Our franchise top 500 list: the final ranking of the most powerful franchise in 2018.


Franchising is a comparative marriage. It requires entrepreneurship, but it also requires strict adherence to the system. It must be unique enough to attract attention, but it is simple enough to copy units after units. Franchisees must serve local communities and become part of the national chain. Crucially, franchisees must innovate to attract new customers while maintaining the predictability and reliability to keep old customers happy.
Related: 5 affordable franchises, you can start below $10,000.
For this reason, our annual list of top 500 franchises tends to evolve. We has been committed to best understand and evaluate the franchise market, and we focus on the basic factors – unit growth, investment cost, stability of the brand, etc., and social media and other factors. This means that over the years new categories have been transferred and transferred. Franchising comes and goes. But for decades, some hard-core forces have maintained their dominance, mastering the balance between innovation and reliability.
In fact, this year we have a convenient comparison with the past: it is the first time in 25 years that more than 1, 000 companies have become part of our ranking. To be exact, we received 1,023 entries this time. In these 25 years, some things are still very much the same. We were in the same brand as the top 10 –Dunkin’Donuts, the UPS Store, and McDonald’s. The golden arches were actually number one this year, at number four. (the subway topped the list in 1993, at 105 today.)
But the more complete list is not so consistent. In 1993, the franchise category actually extinct: dress rental and sales, computer training center, the moving carpet shop, video learning center, clean, suction a top glamour photography and video rental. Before today’s list contains no categories: property management, physical therapy, service eye lashes and eye brows, massage and spa, salon suites, paint and SIP studio, trampoline park, laboratory services and electronic maintenance.

In fact, the 1,023 applicants we received this year tell an important story of today’s franchise. Takeaway: the industry is strong. The top 500 franchisees added a total of 24,899 franchises from mid-2016 to mid-2017, up 5.6% from a year earlier. More than 60% of growth is outside the us. However, 206 of the top 500 companies have zero operations nationwide – including one of our top 10 companies. Of course, some franchising companies will never want to leave America’s borders, but for others it will explain the huge potential for expansion.
We have also heard impressive new privileges. 225 of them – almost 22%! – the company that started franchising in the past five years. But the downside to entering such a booming industry is that competition is fierce. Only 21 of the new entrants were in the top 500. The highest is uBreakiFix, ranked 18th. The youngest is Lendio, which started franchising in 2016, ranking 201.
This year’s category also tells the story of where the franchise is going, and where it will go next. The food category remains the same; It remains the most popular franchise. Of the top 500, 116 provide food and 93 provide quick service. (half of the top 10 are quick service – three of them serve hamburgers!) The list of food franchises provides you with the full representation of what you expect, hamburgers, chicken, sandwiches, pizza, and smoothies/juice. Frozen custard is reviving, and fresh food like cod is about to break in.
Other booming categories tell a story about today’s consumers – how they are always moving and asking for help. Child care, for example, is also taking off, with five companies in the top 100. Children are in good health, with 14 companies ranked; Four of them are swimming schools. Health services, particularly physical therapy, are on the rise. The same is true for exercise, hair care and advanced care.


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