The Most Profitable Retail & Restaurant Franchises

Multi-year Comparison of Retail Franchises from 2015 Entrepreneur Franchise 500

Jack-in-the-Box-Restaurants-Mission-Statement-history-firsts-founders-headquarters-reprinted-with-permission.jpg
Reprinted with permission from jackintheboxinc.com

The Top Ten best and most profitable retail and restaurant franchise list has changed little in the past decade. This is not to say that there haven’t been some substantial changes to the overall Franchise 500 list compiled and published by Entrepreneur Magazine each year.  But when looking at just the retail and restaurant franchises that have been considered to have the top financial stability and growth rate of all retail and restaurant opportunities available in the U.S., for the most part, the best of the best retail and restaurant franchises have been ranked in the Top Ten for a good reason, and have managed, for the most part, to maintain their top-ranked positions.

 

That’s why it was extra surprising to find a surprise on the 2015 list of Best Retail and Restaurant Franchise Opportunities. It’s been 24 years since Jack in the Box appeared anywhere on the annual Franchise 500 list, and then... pop goes the weasel!  Jack in the Box is suddenly the #2 retail franchise choice behind the longstanding best retail franchise, Subway.  It was an unexpected surprise befitting of the Jack in the Box name. 

It’s not clear why Jack in the Box has been absent from the Franchise 500 for so long. The first Jack in the Box franchised location opened in the 1970’s. Granted, until 2004 a whopping 80% of the Jack in the Box restaurant locations were company-owned, so perhaps Jak in the Box had too little to ofer to franchisees to make it onto the Franchise 500 list.  

Aggressive expansion in the past decade, however, has created a Jack in the Box system that is more than 80% franchise owned.

One would think that the Jack in the Box franchise opportunity might have deserved some acknowledgment sometime in that 10-year period.  Perhaps the element of surprise in its sudden #2 ranking position will make up for the previous oversight.  

It’s interesting to compare today's Jack in the Box franchise opportunity to one of its biggest competitors and legacy retail franchise company stalwart, McDonald's.

 Despite its status as one of the world’s most recognizable and most valuable retail brands, using the Entrepreneur analysis criteria, McDonald’s is becoming a less desirable choice for franchisees.  And the Franchise 500 criteria used to judge McDonald's doesn’t even account for the dining trend away from fast food in general and the McDonald’s menu in particular, which contains some of the highest fat foods with the highest salt content in the U.S. fast food niche.  

The startup costs between $1 million and $2 million make McDonald's one of the most expensive retail franchises in the world. But with increased competition, and shifting diner preferences, the McDonald's chain is reaching maturation and saturation, and is losing its competitive advantage over other franchise opportunities.

This is a multi-year comparison of the Top Ten best and most profitable retail and restaurant franchises between 2007 and 2015 according to the rating and ranking Franchise 500 list released each year by Entrepreneur Magazine. The ranking number in the left column is not the overall ranking number assigned by the Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list that compares franchises of all types, but rather it is the ranking the franchises received when only compared with other retail and restaurant franchises.



Looking at the multi-year comparisons of the Top Ten retail and restaurant franchises reveals the trajectory that each company's franchise system has been on, compared to the franchise systems of its direct competitors. An upward trend reveals positive franchise stability and growth, while a downward trend reveals a measurable loss of competitive advantage for franchisees.

Click the links to find out more about each company and some of the aspects of its operations and management that have created the recent success of its franchise system.

Multi-Year Comparison of Top Ten Best and Most Profitable Retail and Restaurant Franchises from 2007 - 2015

7-Eleven
2015 - #6

2014 - #3
2013 - #2
2012 - #2
2011 - #3
2010 - #3
2008 - #1
2007 - #3

Aaron's
2015 - #9

2014 - #10
2013 - #10
2012 - #10

Ace Hardware
2009 - #4
2008 - #8
2007 - #8

ampm
2012 - #7
2011 - #1
2010 - #5

Arby’s
2008 - #9

Baskin-Robbins
2009 - #8
2008 - #10

Circle K
2009 - #6

Cold Stone Creamery
2007 - #7

Dairy Queen (American)
2009 - #10

Denny's
2015 - #4

2014 - #4
2013 - #3
2012 - #4
2011 - #5
2010 - #8

Dunkin’ Donuts
2015 - #7

2014 - #6
2013 - #7
2012 - #6
2011 - #8
2010 - #4
2008 - #3
2007 - #2

GNC
2007 - #10

Hardee’s
2014 - #7
2013 - #9
2011 - #6
2010 - #7

Jack in the Box
2015 - #2

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwich Shop
2015 - #3

2014 - #5
2013 - #6

KFC
2015 - #10

2014 - #8
2013 - #9
2012 - #8
2011 - #9
2009 - #9
2008 - #7

Matco
2011 - #10
2010 - #9
2007 - #9

McDonald’s
2015 - #8

2014 - #9
2013 - #4
2012 - #3
2011 - #2
2010 - #2
2009 - #2
2008 - #5
2007 - #5

Papa John’s
2009 - #7
2007 - #6

Pizza Hut
2015 - #5

2014 - #5
2013 - #5
2012 - #5
2011 - #7
2010 - #6
2009 - #5
2008 - #4

Sonic Drive-in Restaurants
2010 - #10
2009 - #3
2008 - #6
2007 - #4

Subway
2015 - #1

2014 - #1
2013 - #1
2012 - #1
2011 - #4
2010 - #1
2009 - #1
2008 - #2
2007 - #1

Taco Bell
2012 - #9