2009 Top Franchises from Entrepreneur's Franchise 500 List

Our 37th Annual Franchise 500 ranking reveals the impact of the newest trends and the industries poised for growth.

Understanding the Ranking Franchise Buying Guide More Franchise Articles

  • Rank
  • Company/Description/Initial Investment
# 1
Subway

Subway

Subs, salads

Initial Investment: $117K - $263K

# 2
McDonald's

McDonald's

Burgers, chicken, salads, beverages

Initial Investment: $989K - $2.2M

# 3
Liberty Tax Service

Liberty Tax Service

Tax preparation, electronic filing

Initial Investment: $59K - $72K

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# 4
Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

Burgers, hot dogs, chicken sandwiches, breakfast, ice cream, beverages

Initial Investment: $1.1M - $2M

# 5
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

Hotels

Initial Investment: $7.2M - $94M

# 6
Ace Hardware Corp.

Ace Hardware Corp.

Hardware and home-improvement store

Initial Investment: $239K - $1.6M

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# 7
Pizza Hut Inc.

Pizza Hut Inc.

Pizza, pasta, wings

Initial Investment: $297K - $2.1M

# 8
UPS Store, The

UPS Store, The

Postal, business, printing and communications services

Initial Investment: $168K - $354K

# 9
Circle K

Circle K

Convenience stores

Initial Investment: $211K - $1.6M

# 10
Papa John's Int'l. Inc.

Papa John's Int'l. Inc.

Pizza

Initial Investment: $130K - $844K

# 11
Jiffy Lube Int'l. Inc.

Jiffy Lube Int'l. Inc.

Oil changes, light repairs

Initial Investment: $219K - $400K

# 12
Instant Tax Service

Instant Tax Service

Retail tax preparation & electronic filing

Initial Investment: $39K - $89K

# 13
Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins

Ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen beverages

Initial Investment: $90K - $396K

# 14
KFC Corp.

KFC Corp.

Chicken

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $2.5M

# 15
Jani-King

Jani-King

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $13K - $93K

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# 16
Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen

Ice cream, burgers, chicken

Initial Investment: $356K - $1.8M

# 17
Super 8

Super 8

Hotels

Initial Investment: $134K - $4.3M

# 18
Arby's Restaurant Group Inc.

Arby's Restaurant Group Inc.

Sandwiches, fries, salads, shakes

Initial Investment: $353K - $2.4M

# 19
Jan-Pro Franchising Int'l. Inc.

Jan-Pro Franchising Int'l. Inc.

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $4K - $52K

# 20
Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Mexican food

Initial Investment: $1.2M - $2.6M

# 21
Hampton by Hilton

Hampton by Hilton

Midprice hotels

Initial Investment: $3.8M - $14.1M

# 22
Days Inn

Days Inn

Hotels

Initial Investment: $179K - $7.7M

# 23
GNC Franchising

GNC Franchising

Vitamins and nutrition products

Initial Investment: $191K - $322K

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# 24
Snap Fitness Inc.

Snap Fitness Inc.

24-hour fitness centers

Initial Investment: $110K - $286K

# 25
Denny's Inc.

Denny's Inc.

Family restaurant

Initial Investment: $1.2M - $2.1M

# 26
Hardee's

Hardee's

Burgers, chicken, biscuits

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $1.9M

# 27
Kumon Math & Reading Centers

Kumon Math & Reading Centers

Supplemental education

Initial Investment: $64K - $134K

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# 28
Servpro

Servpro

Insurance/disaster restoration and cleaning

Initial Investment: $142K - $191K

# 29
Supercuts

Supercuts

Hair salon

Initial Investment: $144K - $294K

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# 30
7-Eleven Inc.

7-Eleven Inc.

Convenience stores

Initial Investment: $38K - $1.1M

# 31
Midas Int'l. Corp.

Midas Int'l. Corp.

Auto repair and maintenance

Initial Investment: $184K - $430K

# 32
Long John Silver's Restaurants Inc.

Long John Silver's Restaurants Inc.

