Muscle Maker Grill restaurant opened back in 1995 to give healthier alternatives to regular American fast food. In 2007, the fast-casual restaurant chain was turned into a franchise. Muscle Maker Grill is a 55-unit franchised restaurant business started by fitness devotee Rod Silva in Colonia, New Jersey, in 1995. The brand is noted for its healthy spin on popular foods and provides options for a variety of diets, including gluten-free, vegetarian, and carb-free diets.

Muscle Maker Grill offers its patrons healthier versions of popular foods that taste fantastic, making healthy eating simple, economical, and pleasurable. The comprehensive menu at Muscle Maker Grill was intended for everybody – fitness fanatics, those just beginning their journey to a healthy lifestyle, and those attempting to make healthier choices on the go. On the menu at Muscle Maker Grill, you’ll find grass-fed steak and all-natural chicken, as well as vegetarian, low-carb, and gluten-free alternatives.

Muscle Maker Grill has since transitioned into meal plan delivery. The company now helps make eating healthy easier at home.

How much will it cost to open a Muscle Make Grill? You’ll need to invest between $187,500 – $454,000 to open this restaurant chain / meal plan delivery service. You’ll also need a liquid capital of $100,000 and a net worth of $250,000. This is one of the more affordable restaurant chains to invest in. Complete our 8-minute franchise quiz to find out if this healthy food franchise is right for you.

muscle maker grill

Muscle Maker Grill.

Is Muscle Maker Grill still in Business?

Yes, the company is still in business. A subsidiary of American Restaurant Holdings Inc. purchased the Muscle Maker Grill franchise in 2015. There were 55 restaurants in the chain at the time. After the sale, Silva stayed as director of brand development for the restaurant business.

Financial Requirements and Fees

Researching for what fees a certain franchise entails a bit of legwork, but we’re here to lessen your burden. Here’s a current list of the franchise fees you need to know.



Liquid Capital


Minimum Net Worth


Total Investment

$187,500 – $454,000

Franchise fee


Ongoing payments include:

Local Restaurant Advertising Fee


National Brand Fund


Royalty Fee


Muscle Maker Grill franchisees are deeply rooted in the communities where they operate, which is why each Muscle Maker Grill location is required to have an Operating Partner. A franchisee has to have $100,000 in liquid assets and a net worth of $250,000 to launch a Muscle Maker Grill location. This is significantly lower startup costs compared to other restaurant franchises the cost closer to a million dollars to open.

Muscle Maker Grill restaurants are designed to keep your prices minimal. The total expenditure required by a franchisee will be determined by the store’s location, size, and depth of improvements. The $35,000 Franchise Fee, leasehold improvements, and equipment are all included in the initial development costs, and future payments include a 2% Local Restaurant Advertising fee, 1% National Brand Fund fund, and 5% Royalty Fee. In some markets where saturation point has been attained, the 2% Local Advertising cost could be changed with a 2% cooperative advertising fee.

This information is not intended to be used in conjunction with the acquisition of a franchise. Only a Franchise Disclosure Document can be used to offer a franchise. Unless the franchise offering is currently registered and the Franchise Disclosure Document is functional in the state, the franchise is not being offered to citizens of states that require registration.

How Much Profit Does Muscle Maker Grill Franchisees Make Per Year?

Company revenue/sales per year: For the fiscal year ending 2020, Muscle Maker Grill U.S. sales were at $4,500,000 with a -9.79% revenue growth compared to the previous year.

Number of units: Muscle Maker Grill has 48 units across the United States as of 2022.

Average Gross Revenue Per Store: $4,500,000 (System-wide sales) ÷ 48 units = $93,750.

Industry Average Profit Margin: Although there is no single solution, Restaurant Resource Group claims that restaurant profit margins range between 2% percent and 6% percent with full-service restaurants at the low end of the scale while limited-service (or fast service) restaurants at the high end. Based on the meal delivery options from Muscle Maker Grill, the profit margin is likely higher than this average.

But even if Muscle Maker Grill was able to reach a 25% profit margin, based on the meager systemwide sales, you’d profit under $25,000 per year, per unit. This is not a profitability level that gets many investors excited.

