Food/Quick Service Franchises

  • Rank
  • Company/Description/Initial Investment
# 1
Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

Initial Investment: $323K - $544K

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# 5
Subway

Subway

Initial Investment: $117K - $263K

# 6
McDonald's

McDonald's

Initial Investment: $989K - $2.2M

# 8
Dunkin' Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts

Initial Investment: $217K - $1.6M

# 11
Pizza Hut Inc.

Pizza Hut Inc.

Initial Investment: $297K - $2.1M

# 12
Hardee's

Hardee's

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $1.9M

# 13
Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $2.4M

# 18
Taco Bell

Taco Bell

Initial Investment: $1.2M - $2.6M

# 19
Papa Murphy's

Papa Murphy's

Initial Investment: $265K - $446K

# 27
Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

Sonic Drive-In Restaurants

Initial Investment: $1.1M - $2M

# 29
Baskin-Robbins

Baskin-Robbins

Initial Investment: $90K - $396K

# 30
Papa John's Int'l. Inc.

Papa John's Int'l. Inc.

Initial Investment: $130K - $844K

# 31
Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels

Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels

Initial Investment: $196K - $370K

# 34
Dairy Queen

Dairy Queen

Initial Investment: $356K - $1.8M

# 41
KFC Corp.

KFC Corp.

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $2.5M

# 54
Carl's Jr. Restaurants

Carl's Jr. Restaurants

Initial Investment: $1.3M - $1.9M

# 55
Cinnabon

Cinnabon

Initial Investment: $181K - $388K

# 57
Cold Stone Creamery

Cold Stone Creamery

Initial Investment: $261K - $405K

# 59
Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings

Initial Investment: $1.4M - $3.6M

# 62
Firehouse Subs

Firehouse Subs

Initial Investment: $129K - $1.2M

# 63
Church's Chicken

Church's Chicken

Initial Investment: $413K - $1.3M

# 64
Chester's

Chester's

Initial Investment: $21K - $303K

# 66
Jersey Mike's Subs

Jersey Mike's Subs

Initial Investment: $203K - $681K

# 71
Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Wingstop Restaurants Inc.

Initial Investment: $192K - $688K

# 77
Kona Ice

Kona Ice

Initial Investment: $114K - $129K

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# 81
Marco's Franchising LLC

Marco's Franchising LLC

Initial Investment: $222K - $547K

# 82
Zaxby's Franchising Inc.

Zaxby's Franchising Inc.

Initial Investment: $284K - $664K

# 83
Moe's Southwest Grill

Moe's Southwest Grill

Initial Investment: $369K - $916K

# 88
Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Hungry Howie's Pizza & Subs

Initial Investment: $240K - $472K

# 89
Culver Franchising System Inc.

Culver Franchising System Inc.

Initial Investment: $1.4M - $3.7M

# 92
Smoothie King

Smoothie King

Initial Investment: $181K - $423K

# 93
Orion Food Systems LLC

Orion Food Systems LLC

Initial Investment: $59K - $134K

# 94
Rita's Italian Ice

Rita's Italian Ice

Initial Investment: $141K - $414K

# 99
Bojangles' Restaurants Inc.

Bojangles' Restaurants Inc.

Initial Investment: $357K - $559K

# 101
Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Initial Investment: $122K - $498K

# 110
Charleys Philly Steaks

Charleys Philly Steaks

Initial Investment: $153K - $450K

# 111
Qdoba Mexican Grill

Qdoba Mexican Grill

Initial Investment: $623K - $815K

# 113
Pita Pit Inc.

Pita Pit Inc.

Initial Investment: $166K - $323K

# 119
Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp.

Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corp.

Initial Investment: $275K - $1.9M

# 122
Carvel

Carvel

Initial Investment: $250K - $383K

# 125
Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Initial Investment: $223K - $428K

# 126
Jet's Pizza

Jet's Pizza

Initial Investment: $351K - $615K

# 128
Great American Cookies

Great American Cookies

Initial Investment: $183K - $317K

# 139
Penn Station East Coast Subs

Penn Station East Coast Subs

Initial Investment: $269K - $535K

# 142
Wienerschnitzel

Wienerschnitzel

Initial Investment: $304K - $1.3M

# 145
HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Cafe, The

HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Cafe, The

Initial Investment: $285K - $444K

# 146
McAlister's Deli

McAlister's Deli

Initial Investment: $579K - $1.5M

# 151
Schlotzsky's

Schlotzsky's

Initial Investment: $504K - $787K

# 163
Wetzel's Pretzels

Wetzel's Pretzels

Initial Investment: $157K - $371K

# 173
Yogurtland Franchising Inc.

Yogurtland Franchising Inc.

Initial Investment: $307K - $700K

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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

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012