Fish & chicken

Initial Investment: $833K - $1.4M

# 33
ServiceMaster Clean

ServiceMaster Clean

Commercial/residential cleaning, disaster restoration

Initial Investment: $70K - $262K

# 34
Merle Norman Cosmetics

Merle Norman Cosmetics

Cosmetics studio

Initial Investment: $33K - $169K

# 35
ampm

ampm

Convenience stores and gas stations

Initial Investment: $1.8M - $7.9M

# 36
Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods

Initial Investment: $217K - $1.6M

# 37
Snap-on Tools

Snap-on Tools

Professional tools and equipment

Initial Investment: $160K - $316K

# 38
Stratus Building Solutions

Stratus Building Solutions

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $3K - $50K

# 39
Matco Tools

Matco Tools

Mechanics' tools and equipment

Initial Investment: $85K - $248K

# 40
Edible Arrangements Int'l. LLC

Edible Arrangements Int'l. LLC

Sculpted fresh-fruit bouquets

Initial Investment: $193K - $326K

# 41
Domino's Pizza LLC

Domino's Pizza LLC

Pizza, breadsticks, buffalo wings

Initial Investment: $120K - $462K

# 42
Jazzercise Inc.

Jazzercise Inc.

Group fitness classes, conventions, apparel and accessories

Initial Investment: $4K - $76K

# 43
Vanguard Cleaning Systems

Vanguard Cleaning Systems

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $11K - $36K

# 44
RE/MAX LLC

RE/MAX LLC

Real estate

Initial Investment: $38K - $280K

# 45
Bonus Building Care

Bonus Building Care

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $9K - $42K

# 46
Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery

Ice cream, sorbet

Initial Investment: $261K - $405K

# 47
Anytime Fitness

Anytime Fitness

Fitness centers

Initial Investment: $63K - $418K

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# 48
Maids, The

Maids, The

Residential cleaning

Initial Investment: $99K - $126K

# 49
Choice Hotels Int'l.

Choice Hotels Int'l.

Hotels

Initial Investment: $88K - $13.2M

# 50
Quiznos Sub

Quiznos Sub

Toasted sandwiches, soups, salads

Initial Investment: $183K - $231K

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Understanding the Ranking

There's a lot that goes into putting together the first, best and most comprehensive franchise ranking in the world. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at Entrepreneur's 37th annual Franchise 500®.

The process began in July 2015, when we asked franchisors to participate in our survey. Each submission was vetted before being entered for data analysis; 951 companies made the first cut. Of those, the top 500 became the Franchise 500® ranking, based on financial and statistical data from July 2013 through July 2015.

Only franchise companies that supply a full Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) or Canadian Disclosure Document and whose information is verified by Entrepreneur can receive a listing. To be eligible for the Franchise 500®, a franchisor must have a minimum of 10 units, with at least one franchise located in the U.S. The company must be seeking new franchisees in the U.S., and it cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the ranking is compiled. (The exception to these rules is Canada-based companies that are expanding only in Canada.)

All companies are judged by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of a franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. We also consider the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it's been franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing. Financial data is analyzed by an independent CPA.

We do not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style. The objective factors are plugged into our exclusive Franchise 500® formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score.

Remember that the Franchise 500® is not intended to endorse, advertise or recommend any particular franchise. It is solely a research tool you can use to compare franchise operations. Entrepreneur stresses that you should always conduct your own independent investigation before investing money in a franchise. Read the FDD and related materials carefully, get help from a franchise attorney and a CPA in reviewing any legal or financial documents, and talk to as many existing and former franchisees as possible and visit their outlets. The best way to protect yourself is to do your homework.

Research compiled by Tracy Stapp Herold and J.R. Jimenez with assistance from Hava Arieh, Rick Ignarra, Nicole Jurinek, Yvette Madrid, Jessica Nguyen and Giuseppe Ricapito; technical assistance from Angel Cool and Daniel Sibitzky; financial analysis by David R. Juedes, CPA; graphic design by Karen Meneghin.

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Previous Years Rankings

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