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This year's listing mimics the overall trends in the economy and illustrates that while consumers may be spending again -- value prevails, Entrepreneur noted.
Fast feeders and c-store industry partners Subway, Dunkin Donuts, Hot Stuff Foods and other QSRs also made the list. Hampton Hotels landed in the top spot, McDonald’s was ranked second and Supercuts ranked fifth.
Since 2009, the featured companies have added more than 12,000 franchise units across the country and internationally. Inching up from the poor economy, those that cater to recession-minded customers by providing products with good deals fared well.
"Franchises are not only a great avenue to business ownership for many with a thirsty entrepreneurial spirit, but they're also capable of playing a key role in carrying us into a growing economy," said Amy Cosper, vice president and editor-in-chief of Entrepreneur. "The $153.7 billion in total payroll and 7.9 million jobs they account for speak to that loud and clear, and this year's Franchise 500 is a must-see list for anyone searching for the right business."
The rankings for all 500 companies are determined using an exclusive formula that takes into account objective and quantifiable factors. An independent CPA analyzes all financial data. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. All franchises are given a cumulative score, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.