant model of the five, this model ranges from 600-1000 square feet. Usually found in busy areas like airports, universities, and malls this design is ideal for crowded places where people want something quick to eat on the go.

Cost to Purchase a Franchise Branch:

Franchise fees are the cost a franchisee is required to pay the franchisor to secure the rights to use the franchise’s brand and system. These fees can be divided into two categories: upfront franchise fees and ongoing franchise fees. 

Upfront fees refer to the amounts an individual needs in order to become a franchisee. This includes the franchise fee to purchase a branch as well as the liquid capital that an individual must have in order to secure financial support from the franchise. Liquid capital refers to assets that can readily be converted into cash and is a way for franchisees to prove they have enough available capital to start a restaurant franchise.

Ongoing fees refer to the expenses a franchisee is responsible for paying on a monthly basis once they acquire ownership of the branch. These fees include royalties and marketing expenses. Royalty fees are paid in the form of a percentage of the overall sales to the franchise owner in exchange for using their branch and franchising system. Marketing fees are also paid in the form of a percentage of the gross sales for each franchise. 

Different franchises will, of course, have different franchise fees associated. Below we’ve included tables to indicate the upfront and ongoing franchise fees for KFC and Mary Brown’s. 

How much for a KFC franchise?

While the cost of KFC franchises can fall anywhere between $135,000-540,000, the actual amount of the initial investment for a KFC franchise is estimated to be much higher. According to VettedBiz, the estimated total upfront investment cost of a KFC franchise ranges from $1,440,600 to $3,163, 550–most of this being one-time fees required to launch the franchise.

kfc franchise info

How much for a Mary Brown’s Franchise?

Although the franchise fee to purchase a Mary Brown’s franchise branch requires a business investment of $30,000, the total initial investment costs are, as with KFC, higher. The total average start-up cost for a Mary Brown’s franchise opportunity is estimated to be around $840,000. 

Mary Browns franchise info


Training and Support:

One of the most obvious benefits to joining a franchise is brand recognition. Franchises are likely to be well-known to your future customers, meaning you will already have a loyal customer base before you even advertise or open your restaurant.

While brand recognition is often one of the most widely recognized benefits and greatest motivator for people who invest in a franchise, there are other benefits that are just as important, including training and support. Because the franchisor is just as committed to seeing your restaurant succeed as you yourself are, they will provide you with all the tools and resources you need to make that happen. One way they do this is by offering training programs, operations support, and start-up support.

What is the KFC franchise training program like?

While a KFC franchise requires a fairly large initial investment, the good news is a KFC franchise training program is already included in these start-up costs. The duration of the training program is between 4 and 8 weeks, depending on your experience level. The training program runs full-time, 5 days a week for 8 hours a day. Franchisees are trained by experienced restaurant general managers and have the option of franchisee shadowing. 

Ongoing training is also available to franchisees who want to learn more about new products, team/management training, and national promotions. KFC provides marketing and innovation support and supply chain management to negotiate inventory and supply prices. In addition, their team provides start-up support to assist with site selection, lease negotiations, construction and design, as well as pre-opening marketing.

What does Mary Brown’s franchise training program include?

Mary Brown’s offers franchisees pre- and post-opening training and support. We offer new franchisees a comprehensive 3-week in-class training program at our training center and 24/7 access to an online training portal for both franchisees and their staff. Our training includes a mix of seminars, one-on-one sessions, and lectures to teach you how to consistently provide perfect products and excellent service.

Franchising with Mary Brown’s is a business investment that provides you with operational support. Our operations support team teaches you how to optimize your results and offers ongoing support to improve the implementation and execution of our franchise’s standards. A mirror report system provides continual monitoring of operational procedures to evaluate processes, service standards, quality control, and hygiene and food safety to ensure brand integrity, consistency, and efficiency.

Mary Brown’s also provides franchisees with real-estate selection, design and construction management, and development support from start to finish. Our real-estate specialists select a location for your restaurant that meets your criteria (and ours) based on demographic research, traffic patterns, visibility, and more. 

Moreover, our purchasing team ensures that the highest quality products are available at competitive prices to consistently offer products that are loved across the country. Mary Brown’s provides franchisees with access to high impact multi-media marketing programs and location-specific marketing programs to help increase sales. We also ensure financial support is available to our franchisees. We connect you with expert banking and business advisors to assist you with financing, loan inquiries, and developing a business plan. 

Thinking of having your own restaurant someday? Consider franchising with Mary Brown’s. As one of the fastest growing franchises in Canada, with over 200 stores locations, we’re always looking for new partners to join the Mary Brown’s family. And with over 50 years of experience, you can be sure you’re getting all the support you need to make your dreams of owning a restaurant come true.