IRVINE, Calif., Dec. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrepreneur magazine's 35th annual Franchise 500® inducts a fast-rising newcomer to the top of the ranking this year: Anytime Fitness. At 12 years of franchising, Anytime Fitness is one of the youngest franchises ever to reach the number-one spot in the Franchise 500® and the only one in the ranking's history to hit number-one status from the fitness category.
Alongside Anytime Fitness, this year's top five makes up an eclectic mix of leaders, with Hampton Hotels, Subway, Supercuts and Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches taking positions two through five, respectively.
Although franchise unit growth overall slowed slightly in 2013, specific categories within the Franchise 500® showed signs of sustained growth. Leading the way are those focused on children, food, fitness, seniors, with personal electronics emerging as a notable up-and-coming industry. Signs of economic promise this year include a continuance of added jobs and international expansion. The companies in the Franchise 500® added 8,725 units between 2012 and 2013, for a 51 percent increase over the previous year's growth.
"Innovation was the name of the game this past year for the companies who made the Franchise 500® list," says Amy Cosper, VP and editor in chief of Entrepreneur. "This year, menus have been overhauled, company cultures have evolved and overseas opportunities have been seized with a focus on producing a quality product across the board. Anytime Fitness is a great example of how far franchising has come; the franchise has one of the most enthusiastic client and employee bases in its industry thanks to its emphasis on people and culture."
The rankings for all 500 companies are determined using an exclusive formula that takes into account objective and quantifiable factors. An independent CPA analyzes all financial data. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. All franchises are given a cumulative score, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order.
In addition to the ranking, Entrepreneur's annual Franchise 500® issue takes a closer look at the top 10 companies and three franchisees who have overcome the odds. There are also details on understanding the ranking, how franchises can go global, information on franchise IPOs, and many more special features related to today's franchise world.
To view the full ranking and any of these related stories, pick up a copy of the January 2014 issue of Entrepreneur on newsstands December 24th, or visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500.
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SOURCE Entrepreneur magazine