The MMG Meal Plan

The MMG Meal Plan.

The average profit margin of restaurants is influenced by a variety of factors, including average cost per customer (particularly if you’ve managed to upsell), the style of foodservice operation, and so on, just as a restaurant’s performance is not just affected by the food or drinks it offers.

Just about every textbook on statistics will cover how outliers, or data points at the extremes of a range, influence averages. A QSR’s total revenue and expenses differ dramatically from those of a Michelin-starred restaurant. When evaluating how much profit you could make in a restaurant, it’s useful looking into profit margin of a specific concept.

The most important insight here would be to set an annual target to maintain “average-or-better” restaurant margins.

Projected Annual Profit Per Store:

Muscle Maker Grill SWOT Analysis

In order to determine if Muscle Maker Grill is for you, you need to determine the restaurant’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the opportunities and threats the company is currently facing. I’ve created my own SWOT analysis Muscle Maker Grill to better understand the pros / cons of the business opportunity.


  • Nutritious menu. This is precisely why the restaurant exists. Rod, the founder of Muscle Maker Grill, established the quick-service restaurant to offer a healthy twist to some of America’s popular meals. Some of these are the burger, in which they use grass-fed beef as their patty, while also offering The Impossible Burger™ and flatbreads which use fat-free hickory BBQ sauce. This is especially beneficial to the restaurant joint due to today’s changing lifestyle which is inclining towards the healthier choice.
  • Pricing. The Lighter Side Menu at Muscle Maker Grill costs $5.99 and includes five meal options that are under 400 calories. Penne Romano, for example, is made with whole-wheat penne pasta and a reduced-fat vodka sauce with Parmesan cheese. The Hollywood Salad, which is composed of grilled chicken breast, turkey bacon, reduced-fat Cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, and zero-carb sauce over Romaine lettuce, would be another Lighter Side choice. Customers who would normally pay $7.99 for a wrap or sandwich and $9.99 for other main dishes can save money by ordering from the Lighter Side menu.


  • Workplace. Although most reports say that Muscle Maker Grill is a good place to work with especially for teenagers looking for their first job, there are some reports that some employees complain of being overworked and lack organizational structure. Some of these workers also complain of no healthcare and lack of major benefits which are typically found in a similar workplace. There are also some reports of some outlets being understaffed and employees having short breaks.
  • Slow growth. Compared to other established quick-service restaurants around the country, Muscle Maker Grill can be considered small in size having only 48 units in operation. They can be considered a small-scale QSR having been established 27 years ago and opening for a franchise about 15 years ago. Other shops like Caribou Coffee, already have 385 units locally and 603 outlets globally having been established around the same time (1992). This coffee franchise was also bought out by a larger firm.
  • Lacking Brand Recognition: One of the advantages of joining a franchise is brand name recognition. Unfortunately, most people have never heard of Muscle Make Grill before. As a result, most diners in your area won’t have an understanding of the menu. You’ll need to put more effort into market and getting the word out about this brands distinct offerings.


  • Subsidiary ramping up franchising. Pokemoto, a configurable, wellness poke restaurant acquired by Muscle Maker Grill 3 months ago, is expanding its franchise operations in the Northeast. The company, which has 14 stores in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Georgia, just secured a franchise agreement to open three more in the state. According to a statement, the poke restaurants will open in the college towns of Northampton, Amherst, and Hadley, which are home to a high concentration of Gen Z consumers—the group Pokemoto is anxious to reach. If its subsidiaries are expanding, probably, top management has plans to expand Muscle Maker Grill outlets as well.
  • Possible expansion. Their slow growth can eventually turn into an opportunity. Having just 48 existing operational outlets can mean the company is poised to expand to other territories as the demand for healthier alternative meals increases. There was even a report last year that Muscle Maker Grill recently signed a 40-unit deal to expand into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This could signal an impending outlet augmentation here in the mainland, just keep your eyes and ears open.


