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Franchise 500

The 3 Most Consistent Businesses From the Franchise 500 List

These three franchises ranked in the top 10 of our Franchise 500 list 25 years ago. They're still on top in 2018.
Entrepreneur Staff
Associate Editor, Contributed Content
4 min read

Each year, Entrepreneur releases its list of top 500 franchises. That list is created by measuring dozens of metrics, including price, branding, reach and longevity.

Here were the top 10 entries this year:

  1. McDonald’s
  2. 7-Eleven
  3. Dunkin’ Donuts
  4. The UPS Store
  5. ReMax
  6. Sonic
  7. Great Clips
  8. Taco Bell
  9. Hardee’s
  10. Sport Clips

All of these franchises have shown great success over time, but even among them, three stand out for their longevity: McDonald’s (No. 1), Dunkin’ Donuts (No. 3) and The UPS Store (No. 4). All three also appeared in the top 10 of the Franchise 500 list in 1993, when the list was a relatively new thing (it started in 1980) and Entrepreneur.com didn’t even exist yet. While a lot of things have changed about those franchises in the interim, the consistent high performance speaks to their being top franchise investments for the past 25 years.

If you’re looking to invest in a franchise because you think it’s a safer alternative to starting your own business, these three successful franchises are a great place to start your research.

1. McDonald’s

According to the company website, the Golden Arches was still two years away from offering McFlurrys in 1993, when McDonald's made the top 10 of the franchise 500 list. Or, if you want another landmark that shows just how much has changed since 1993, McDonald’s created advertising to complement the release of the blockbuster film Jurassic Park.

Now, the fifth movie in the series, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, is slated for release this June. So, maybe not that much has changed after all.

McDonald’s franchise facts

  • CEO: Steve Easterbrook
  • Business headquarters: Oak Brook, Ill.
  • Franchising since: 1955
  • Initial investment: $1,008,000 to $2,214,080
  • Initial franchise fee: $45,000
  • New units in 2017: 507 units (1.4 percent)
  • Training: 6 to 24 months on the job, 75 hours in the classroom
  • Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, loyalty program/app

You can learn more about the current state of McDonald’s franchises by visiting the McDonald's franchising website.

Related: Quiz: How Much Do You Really Know About McDonald's?

2. Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin' Donuts opened its 2,000th location in 1992, according to the company website. At the start of 2018, there were more than 12,000 restaurants across the globe, including 9,141 franchises in the United States. How has the company grown so much since it ranked in our top 10 in 1993?

It’s improved its menu and branding, introducing coffee flavors like French Vanilla and Hazelnut, breakfast sandwiches and the “America runs on Dunkin’” slogan.

Dunkin’ Donuts franchise facts

  • CEO: Nigel Travis
  • Business headquarters: Canton, Mass.
  • Franchising since: 1955
  • Initial investment: $228,620 to $1,691,200
  • Initial franchise fee: $40,000 to $90,000
  • New units in 2017: 346 units (2.9 percent)
  • Training: 219 to 324 hours on the job, 68 to 73 hours in the classroom
  • Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing, loyalty program/app

You can learn more about the current state of Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchises by visiting the Dunkin' Donuts franchis website.

Related: Krispy Kreme Vs. Dunkin' Donuts: Which Is the Better Franchise Investment for You?

3. The UPS Store

Want to talk about change? In 1993, The UPS Store was called Mail Boxes Etc. According to the UPS website, Mail Boxes Etc. was then acquired by the shipping company in 2001, and within two years, approximately 3,000 locations were rebranded as The UPS Store. By the start of 2017, there were nearly 5,000 franchises around the world.

The UPS Store franchise facts

  • CEO: Tim Davis
  • Business headquarters: San Diego, Calif.
  • Franchising since: 1980
  • Initial investment: $177,955 to $402,595
  • Initial franchise fee: $29,950
  • New units in 2017: 69 units (1.4 percent)
  • Training: 80 hours on the job, 72 hours in the classroom
  • Marketing support: Co-op advertising, ad templates, national media, regional advertising, social media, SEO, website development, email marketing, loyalty program/app

You can learn more about the current state of The UPS Store’s franchises by visiting the UPS franchising website.

Related: Our Top 5 Franchises You Can Run From Your Own Home

The Top 5 New Franchises of 2018