The top 20 food franchises in the world

Given how tumultuous the fast-food and restaurant industries can be, investing in a franchise opportunity can be risky. recently compiled a list of the top franchises in the world.

We identified the top twenty food franchises that made the list.

The companies ranged from fast casual to more specialised eateries.

Check out the top ranking chains.

20. Menchie's

Number of franchises: 478

Cost to open a franchise: $US218,300-$US385,200

Why it's hot: Menchie's philosophy is built around customer satisfaction. The top frozen yogurt company prides itself on improving the customer experience and making it unique as possible. The frozen yogurt market is booming as stores are looked at as family-friendly and places to socialise.

19. Yogen Fruz

Number of franchises: 1,121

Cost to open a franchise: $US135,700-$US472,200

Why it's hot: Yogen Fruz has a large global presence with more than 1,400 locations in over 46 countries. The healthy frozen yogurt is growing fast because of the company's respected reputation.

18. Church's Chicken

Number of franchises: 1,396

Cost to open a franchise: $US413,300-$US1.3 million

Why it's hot: Church's is one of the largest recognised chicken chains around the world. The company is aiming for widespread, rapid growth, so they really support their franchisees. Church's encourages those with an entrepreneurial spirit to join.

17. Carl's Jr. Restaurants

Number of franchises: 998

Cost to open a franchise: $US1.3 million-$US1.9 million

Why it's hot: Carl's Jr. is known for its provocative advertising campaigns. These ads attract a lot of attention for the company and bring in franchisees. The chain can also be dual-branded with Green Burrito, a Mexican restaurant chain run by CKE Restaurants.

16. Pita Pit

Number of franchises: 489

Cost to open a franchise: $US187,500-$US314,980

Why it's hot: Pita Pit is a healthier spin on fast-casual. The company has experienced tremendous growth in recent years due to its abundance of nutritious options. The investment required to open a Pita Pita is inexpensive when compared to other fast food restaurants, which draws franchisees in, according to Franchise Chatter.

15. Dairy Queen

Number of franchises: 6,385

Cost to open a franchise: $US362,400-$US1.8 million

Why it's hot: Franchises with a recognisable name tend to do well when constructed in profitable areas. Dairy Queen has strong global brand recognition, which is what makes the restaurant such an enticing franchise opportunity.

14. Cold Stone Creamery

Number of franchises: 1,401

Cost to open a franchise: $US277,400-$US464,300

Why it's hot: Cold Stone Creamery also has strong brand recognition. Customers of the chain tend to be very loyal to the eatery, and the company offers its franchisees plenty of training and support in constructing and running their individual stores.

13. Taco Bell

Number of franchises: 5,157

Cost to open a franchise: $US1.2 million-$US2.6 million

Why it's hot: Like many of the other top franchises, Taco Bell has incredible brand awareness that attracts customers nationally. The Mexican chain also has a large peer network of 350 franchisees, and 35% of them have more than 25 years of experience. This support system is helpful when building a business.

12. Denny's

Number of franchises/co.: 1,536

Cost to open a franchise: $US1.3 million-$US2.6 million

Why it's hot: Denny's is a company that focuses on growth, so it puts a lot of its efforts into building strong relationships with its franchisees. Around 90% of Denny's are franchise-operated, and the company offers its franchises support across all levels of the business.

11. Hardee's

Number of franchises/co.: 1,538

Cost to open a franchise: $US1.3 million-$US1.6 million

Why it's hot: Like Carl's Jr., Hardee's is owned by CKE. It also can be dual-branded with Mexican chain Red Burrito, which is a unique feature that attracts franchisees.

9. Krispy Kreme Doughnut

Number of franchises/co.: 890

Cost to open a franchise: $US275,000-$US1.9 million

Why it's hot: Krispy Kreme offers people the opportunity to franchise within the United States or internationally. The brand is identifiable worldwide, and the company provides its franchisees with extensive training before opening up shop.

8. Dunkin' Doughnuts

Number of franchises/co.: 11,310

Cost to open a franchise: $US216,100-$US1.5 million

Why it's hot: Dunkin' Doughnuts is another company that's distinguishable worldwide. With coffee being such a large commodity in the world, these franchises succeed in most cases. Brand loyalty is at its peak with the chain's customers as well.

7. Baskin-Robbins

Number of franchises/co.: 7,546

Cost to open a franchise: $US102,900-$US388,600

Why it's hot: Baskin-Robbins has around 7,300 locations worldwide. It places its efforts into fostering stable relationships with its franchisees. 'Baskin-Robbins wants their franchisees to succeed and provides strong training and operational support which has positively impacted my profitability,' writes Chassidy Peters, a franchisee owner of 2 stores, on the company's website.

6. Papa John's International Pizza

Number of franchises/co.: 3,924

Cost to open a franchise: $US129,900-$US844,200

Why it's hot: Papa John's is planning major international expansion, which is attracting entrepreneurs. The business has been reporting strong sales lately, which brings in people looking to invest in the company and become a part of the Papa John's family.

5. McDonald's

Number of franchises/co.: 29,544

Cost to open a franchise: $US1 million-$US2.3 million

Why it's hot: McDonald's is one of the most popular fast-food chains in the world. The extensive training and support from the company brings in many franchisees looking to be a part of the dynasty.

4. KFC

Number of franchises/co.: 13,846

Cost to open a franchise: $US1.3 million-$US2.5 million

Why it's hot: Like McDonald's, KFC is a world-renowned company. Recently the chain has been shaking up its menu and expanding, helping it to gain plenty of media attention. This brings in entrepreneurs looking to take part in the innovative time for the company.

3. Auntie Anne's Hand-Rolled Soft Pretzels

Number of franchises/co.: 1,598

Cost to open a franchise: $US194,900-$US367,600

Why it's hot: Auntie Anne's is so well-liked that even stars like Shaquille O'Neal have franchised with the company. The global pretzel chain is unique in that no other chains produce product like it at such a large volume.

2. Pizza Hut

Number of franchises/co.: 12,956

Cost to open a franchise: $US297,000-$US2.1 million

Why it's hot: The pizza industry is lucrative, and investors can trust respected companies like Pizza Hut to succeed. The recognisable chain has a trusted reputation and a strong support structure for franchises to help its owners successfully run their stores.

1. Subway

Number of franchises/co.: 42,227

Cost to open a franchise: $US116,600-$US263,200

Why it's hot: Despite the recent controversy surrounding the brand, the chain remains one of the leading global sandwich chains. The company started making its menu healthier in recent years, which is also helping to attract customers. It's expanding globally, and many look to be a part of this expansion.

You've seen the top food franchises...

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