  • Competitors. There are many fishes in the sea, as they say, in fact, there are many established healthy food franchises in the U.S. which could be a threat to Muscle Maker Grill. Vitality Bowls for instance has been franchising only since 2014, yet they already have 68 outlets operating as of the moment. Vitality Bowls also have a broader menu selection, which includes Acai bowls, fresh juices, soups, and paninis among others. Other than Vitality Bowls, there are hundreds more food franchises that offer healthy alternatives to their customers.
  • Workforce issues. Muscle Maker Grill’s issues with their employees can be considered a threat to their franchise as a whole. Some employees are accusing the company of mismanaging the business by having a confusing organizational structure. This can lead to a quick turnaround of employees and could eventually harm the franchise’s day-to-day operations.

Is Muscle Maker Grill Worth the Cost to Invest?

Despite some issues regarding the company’s operations, Muscle Maker Grill has a relatively low cost in starting up a new franchise. With a $35,000 initial franchise fee, Muscle Maker Grill has one of the reasonably priced franchises out there. They provide startup assistance and training which includes an initial training program of 190 hours, 146 hours of on-the-job training, and 44 hours of classroom training.

Still, if you have a passion for serving healthy food and improving consumers diets this could be a business that offers a lot of meaning. If a restaurant was positioned near a gym or fitness facility, you could have some appealing cross promotional opportunities.

Muscle Maker Grill also offers territory rights and provides franchisees with extensive support like technology support. As of the moment though, Muscle Maker Grill does not offer financing support, though they provide other financing options.

In rare cases, Muscle Maker Grill will allow a single franchisee to secure exclusive rights to establish and run many locations in a given territory. They will do an analysis to verify the prospective franchisee’s ability to finance the expansion, hire qualified managers, and ensure their history is favorable to multi-unit operations in order to determine if they are qualified to run numerous units.

freshly prepared meals

Freshly prepared to-go meals.

In late 2019, Muscle Maker Grill appeared to be on its way out. Then, in early 2020, management made two major decisions. First, they ceased cutting corners and began rejuvenating the brand with new menu additions, store remodels, and the launch of a new Healthy Joe’s concept store. Second, they halted store closures in favor of low-cost unit expansion with ghost kitchens.

Related Reading: How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Starbucks Franchise?

Muscle Maker opened two ghost kitchens in New York City, one in Chicago, and its first in Miami in 2020. The company now has ten ghost kitchens spread throughout four major cities, with both numbers increasing each month. Muscle Maker has effectively turned the Covid-19 disruption in the restaurant business into a massive ghost-kitchen-fueled development opportunity.

Who is the owner of Muscle Maker Grill?

Rod Silva, a Newark, New Jersey-born entrepreneur and the son of Brazilian immigrants, founded the health-centered restaurant and provides nutritional food alternatives to the American public. He’s an entrepreneur, restaurant operations specialist, and executive leader who has more than 20 years of accelerating corporate growth steadily via restaurant PR, marketing, operations, franchise management, and vendor management.

Rod was a nominee for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, was named one of Fast Casual’s Top 10 Influencers in the Industry, and made multiple TV appearances on major networks including Fox Business, Fox News, and NBC.

Before he sold the business in 2015, he turned a lone outlet of Muscle Maker Grill into a $25 million franchise handling 93 markets all across the U.S. mainland.

Undercover Boss

In January 2016, Silva featured on an episode of the reality TV show Undercover Boss, wherein American Restaurant Holdings chief Tim Betts pretended to be a new hire of Muscle Maker Grill. During the episode, Silva did not go incognito personally; rather, he gave Betts instructions through an earpiece.

Related Reading: Is a Caribou Coffee Franchise Cost Still Worth the Investment? 

Rod discreetly provided commentary while he watched the drama unfold from the sidelines via a live video feed. Tim transformed himself into a surfer-looking dude and has gone through the various operations of an outlet, learning from his very own employees.

U.S. President Candidacy

Rod ran for President of the United States as the nominee of the Nutrition Party, which he founded. On October 20, 2015, Silva, a local from Piscataway, New Jersey, submitted his intention in running for the President of the United States. His program, according to his campaign website, “will be focused primarily on first tackling significant problems taking place here in the country, such as growing rates of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, hypertension, cholesterol, and other health-related complications – all of which are caused by poor eating choices.” Take our 8-minute franchise quiz to be matched with the right franchise business for your situation. 

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