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The Top 5 Biggest Franchisee Groups In the Industry

The five largest franchisee organizations own a combined 5,000-plus units of a range of franchise concepts.

Plenty of new franchisees enter the industry on their own. With an initial investment and some ambitious dreams, the franchise model makes huge things possible. However, it is not uncommon for multi-unit franchisees to form larger groups through which they invest in new franchise concepts. 

Each year, teams up with FRANdata to evaluate the country’s top multi-unit franchisee organizations. These five dominated the top of the list in 2022.

Flynn Restaurant Group

In 1999, eight Applebee’s franchisees came together to create Flynn Restaurant Group. Now, it claims it is the largest franchisee in the U.S. with 2,357 units across the country. The group makes $4 billion annually thanks to its 73,000 employees and continued investment in Applebee’s, Taco Bell, Panera Bread, Wendy’s, Pizza Hut and Arby’s.

As it continues to grow, Flynn Restaurant Group emphasizes the importance of a can-do attitude at the unit level, top-notch customer experience and local expertise when making restaurant decisions.

Sun Holdings

Sun Holdings goes back to 1997 when Guillermo Perales started his business journey with Golden Corral. Now, it is the second largest group in the U.S. with over 1,740 locations. Currently, Sun Holdings operates 141 Burger Kings, 169 Popeyes, 212 Arby’s, 36 IHOPs, six Golden Corrals, 67 McAlister’s, 167 Papa John’s, 131 Applebee’s, 55 GNCs, over 500 T-Mobiles and 143 Taco Buenos. The franchise group reportedly brings in $800 million in revenue annually.

The group has already acquired over 20 parcels of land for future developments.

Carrols Group

Carrols Group currently operates in 23 states and employs over 27,000 people. Since its 1960 foundation, the group has grown to encompass over 1,000 restaurants—1,091, according to—across the Burger King and Popeyes networks.

The concept embraces a notion that “Promotion is a natural progression, not a chance happening.” With this in mind, everyone throughout the Carrols Group network is encouraged to do their absolute best, which ultimately translates to a positive in-restaurant experience.


FQSR, or KBP Foods, began formation in 1999 with intentions to “create a great place to work, a great place to eat and a great place to own.” In ‘99, the group acquired its first five restaurants in Colorado.

Now, it includes 1,000 units of KFC, Taco Bell, A&W and Long John Silver’s, and is one of three concepts under the KBP Brands umbrella. KBP Brands also includes KBP Inspired and KBP Bells.

Dhanani Group

Dhanani Group is a franchise group working to “create a QSR franchise dynasty.” The group is led by Shoukat Dhanani, who also serves as president of Burger King operations. The group first started in 1976, working in the gas and convenience store space. In 1994, it began franchising with Burger King, bringing the first co-branded restaurant to Houston, Texas. 

Now, it has 824 units between Burger King, Popeyes and La Madeleine restaurants. It secures about $180 million in annual sales.