IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrepreneur magazine has unveiled its 41st annual Franchise 500®, and ranked Dunkin' as #1 for the first time. Taco Bell is #2, McDonald's is #3, Sonic Drive-In is #4, and The UPS Store is #5.
This is Dunkin's first-ever appearance at the top of the list, but it is no stranger to the Franchise 500®. The company debuted at number 17 on the first-ever Franchise 500® list in 1980, and has been ranked every year since. It has broken the top 10 of the list 17 times, including five years consecutively now. And it has ranked #2 three times in three different decades. The top ranking reflects the company's commitment to innovation, while also never losing focus on its customers' daily rituals. Dunkin' has evolved into the largest coffee-and-baked-goods chain in the world, as well as one of the fastest-growing franchises in the U.S.
Because the Franchise 500® is an exhaustive survey of franchise companies and their individual performances, it also provides insight into the industry more broadly. This year's results show good news for franchising: Growth is picking up. The companies that ranked in the Franchise 500 this year had a total of 555,142 units (franchise and company-owned) open and operating as of July 31, 2019, which is an increase of 18,343 or 3.4 percent, over the previous year. That compares with an increase of 14,503, or 2.8 percent, from 2017 to 2018.
Growth is particularly strong internationally. Our ranked franchises added a total of 10,929 new units outside America this year, bringing the total number of open international units to 222,522. Of the 555,142 units operating by the companies on our list, a little over 92 percent (511,325 units) were actual franchised locations. The rest were company-owned units.
"The 500 companies on this list all have something in common: They understand what consumers want now," says Entrepreneur editor in chief Jason Feifer. "They may be an upstart in a brand-new category, or they may be a brand like Dunkin' that's ranked highly on our list for decades. But either way, making our list means they're forward-thinking, nimble, and closely in touch with their customers' needs—because in an ever-changing business environment, that's what a franchise must do to thrive."
In Entrepreneur's continuing effort to best understand and evaluate the ever-changing franchise marketplace, the company's 41-year-old ranking formula continues to evolve as well. The key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, 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 contains a range of features about the forces shaping franchising today. They include reporting on the rise of "ghost kitchens," how franchises are recruiting young franchisees, the growth of cryotherapy and other health fads, an interview with Bar Rescue host (and new franchisor) Jon Taffer, and more. There's also an in-depth look at how Dunkin' rose to #1, as well as interviews with all the other companies on the list's top 10.
To view the full ranking and any of these related stories, pick up a copy of the January/February 2020 issue of Entrepreneur magazine on newsstands on January 14, or visit www.entrepreneur.com/franchise500.
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