Top 25 Franchises (2008)

Poder's annual survey of Hispanic diversity in the franchise business sector in 2008

Sunday, June 01, 2008

By Rob Bond and C. Everett Wallace

This is the third edition of The Top 25 Franchises for Hispanics. We are happy to report that every year there are more and more companies that have not only increased the number of Hispanic franchisees as a percentage of their total, but also increased the number of Hispanic senior managers within their ranks.

There appears to be a direct correlation between the growing interest among Hispanics in creating and maintaining wealth and the franchising community's increasingly proactive efforts to recruit and support Hispanic franchisees and managers. The result is that Hispanics are continuing to make significant headway in the franchising industry and, as a result, becoming an integral part of the fabric of American business.

One of the primary goals of the Top 25 questionnaire submitted to the franchises was to determine what percentage of the franchisor’s key managers (i.e. those earning in excess of $60,000 per annum) are Hispanic. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that many companies have a high and increasing percentage of Hispanic managers in key positions – a clear sign of progress and upward mobility. We were equally impressed by the level of manpower that many large franchisors are committing to the recruitment and support of minority franchisees.

Producing a list with the Top 10, 25, or 100 of any category is a difficult and inexact task. Because there are no adverse monetary consequences, picking the best movies, actresses, or baseball players would be painless. Picking the top franchise opportunities, however, is extremely difficult—especially with the foreknowledge that someone may naively take such a list and commit to an investment in excess of $200,000 without doing the proper due diligence.

There are a number of critical variables that must be considered in their entirety before anyone decides which franchise is best for him or her. These include historical performance, brand identification, market dynamics, franchisee satisfaction, the level of initial training and on-going support, financial stability and various other key areas that must be fully explored.

Although some might advise otherwise, our suggestion is that anyone considering buying a franchise should take at least four months to make the decision. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into making that decision prematurely—whether by franchisors, brokers, investors, or well-intentioned friends. The consequences for making the wrong choice can be severe—at best, you have made a poor investment, causing you to be both unhappy and financially strapped; at worst, you have lost your self-worth, your investment in its entirety, and maybe your spouse. The secret is to do your homework at the outset.

Additionally, keep in mind that while a well-chosen franchise that might meet one person’s personal needs and strengths, it may not be optimal for your needs and/or experience. Every decision is individual and has to be made in light of your personal strengths, weaknesses, long-term objectives and tolerance for risk.

Keep in mind that there are over 3,000 franchise systems in North America, many brand new and many tried and true. Unless you have a great deal of business experience in a particular industry, our recommendation would be that you stick with a company that has in excess of 40 or so operating units. These are the franchisors who have already learned from their mistakes, have made the necessary changes, and have the staff to properly support you as a new franchisee.

You should also favor those firms that have already demonstrated their intentions and efforts to aggressively recruit minorities, especially Hispanics, into their company, whether as managers or as franchisees. Each and every one of the companies listed as a Top 25 Franchise has made a concerted corporate commitment to recruit prospective franchisees from the Hispanic community over the past several years. This commitment is not motivated by altruism; it is based on sound business economics.

The reality is that there are growing numbers of Latino immigrants and Hispanic Americans who have settled in areas that are currently underserved by the basic retail and service needs prevalent in most other communities. Given the large and growing buying power within these underserved markets, Hispanic franchisees are the best candidates to run franchises within these communities. Progressive franchisors are taking full advantage of this reality. We feel confident that the companies noted below represent exceptional opportunities for those prospective franchisees who are committed to working hard, working smart, and working within the system.

7-Eleven, Inc.

  • Founded: 1927
  • First Franchise: 1964
  • Total Franchised Units: 19,992
  • 7-ELEVEN stores were born from the simple concept of giving people "what they want, when and where they want it." This idea gave rise to the entire convenience store industry. While this formula still works today, customers' needs are changing at an accelerating pace. We are meeting this challenge with an infrastructure of daily distribution of fresh perishables, regional production of fresh foods and pastries, and an information system that greatly improves ordering and merchandising decisions.
  • Total Investment: Varies
  • Minimum Net Worth: $12.5K
  • Franchising Fee: $64K

The Athlete's Foot

  • Founded: 1971
  • First Franchise: 1972
  • Total Franchised Units: 609
  • THE ATHLETE'S FOOT, with more than 600 stores in 45 countries, is the leading international franchisor of name-brand athletic footwear. As a franchisee, you will benefit from headquarters' support, including training, advertising, real estate and product selection.
  • Total Investment: $20-525K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $200K
  • Franchising Fee: $40K
  • Royalty Fee: 3.5-5%

