Top 10 Franchise Opportunities for 2012

Every year-end, a publication or media organization, a group or individual comes up with a “best or worst” list for the year that is about to end.  In the business world, two such annual ratings or rankings include The Top 10 Franchises by Franchise 500 and the 100 AllBusiness AllStar Franchises for 2012 by 

The Franchise 500 list winners earned their spots from the votes of the consumers or customers and franchisees.  On the other hand, culled its list from over 800 franchises reviewed by its editors.  Their criteria include franchise unit growth rate, financial strength, system size, years in business, years in franchising, and Web (brand) visibility.  The latter relies more on the stability of the franchises so its winners are mostly big and established companies.

Below are the Top 10 Franchises for 2012.  They are common to both listings and are listed in no particular order.

1.  Subway.  Subway is now the world’s largest restaurant chain.  It leads the AllBusiness AllStar list for the fourth year in a row.  It is #1 in brand awareness and has very strong growth potential.  In 2011, the franchise grew by 1,100 domestically, particularly in non-traditional locations such as assembly plants, and globally.  Its breakfast offering is slowly gaining way.  Its morning customers get their lunch sandwich along with their breakfast.

2.  Hampton Hotels.  Several times a year, this Hilton-owned hotel franchise selects guests to stay overnight and meet with the hotel’s executives the following morning to get a critique.  Hampton Hotels addresses customer concerns to improve its brand to better serve its customers.  It has opened new locations in Germany, the U.K. and Turkey in 2011 and plans to grow in Europe, South America and Asia.

3.  7-Eleven.  This is the largest retail outlet in the world with more than 43,000 stores.  It has recently introduced store-branded products and improved existing stores.  

4.  Servpro.  With its Disaster Recovery Team, Servpro is strategically positioned to move with great speed and numbers during emergencies.  It has over 1,600 franchises in the U.S.  It expects to add 100 units in Canada in the next 5 years.  Servpro is a recession-proof company responding to disasters caused by climate change.

5.  Denny’s.  This family restaurant chain targets college campuses and other countries as venues for its expansion.  Franchisees are offered savings of up to $1 million if they open four restaurants in new markets.

6.  Great Clips.  Great Clips employs over 30,000 professional hair stylists who undergo training for advanced hair styling and latest trends.  It is the first hair-styling and hair-care salon to be ranked among the Top 10 franchises.  It has reached 3,000 stores and has launched a new online check-in service to decrease salon wait times.

7.  McDonald’s.  McDonald’s is #2 in brand awareness, # 7 in longevity and #4 in Web visibility.  This fast food giant stays on top because its products stay current.  It increased revenue and market share through the introduction of its McCafe coffee line and meals for the growing health-conscious consumers.

8.  Kumon North America.  Child tutoring thrives during these times and Kumon North America lands in the top 10 for the first time.  It saw an increase of 12% in student enrollment from 2010 to 2011.  It is offering $27,500 in business incentives for new franchisees.

9.  Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwich Shops.  This sandwich chain prides itself with its unique corporate culture.  It is among the top 5 for the third year in a row, #4 in service according to Zagat.

10.  Dunkin’ Donuts.  Dunkin’ looks forward to a strong global expansion in 2012.  Its sales increased when the company sold to concert venues and made breakfast sandwiches available. 

Prospective franchisees can be guided by the above list in choosing a franchise opportunity for sale.  Which franchise is the right fit for you?

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