Our 5 Best Franchises in the World

Brands you can depend on across the globe.

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By Matthew McCreary

7-Eleven | Facebook

If you're on this site, it means you may be ready to start working for yourself. And while some are interested in building something from scratch, others are choosing to tap into the power, experience and reach of an established brand by investing in a franchise.

That's why we've been breaking down various entries from our Franchise 500 list to help people find the right fit for their investments. However, our Franchise 500 list mostly focuses on which companies would be best for American entrepreneurs. If you want to see which companies have the best brand recognition internationally, though, you should check out the "Top Global" tab on our franchise's page.

To give you a sneak peek, here are the top five global brands. 

Related: Just How Much Does It Cost to Own a Fast-Food Franchise?


Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 1

Initial investment: $37,200 to $1,635,200

Initial franchise fee: $10,000 to $1,000,000

New units in 2016: 3,133 units (5.6 percent)

There were more than 8,000 U.S.-based 7-Eleven franchises as of 2016, and for almost any other company in the world, that's a ton. But, that number is nothing compared to 7-Eleven's 50,000+ international franchises. That number is growing wildly, too. In 2007, there were only 26,680 franchises outside the U.S.

Related: Our Top 10 Franchises You Can Buy


Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 2

Initial investment: $1,008,000 to $2,214,080

Initial franchise fee: $45,000

New units in 2016: -21 units (-0.1 percent)

McDonald's is a little more balanced than 7-Eleven, but there are still more franchises outside the U.S. (18,827) than inside it (13,109). In 2007, though, there were actually more American franchises than international ones.

How has that changed? Well, since then, McDonald's has added 4,402 franchises outside of the States and just 1,435 American franchises. 

Related: 5 Affordable Franchises You Can Start for Less Than $10,000

Dairy Queen

Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 6

Initial investment: $1,083,525 to $1,850,425

Initial franchise fee: $35,000

New units in 2016: 180 units (+2.8 percent)

The number of total Dairy Queen stores has ticked up in the past decade, despite the fact that the number of U.S.-based and company-owned locations have actually gone down during that time. The company's growth has been dependent upon new international locations, with the number of international Dairy Queens more than doubling since 2007.

Related: 5 Low-Cost Franchises You Can Start for as Little as $4,000


Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 35

Initial investment: $147,050 to $320,700

Initial franchise fee: $15,000

New units in 2016: 914 units (+2.1 percent)

The growth in the number of international Subway franchises has slowed by a tick in the past few years, but the company has still added 2,127 franchises from 2014 to the start of 20117. That's not nothing.

Related: The 5 Best Pizza Franchises You Can Start Today

Dunkin' Donuts

Entrepreneur Franchise 500 Rank: 3

Initial investment: $228,621 to $1,692,314

Initial franchise fee: $40,000 to $90,000

New units in 2016: 373 units (3.2 percent)

Unlike some of the other companies on this list, the number of international Dunkin' Donuts franchises hasn't grown substantially more than its domestic ones. From 2007 to the start of 2017, Dunkin' Donuts has grown its domestic franchises by 63 percent (3,433 franchises) and internationally by about 77 percent (1,478 locations). 

Related: The Top 5 New Franchises to Keep Your Eye On

Matthew McCreary

Entrepreneur Staff

Associate Editor, Contributed Content

Matthew McCreary is the associate editor for contributed content at Entrepreneur.com.

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