Bonus Building Care

  • Founded: 1996
  • First Franchise: 1996
  • Total Franchised Units: 1,616
  • World's best investment opportunity in commercial cleaning. National rankings include: No. 20 on the 2008 Entrepreneur Franchise 500, No. 8 on the Franchise Business Review Franchisee Satisfaction ranking, and Franchise Market Magazine No. 5 in 2007. Franchisees are offered customers, training, insurance, financing, clerical and procedural assistance as well as opportunities for expansion. Investment, which can be partially financed by Bonus, is $7,550 to $13,830.
  • Minimum Net Worth: $7.5-13.8K
  • Franchising Fee: $6.5K
  • Royalty Fee: 10%

Burger King Corporation

  • Founded: 1954
  • First Franchise: 1961
  • Total Franchised Units: 10,161
  • Burger King's Vision: to serve the best burgers in the business, plus a variety of real, authentic foods - all freshly prepared - just the way you want it! BURGER KING Corporation operates more than 11,220 restaurants in all 50 states and in 60 countries around the world. 90% of restaurants are owned and operated by independent franchisees. Many are family-owned operations that have been in business for decades.
  • Total Investment: $294K-$2.8MM
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1.5MM
  • Franchising Fee: $50K
  • Royalty Fee: 4.5%

Choice Hotels International

  • Founded: 1941
  • First Franchise: 1962
  • Total Franchised Units: 4,810
  • CHOICE HOTELS is the leading hotel franchisor with more than 60 years' experience in developing brands and services that optimize hotel performance. The company's single focus is on enhancing the return on investment for owners and growing its brands strategically. Brands include COMFORT INN, COMFORT SUITES, QUALITY, SLEEP INN, CLARION, MAINSTAY SUITES, ECONO LODGE, and RODEWAY INN, and our new boutique brand extension, CLARION COLLECTION. Franchisees may either convert an existing location or build a new one.
  • Total Investment: $2.3-12.6MM
  • Franchising Fee: $25-50K
  • Royalty Fee: 2.27-5.1%

Church's Chicken

  • Founded: 1952
  • First Franchise: 1972
  • Total Franchised Units: 1,372
  • Founded in San Antonio, Texas, Church's Chicken is a highly recognized brand name in the quick-service restaurant sector and is one of the largest chicken concepts in the world. Church's Chicken serves freshly prepared, high quality, flavorful chicken and tenders with signature sides and hand-made from scratch biscuits at low prices and differentiates from its competitors in care and attention given in preparation of food. It is positioned as the Value Leader in the Chicken QSR category. As of February 2007, the Church's system had 1,600+ locations worldwide in 18 countries, with system sales exceeding $1 billion.
  • Total Investment: $335-1,113K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1MM
  • Franchising Fee: $15K
  • Royalty Fee: 5%


  • Founded: 1953
  • First Franchise: 1963
  • Total Franchised Units: 1,156
  • For more than 50 years, Denny's has been a trusted leader in family dining, with a brand awareness of almost 100%. Denny's serves over 26 million customers a month in our 1500+ restaurants worldwide, which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Experienced restaurateurs or business people are encouraged to contact the company and learn more about growth opportunities within this brand.
  • Total Investment: $1.2-1.9MM
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1MM
  • Franchising Fee: $40K
  • Royalty Fee: 4%

Dunkin' Donuts

  • Founded: 1950
  • First Franchise: 1955
  • Total Franchised Units: 7,440
  • With more than half a century of history, Dunkin' Donuts is the No. 1 retailer of coffee-by-the-cup in America, selling 2.7 million cups a day, or nearly one billion cups a year. Dunkin' Donuts is also the largest baked goods chain in the world and sells more donuts and bagels than any other quick service restaurant in America. Dunkin' Donuts has shops in 30 countries worldwide. The company's franchising support team includes development, construction, operational support, training, and field marketing managers. Investment opportunities are available for both individuals and corporate investors interested in purchasing development agreements for five or more restaurants.
  • Total Investment: $179K-1.6MM
  • Minimum Net Worth: $750K/unit
  • Franchising Fee: $40-80K
  • Royalty Fee: 5.9%

ERA Franchise Systems

  • Founded: 1971
  • First Franchise: 1971
  • Total Franchised Units: 2,972
  • ERA is a network of more than 3,000 offices and over 38,700 brokers and sales associates in the U.S. and 35 countries and territories. As the innovator of the popular Sellers Security Plan and the ERA Answers Book, ERA has developed quality products and services for more than 35 years. It is a global leader in providing franchisees with state-of-the-art technology and marketing support.
  • Total Investment: $42.7-205.9K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $25K
  • Franchising Fee: $12.5-20K
  • Royalty Fee: N/A

