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
# 51
Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy's

Take-and-bake pizza

Initial Investment: $265K - $446K

# 52
Aaron's

Aaron's

Furniture, electronics, computer and appliance leasing and sales

Initial Investment: $276K - $783K

# 53
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

Gourmet sandwiches

Initial Investment: $323K - $544K

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# 54
Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Chem-Dry Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning

Carpet, drapery and upholstery cleaning; tile and stone care

Initial Investment: $30K - $143K

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# 55
Minuteman Press Int'l. Inc.

Minuteman Press Int'l. Inc.

Printing, graphics and mailing center

Initial Investment: $64K - $185K

# 56
Sport Clips

Sport Clips

Men's sports-theme hair salon

Initial Investment: $168K - $327K

# 57
WSI Digital Marketing

WSI Digital Marketing

Internet services

Initial Investment: $64K - $172K

# 58
Massage Envy Spa

Massage Envy Spa

Therapeutic massage and facial services

Initial Investment: $414K - $961K

# 59
Merry Maids

Merry Maids

Residential cleaning

Initial Investment: $60K - $186K

# 60
Great Clips

Great Clips

Hair salon

Initial Investment: $122K - $233K

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# 61
Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning

Supplemental and enrichment education

Initial Investment: $187K - $282K

# 62
Carl's Jr. Restaurants

Carl's Jr. Restaurants

Burgers

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $1.9M

# 63
Budget Blinds Inc.

Budget Blinds Inc.

Window coverings, window film, rugs, accessories

Initial Investment: $89K - $187K

# 64
Coffee News

Coffee News

Weekly newspaper distributed at restaurants

Initial Investment: $10K - $11K

# 65
Results! Travel

Results! Travel

Travel agency

Initial Investment: $25 - $10K

# 66
AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care

AAMCO Transmissions and Total Car Care

Transmission repair and car care

Initial Investment: $227K - $333K

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# 67
Smoothie King

Smoothie King

Smoothies, health products

Initial Investment: $181K - $423K

# 68
Allegra Marketing-Print-Mail

Allegra Marketing-Print-Mail

Printing, marketing and mail services

Initial Investment: $162K - $593K

# 69
MRINetwork

MRINetwork

Permanent placement and contract staffing

Initial Investment: $61K - $86K

# 70
Home Helpers/Direct Link

Home Helpers/Direct Link

Medical/nonmedical personal care

Initial Investment: $68K - $127K

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# 71
Keller Williams Realty

Keller Williams Realty

Real Estate

Initial Investment: $175K - $328K

# 72
System4

System4

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $6K - $38K

# 73
Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels

Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels

Soft pretzels

Initial Investment: $196K - $370K

# 74
Chester's

Chester's

Chicken

Initial Investment: $21K - $303K

# 75
La Quinta Franchising LLC

La Quinta Franchising LLC

Hotels

Initial Investment: $4.3M - $5.6M

# 76
Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's Italian Ice

Italian ice, frozen custard

Initial Investment: $141K - $414K

# 77
Express Tax

Express Tax

Tax preparation & electronic filing

Initial Investment: $16K - $48K

# 78
Anago Cleaning Systems

Anago Cleaning Systems

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $11K - $66K

# 79
Aussie Pet Mobile

Aussie Pet Mobile

Mobile pet grooming

Initial Investment: $137K - $146K

# 80
Motel 6

Motel 6

Economy hotels

Initial Investment: $2.2M - $3.1M

# 81
Orion Food Systems LLC

Orion Food Systems LLC

Fast-food systems for nontraditional markets

Initial Investment: $59K - $134K

# 82
Signarama

Signarama

Signs

Initial Investment: $97K - $248K

# 83
Novus Glass

Novus Glass

Auto glass repair and replacement

Initial Investment: $47K - $229K

# 84
Home Instead Senior Care

Home Instead Senior Care

Nonmedical senior care

Initial Investment: $102K - $118K

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# 85
Cruise Planners

Cruise Planners

Travel agency

Initial Investment: $2K - $23K

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# 86
Express Employment Professionals

Express Employment Professionals

Staffing, HR solutions

Initial Investment: $120K - $196K

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# 87
Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo wings, sandwiches

Initial Investment: $1.4M - $3.6M

# 88
CertaPro Painters Ltd.

CertaPro Painters Ltd.

Residential and commercial painting

Initial Investment: $130K - $163K

# 89
Checkers and Rally's Restaurants Inc.

Checkers and Rally's Restaurants Inc.

Burgers, fries

Initial Investment: $155K - $1.3M

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# 90
Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs

Subs

Initial Investment: $129K - $1.2M

# 91
CiCi's Pizza

CiCi's Pizza

All-you-can-eat pizza buffet

Initial Investment: $489K - $758K

# 92
Comfort Keepers

Comfort Keepers

Home care

Initial Investment: $83K - $114K

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# 93
Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Pizza, subs, bread, wings, salads

Initial Investment: $240K - $472K

# 94
Qdoba Mexican Grill

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Mexican Food

Initial Investment: $623K - $815K

# 95
United Country Real Estate

United Country Real Estate

Real-estate, auction and marketing services

Initial Investment: $16K - $27K

# 96
Rooter-Man

Rooter-Man

Plumbing, drain and sewer cleaning

Initial Investment: $47K - $138K

# 97
Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Chicken wings

Initial Investment: $192K - $688K

# 98
Ramada Worldwide

Ramada Worldwide

Hotels

Initial Investment: $196K - $13.1M

# 99
Pretzelmaker

Pretzelmaker

Pretzels

Initial Investment: $155K - $238K

# 100
Fitness Together

Fitness Together

Personal fitness training

Initial Investment: $141K - $254K

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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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Top New Franchises

The top 75 companies that began franchising in the last five years

Top Global Franchises

200 North American franchisors seeking international franchisees

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Previous Years Rankings

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