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Franchise Business Review Releases List of the 200 Best Franchises to Buy in 2019

Franchise Business Review surveyed more than 30,000 franchisees from 310 franchise brands.

Franchise Business Review released its list of “200 Best Franchises to Buy in 2019.”

The list is compiled annually, and this year’s list surveyed more than 30,000 franchisees from 310 franchise brands. Surveys were conducted between June of 2017 and November of 2018.

“There are many ‘top franchise’ lists out there, but Franchise Business Review's annual Franchisee Satisfaction Awards are the only franchise ranking based on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance,” the review stated.

Brands are not ranked in any particular order, although readers can sort the list alphabetically, by category and by the required investment amount.

“Each survey participant was asked 33 benchmark questions about their franchisor that focused on areas such as leadership, training, and core values as well as 16 more personal questions concerning their business lifestyle and overall enjoyment of running their franchise,” the review stated.

Major brands that participated in the survey this year - and made the list - include Dogtopia, Huntington Learning Center, MaidPro, Molly Maid, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Pinot’s Palette, PJ’s Coffee, Planet Fitness and Wingstop.

“PJ’s Coffee is truly a family company—including our franchisees," said Peter Boylan, President of PJ’s Coffee. "Owned by three brothers, we take our commitment to our employees and franchisees seriously. This recognition is proof that we are constantly working to find synergies and enhance our store-level collaboration with our business partners.”

“The Franchise Business Review list provides an interesting alternative to the traditional rankings, which rank based on company revenue and total unit numbers or growth,” 1851 Franchise Chief Development Strategist Sean Fitzgerald said. “Rankings that are strictly based on growth can give a false sense of the likelihood of success to franchisee candidates because if the brand is growing rapidly, the assumption is that everything is great about the brand when it could just be getting hot because of the category it’s in. The unit economics may not support that type of hype. This ranking is based on surveys of franchisees and how they rank the opportunity and the support of the franchisor, so it gives a true franchisee perspective of the brand.”

Franchisee happiness is a true measure of a brand’s success at the end of the day, Fitzgerald said.

“I think this list is important because satisfaction is going to be derived from franchisee success and support, and companies that are focused on the success of franchisees tend to have better results,” Fitzgerald said. “When franchisees are happy, it’s usually because they’re successful and if you’re measuring happiness, odds are that they’re doing very well from a performance-results standpoint.”

Fitzgerald noted that franchisees are happy when they’re making money.

“That’s the biggest driver,” he said. “If they’re not making money, they won’t be happy. They feel like they are getting support from the franchisor to continue to grow their business, which is critical when choosing a franchise. It’s not just the business you get into, but who you get into business with.”

The list contains “a significant amount of service brands,” Fitzgerald said, adding that this could simply be because many of those types of brands decided to respond to the survey. He did note, however, a correlation between what’s happening in the franchise space, where service brands are doing really well while traditional quick service, brick-and-mortar restaurants are slowing down.

There are typically two types of franchise investors, he said, and those are high-investment people and working class-type persons who are doing well financially. These are usually two spouses with disposable income.

“They don’t necessarily have millions invested, but a service brand is often a relatively low investment they can afford because they have confidence that their support of revenue is going to be there,” Fitzgerald said. “The risk tolerance for those people significantly drops, therefore I’m not surprised to see lower-investment, service-related franchises are doing well right now.”