GNC Franchising

2015 Franchise 500
At a Glance

Products & Services: Vitamins and nutrition products

Number of Locations: 6,607

Total Investment: $167.9K - $294.5K

Founded: 1935

Began Franchising: 1988

About GNC Franchising

In 1935, David Shakarian started a health-food store in Pittsburgh called Lackzoom. It specialized in yogurt (which his father had helped introduce to the U.S.), but also carried health-food products such as honey and grains. Beginning with $35 in receipts his first day, Shakarian expanded to six Pittsburgh-area stores in five years.

As more people became interested in natural foods and better nutrition, Shakarian opened stores in other states and changed the company's name to General Nutrition Centers (GNC). GNC also began producing its own vitamin and mineral supplements, foods, drinks and cosmetics. They started franchising in 1988. With company and franchised stores throughout the U.S. and worldwide, GNC now focuses on vitamins and nutritional supplements.

Franchise Units

Year U.S. Canadian International Company Owned
2014 1,050 0 2,138 3,419
2013 973 0 1,903 3,270
2012 933 0 1,651 3,114
2011 912 2 1,495 2,959
Where Seeking Franchisees: Franchisor is seeking new franchise units worldwide.
Direct Capital

Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing

Total Investment: $167,900 - $294,500
Franchise Fee: $40,000
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 6%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 10 years, renewable
Veteran Incentives: 50% off first-store franchise fee
Financial Requirements
Net Worth: $150,000 - $200,000
Liquid Cash Available: $85,000 - $100,000
39% of all franchisees own more than one unit. Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 3 - 4. Absentee ownership of franchise is NOT allowed. (100% of current franchisees are owner/operators).
Direct Capital
Financing Type In-House Third Party
Franchise Fee
Startup Costs
Accounts Receivable

How This Franchise Supports Franchisees

Training: Available at headquarters: 1 week. At franchisee's location: 1 week. At corporate store : 1 week.
Ongoing Support: Newsletter, Meetings, Toll-free phone line, Grand opening, Internet, Security/safety procedures, Field operations/evaluations, Purchasing cooperatives
Marketing Support: National media, Regional advertising,

Franchise Ranking History

Franchise 500®: #23 (2015), #28 (2014), #33 (2013), #33 (2012), #40 (2011),
Fastest-Growing: #72 (2014), #97 (2012),
America's Top Global: #14 (2014), #15 (2013), #30 (2012), #37 (2011),

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