Focus Brands

  • Founded: 2004
  • First Franchise: 2004
  • Total Franchised Units: 1,750
  • FOCUS Brands Inc., parent company of Carvel, Cinnabon, and Schlotzsky's, and the franchisor of Seattle's Best Coffee on military bases and in certain international markets, is the franchisor and operator of over 1,750 ice cream stores, bakeries, sandwich shops and cafes in the U.S., the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and 33 foreign countries. Based in Atlanta, the primary objective of FOCUS Brands is to "FOCUS on making people happy."
  • Total Investment: $200-600K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $300K
  • Franchising Fee: $30K
  • Royalty Fee: 6%

Jani-King International

  • Founded: 1969
  • First Franchise: 1974
  • Total Franchised Units: 13,000
  • JANI-KING INTERNATIONAL is the world's largest commercial cleaning franchisor, with locations in 19 countries and over 125 regions in the U.S. and abroad. Franchise opportunities with this company include initial customer contracts, training, continuous local support, administrative and accounting assistance, an equipment leasing program, and national advertising. For franchisees searching for flexible business opportunities, this may be the place to look.
  • Total Investment: $2.9-40K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $2.9-33K
  • Franchising Fee: $8-33K
  • Royalty Fee: 10%

Jan-Pro Cleaning Systems

  • Founded: 1991
  • First Franchise: 1992
  • Total Franchised Units: 7,032
  • JAN-PRO International is a franchisor in the rapidly expanding commercial cleaning industry. In 2008, JAN-PRO was ranked the No. 1 Fastest Growing Franchise in the world by Entrepreneur magazine's annual Franchise 500 ranking. With over 7,000 franchisees worldwide, and the development of the new JP Associate program, JAN-PRO is poised to remain among the industry's leader. The company's training, support, and overall commitment to excellence ensure that its owners are in business for themselves, but not by themselves.
  • Total Investment: $2.8-35K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $3K
  • Franchising Fee: $1-18K
  • Royalty Fee: 10%


  • Founded: 1939
  • First Franchise: 1952
  • Total Franchised Units: 4,277
  • World's largest quick-service restaurant with a chicken-dominant menu. KFC offers full-service restaurants and non-traditional express units for captive markets.
  • Total Investment: $1.1-1.7MM
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1MM
  • Franchising Fee: $25K
  • Royalty Fee: 4% or $600/mo.

LOA Fitness for Women

  • Founded: 1984
  • First Franchise: 1989
  • Total Franchised Units: 385
  • Billed as the world's largest full service workout and fitness centers focused on women, Lady of America fitness for Women Centers strive to stand apart from the competition. From the company's training staff to its group exercise programs and message therapy, LOA Fitness Centers have been developed with the woman in mind, capitalizing on the growing health market while providing clean, comfortable, and safe workout environments to members for nearly 25 years.
  • Total Investment: $187-452K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $250K
  • Franchising Fee: $30K
  • Royalty Fee: 8%

Maid Brigade

  • Founded: 1979
  • First Franchise: 1984
  • Total Franchised Units: 125
  • Developing, owning, and running a business shouldn't be a job. It should be a passion. At Maid Brigade, the company prides itself on making sure it's so. Providing professional home cleaning with a focus on customers for life, Maid Brigade franchisees are part of a company that is acutely focused on success and growth.
  • Total Investment: $87K+
  • Minimum Net Worth: $150K
  • Franchising Fee: $29.5K
  • Royalty Fee: 3.5-6.9%


  • Founded: 1985
  • First Franchise: 1996
  • Total Franchised Units: 500+
  • Marriott International is a leading lodging company. Its heritage can be traced to a root beer stand opened in Washington, D.C., in 1927 by J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott. Today, Marriott International has an impeccable international reputation and more than 3,000 lodging properties in 66 countries. Responsive to owner and franchisee needs, the company provides personalized service at all phases. Its flexible, innovative strategies help franchisees develop and build quality hotels, while allowing the flexibility to respond to changing market conditions and evolving customer preferences.
  • Total Investment: $4-7MM


  • Founded: 1955
  • First Franchise: 1956
  • Total Franchised Units: 24,624
  • McDonald's has always been a franchising company and relies on its franchisees to play a major role in the system's success. A major component of this is the world class training franchisees receive prior to becoming owners/operators. McDonald's provides hands-on training and the materials stores need to be a success in their market. McDonald's Field Operations and Franchising staff work directly with franchisees to assist the owner/operators to maximize the quality, service, and cleanliness to optimize sales and profits.
  • Total Investment: $950K-1.8MM
  • Franchising Fee: $45K
  • Royalty Fee: 12.5%

Meineke Car Care Centers

  • Founded: 1972
  • First Franchise: 1973
  • Total Franchised Units: 886
  • MEINEKE has been offering superior automotive repair services at discount prices for over 30 years. As a nationally-recognized brand with a proven system, name recognition, comprehensive training, and on-going technical and operational support are some of the benefits enjoyed by MEINEKE franchisees.
  • Total Investment: $190-352K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $150K
  • Franchising Fee: $30K
  • Royalty Fee: 3-7%

