In this country we have a national compulsion to rank things. If one enters “top ten” into a Google search, the first five entries that come up are top ten (i) urinals; (ii)shirts to get arrested in; (iii) time wasting websites; (iv) chemistry videos; and (v) books. The list is endless after that. So why not rank franchise systems? Entrepreneur has done just that, featured today on AOL Small Business.
As it turns out, ranking franchises makes a lot more sense and is infinitely more informative than ranking urinals or chemistry videos. Entrepreneur has been featuring its Franchise 500, a registered trademark, for thirty years. An examination of the current list and the historical trends tells you a great deal about the successes and failures of the franchise concept as a whole, as well as how it works within particular industries. The rankings are established based upon financial strength, stability, growth rate and size.
This year’s top twenty is dominated by fast food and fast casual dining (Taco Bell, Arby’s, Dairy Queen, KFC, Baskin Robbins, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Sonic, McDonalds and Subway), cleaning (Jani-Pro and Jani King), tax services (Liberty Tax and Instant Tax), hospitality (Intercontinental Hotels and Super 8) and assorted other industries (Ace Hardware, Super K convenience stores, Jiffy Lube and UPS/MailBoxes Etc.)
Running down the list, there are franchise systems for every business you can think of, and a few that probably would not have occurred to you: several tanning companies, wheelchair ramps (American Ramp Systems at 412), spray-on truck bed liners (Line-X Corp at 419) and pet waste removal (DoodyCalls at 452).
We are pleased to note the appearance of two systems with whom we have worked recently:
(i) Sir Grout Franchising LLC at 499. Sir Grout’s appearance is noteworthy because this is their first year of operation, an unusual characteristic for a top 500 entry. Sir Grout sells franchises in the business of grout sealing and restoration; and (ii) Four Seasons Marketing Corp., appearing at # 365, a company selling franchises in the business of selling sunrooms, windows, conservatories, solariums, patio rooms, deck enclosures, patio covers and pergolas, retractable awnings and greenhouses.
Entrepreneur is not the only publication to rank franchises. A quick search findsFranchiseBusinessReview, a website, which offers top 50 rankings in three categories (large systems, midsized systems and under 50 units).
Any prospective franchisee or established franchisor can learn something from these lists. Taking into account the fact that they are necessarily subjective by nature and skewed in favor of whatever measurement standards are being applied, they nevertheless can be useful when viewed year over year in terms of examining what types of franchises are finding traction in the nation as a whole.