2012 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
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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# 52
Arby's Restaurant Group Inc.

Arby's Restaurant Group Inc.

Sandwiches, fries, salads, shakes

Initial Investment: $353K - $2.4M

# 53
Meineke Car Care Centers

Meineke Car Care Centers

Auto repair and maintenance

Initial Investment: $200K - $466K

# 54
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

Hotels

Initial Investment: $7.2M - $94M

# 55
Motel 6

Motel 6

Economy hotels

Initial Investment: $2.2M - $3.1M

# 56
Home Instead Senior Care

Home Instead Senior Care

Nonmedical senior care

Initial Investment: $102K - $118K

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# 57
Massage Envy Spa

Massage Envy Spa

Therapeutic massage and facial services

Initial Investment: $414K - $961K

# 58
Long John Silver's Restaurants Inc.

Long John Silver's Restaurants Inc.

Fish & chicken

Initial Investment: $833K - $1.4M

# 59
Proforma

Proforma

Printing and promotional products

Initial Investment: $5K - $50K

# 60
Comfort Keepers

Comfort Keepers

Home care

Initial Investment: $83K - $114K

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# 61
Midas Int'l. Corp.

Midas Int'l. Corp.

Auto repair and maintenance

Initial Investment: $184K - $430K

# 62
Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo wings, sandwiches

Initial Investment: $1.4M - $3.6M

# 63
RadioShack Corp.

RadioShack Corp.

Electronics store

Initial Investment: $145K - $644K

# 64
Fantastic Sams Hair Salons

Fantastic Sams Hair Salons

Family hair salon

Initial Investment: $137K - $262K

# 65
Home Helpers/Direct Link

Home Helpers/Direct Link

Medical/nonmedical personal care

Initial Investment: $68K - $127K

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# 66
Merry Maids

Merry Maids

Residential cleaning

Initial Investment: $60K - $186K

# 67
Anago Cleaning Systems

Anago Cleaning Systems

Commercial cleaning

Initial Investment: $11K - $66K

# 68
Choice Hotels Int'l.

Choice Hotels Int'l.

Hotels

Initial Investment: $88K - $13.2M

# 69
Budget Blinds Inc.

Budget Blinds Inc.

Window coverings, window film, rugs, accessories

Initial Investment: $89K - $187K

# 70
Cinnabon

Cinnabon

Cinnamon rolls, baked goods, coffee

Initial Investment: $181K - $388K

# 71
Batteries Plus Bulbs

Batteries Plus Bulbs

Batteries, light bulbs, related products

Initial Investment: $215K - $389K

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# 72
Hilton Garden Inn

Hilton Garden Inn

Upscale midprice hotels

Initial Investment: $11.7M - $22.3M

# 73
Maid Brigade

Maid Brigade

Residential cleaning

Initial Investment: $85K - $124K

# 74
Minuteman Press Int'l. Inc.

Minuteman Press Int'l. Inc.

Printing, graphics and mailing center

Initial Investment: $64K - $185K

# 75
Sylvan Learning

Sylvan Learning

Supplemental and enrichment education

Initial Investment: $187K - $282K

# 76
Planet Fitness

Planet Fitness

Fitness clubs

Initial Investment: $728K - $3.8M

# 77
Novus Glass

Novus Glass

Auto glass repair and replacement

Initial Investment: $47K - $229K

# 78
Molly Maid

Molly Maid

Residential cleaning

Initial Investment: $86K - $131K

# 79
Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Pizza, subs, bread, wings, salads

Initial Investment: $240K - $472K

# 80
Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

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

Initial Investment: $1.1M - $2M

# 81
Jersey Mike's Subs

Jersey Mike's Subs

Subs

Initial Investment: $203K - $681K

# 82
Golden Corral Franchising Systems Inc.

Golden Corral Franchising Systems Inc.

Family steakhouse, buffet and bakery

Initial Investment: $2M - $5.5M

# 83
Culver Franchising System Inc.

Culver Franchising System Inc.

Frozen custard, specialty burgers

Initial Investment: $1.4M - $3.7M

# 84
Eye Level Learning Centers

Eye Level Learning Centers

Supplemental education

Initial Investment: $76K - $139K

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# 85
Visiting Angels

Visiting Angels

Nonmedical home care

Initial Investment: $64K - $105K

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# 86
Padgett Business Services

Padgett Business Services

Financial, payroll, consulting and tax services

Initial Investment: $100K - $100K

# 87
ActionCoach

ActionCoach

Business coaching

Initial Investment: $69K - $477K

# 88
Bojangles' Restaurants Inc.

Bojangles' Restaurants Inc.

Cajun chicken, biscuits, iced tea

Initial Investment: $357K - $559K

# 89
Moe's Southwest Grill

Moe's Southwest Grill

Southwestern food

Initial Investment: $369K - $916K

# 90
Qdoba Mexican Grill

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Mexican Food

Initial Investment: $623K - $815K

# 91
Sport Clips

Sport Clips

Men's sports-theme hair salon

Initial Investment: $168K - $327K

# 92
Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Chicken wings

Initial Investment: $192K - $688K

# 93
Charleys Philly Steaks

Charleys Philly Steaks

Philly cheesesteaks, fries, lemonade

Initial Investment: $153K - $450K

# 94
Goddard Systems Inc.

Goddard Systems Inc.

Preschool/educational child care

Initial Investment: $707K - $751K

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# 95
Wireless Zone

Wireless Zone

Wireless-communications store

Initial Investment: $127K - $393K

# 96
Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs

Subs

Initial Investment: $129K - $1.2M

# 97
Plato's Closet

Plato's Closet

Teen- and young-adult-clothing resale store

Initial Investment: $231K - $398K

# 98
American Leak Detection

American Leak Detection

Concealed water, gas and sewer leak-detection

Initial Investment: $77K - $260K

# 99
HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab

HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab

Chiropractic, rehab, nutrition and wellness services

Initial Investment: $58K - $249K

# 100
Ramada Worldwide

Ramada Worldwide

Hotels

Initial Investment: $196K - $13.1M

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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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