Motel 6

  • Founded: 1962
  • First Franchise: 1996
  • Total Franchised Units: 194
  • Thanks to one of the most successful ad campaigns in the history of the hotel industry, Motel 6 enjoys strong brand awareness and high guest loyalty. As part of the Accor family of hotels, franchisee support includes complete prototype design, marketing support, national advertising, protected market territories, personalized operational support, and ongoing training at corporate headquarters.
  • Total Investment: $2.2-2.6MM
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1.5MM
  • Franchising Fee: $25K
  • Royalty Fee: 4%

Mr. Appliance

  • Founded: 1996
  • First Franchise: 1997
  • Total Franchised Units: 118
  • Mr. Appliance is the only franchise providing full-service appliance service and repair both commercially and residentially. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its Franchise 500 and Top 101 Home-Based Franchises, Mr. Appliance franchises serve customers at more than 90 locations worldwide. Mr. Appliance is part of The Dwyer Group family of companies, which also includes Rainbow International, Mr. Rooter, Aire Serv, Mr. Electric, and Glass Doctor.
  • Total Investment: $80-100K
  • Minimum Net Worth: Varies
  • Franchising Fee: $20K
  • Royalty Fee: 4-7%

Mr. Rooter Corp

  • Founded: 1968
  • First Franchise: 1974
  • Total Franchised Units: 242
  • Mr. Rooter is the largest all-franchised, full-service plumbing and drain cleaning company in the world with approximately 300 franchises worldwide. Recognized by Entrepreneur magazine among its Franchise 500 and Franchise Times Top 200, Mr. Rooter provides services to both residential and commercial customers. Mr. Rooter began franchising in 1974 and is part of The Dwyer Group family of companies, which also includes Rainbow International, Aire Serv, Mr. Electric, Mr. Appliance, and Glass Doctor.
  • Total Investment: $51-142K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $200K
  • Franchising Fee: $22.5K/100K Pop.
  • Royalty Fee: 4-7%

Papa John's International

  • Founded: 1985
  • First Franchise: 1986
  • Total Franchised Units: 2,582
  • Papa John's prides itself on the simplicity and efficiency of its operating system, employing the same technology, distribution system, and training programs system-wide to ensure the quality and integrity of the product. The Papa John's team assists franchisees with site selection and equipment packages in addition to providing team member training assistance and restaurant level marketing guidance. Headquartered in Louisville, KY, is the world's third-largest pizza company. For six years running, consumers have rated Papa John's No. 1 in customer satisfaction among all national Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) chains in the highly regarded American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSAI).
  • Total Investment: $110.8-466.6K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $250K-$2.2MM
  • Franchising Fee: $25K/unit
  • Royalty Fee: 5%

ServiceMaster Clean

  • Founded: 1947
  • First Franchise: 1952
  • Total Franchised Units: 4,488
  • SERVICEMASTER CLEAN is a division of The ServiceMaster Company. With over 55 years of franchising experience and over 4,000 franchises, the company continues to grow each year and offers franchise opportunities in three distinct categories: Commercial Cleaning services, Residential carpet and upholstery cleaning, and Disaster Restoration services. Financing is provided for the initial franchise fee, start-up equipment, & vehicles to qualified candidates through ServiceMaster Acceptance Co.
  • Total Investment: $16.9-43K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $50K
  • Franchising Fee: $16.9-49K
  • Royalty Fee: 4-10%

Two Men And A Truck

  • Founded: 1985
  • First Franchise: 1989
  • Total Franchised Units: 162
  • TWO MEN AND A TRUCK is a local moving franchise committed to exceeding customers' expectations. Training for franchisees by the operations department covers everything from how to move a grand piano to how to hire, manage, and lead. They offer a full range of residential and commercial moving services, as well as boxes and packing supplies.
  • Total Investment: $115-300K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $300K+
  • Franchising Fee: $37K
  • Royalty Fee: 6%

Vangaurd Cleaning Systems

  • Founded: 1984
  • First Franchise: 1984
  • Total Franchised Units: 1,287
  • VANGUARD offers two distinct franchise opportunities through its Master Franchise program and its Janitorial Franchise program. The Master Franchise program offers the experienced business person the chance to own, develop, and manage a dynamic business with recurring contract revenues, minimal staffing requirements, and tremendous growth potential. The Janitorial Franchise program provides an opportunity for individuals and families who want to become owner operators of a commercial cleaning business to take advantage of support, training, and the company's ability to secure quality cleaning accounts for them.
  • Total Investment: $7-35K
  • Minimum Net Worth: $1.5-35K
  • Franchising Fee: $7-35K
  • Royalty Fee: 5%