Barbecue franchises are relatively few in number, compared to other restaurant segments. Most brands are either QSR or fast casual. But because BBQ patrons tend to dine in more often compared to the average fast casual concept, a somewhat larger restaurant footprint is preferred. Because of the specialized kitchen equipment needed, converting an existing restaurant space may require a bit more work as well.
In some parts of the country, like Texas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas, barbecue is more than just a local cuisine. It's nearly a religion. No matter how good the product, a mass-market franchised barbecue restaurant is still mass-market. Trying to compete against local restauranteurs who may be using their great-grandfather's secret recipe for rub or sauce may not the best idea. There are also parts of the country where, for whatever reason, barbecue just isn't as popular; southern Louisiana, where the Cajun (in the west) and Creole (in the east) cuisines reign supreme is a good example. Good market research is necessary for any venture. When searching for the right BBQ franchise opportunities, it's absolutely critical.
Barbecue concepts are available in a wide range of total costs. These can range from a hundred thousand dollars to a few million depending on the format chosen. Cooking barbecue isn't like grilling a burger or baking a pizza, either. The good news is that barbecue franchisors tend to offer plenty of training and support. After all, they want you out there making their product right and doing them proud, not giving them a bad name. However, training and developing employees who can consistently turn out good product can be a bit more complicated than with your average quick service or fast casual restaurant.