Even as the franchise model has expanded into just about every industry imaginable, food remains the largest and one of the fastest-growing industries in the franchise world. Thirty percent of the 1,105 companies that applied for Entrepreneur’s 2020 Franchise 500 ranking were food-related franchises, and new concepts continue to come on the scene every year.
Food is also one of the most durable franchise industries. While running a restaurant can certainly be challenging, there’s a reason brands like A&W, which just turned 100 last year, are still around today—they know how to earn loyalty, and they know how to adapt to keep that loyalty strong even in extreme situations. As dining rooms were shut down in response to the coronavirus pandemic, food franchisors rose to the occasion, quickly finding ways to keep serving customers and communities and help their franchisees survive—and, in some cases, even thrive.
On the following pages, we celebrate the strength and resilience of these companies with our list of the top 200 food franchises, ranked within their respective categories. This ranking is based on the scores each company received from our Franchise 500 formula, which evaluates more than 150 data points—collected last summer (2019)—in the areas of costs and fees, size and growth, franchisee support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability.
Remember as you read that this list is not intended as a recommendation of any particular company. It’s more important than ever to do your own careful research before investing in a franchise opportunity. Read the company’s legal documents, consult with an attorney and an accountant, and talk to as many existing and former franchisees as you can about their experiences.