The top 50 franchises in the world

Opening a franchise can be one of the most important decisions in any entrepreneur’s life.

Entrepreneur recently compiled a list of the top franchises in the world.

Franchises with at least five international locations were evaluated by their 2015 Franchise 500® score for this ranking.

The score was, “based on objective, quantifiable criteria including system size, growth and financial strength and stability — then adjusted to give extra weight to international size and growth,” according to Entrepreneur.

50. Nutty Scientists

Number of franchises: 229

Cost to open a franchise: $US40,300-$US54,600

Why it's hot: Nutty Scientists is an educational program founded in 1996 that teaches children science education through interactive activities. The company brings fun into learning topics that some children struggle with.

49. Budget Blinds

Number of franchises: 971

Cost to open a franchise: $US89,200-$US187,100

Why it's hot: The company stocks an assorted selection of blinds, shutters, drapes, and more at all price points. People love Budget Blinds because it makes the process of finding installations and fixtures for your home easier and less stressful. The blinds company offers at-home service and free consultations and estimates.

48. Interim Healthcare

Number of franchises: 523

Cost to open a franchise: $US115,500-$US188,500

Why it's hot: Interim is the oldest healthcare franchise company in the United States. The company provides home care services, like nursing, hospice, and non-medical assistance, and it's widely spread across the country, with franchises in 43 states.

47. InXpress

Number of franchises: 263

Cost to open a franchise: $US55,300-$US160,200

it's hot: The franchise works with its customers to fit their individualized shipping needs. The worldwide package and freight delivery company is known for its customer service and affordable shipping costs.

46. My Gym Children's Fitness Center

Number of franchises: 329

Cost to open a franchise: $US34,300-$US247,200

Why it's hot: My Gym Children's Fitness Center developed a structured fitness program to combine development and exercise. The company helps children 6 weeks to 10-years-old to remain fit and active and grow cognitively as well. The company is also huge; it has different locations in more than 30 countries.

45. JEI Learning Centres

Number of franchises: 290

Cost to open a franchise: $US54,300-$US93,300

Why it's hot: This company is known for the Self-Learning Method it takes with its students. Upon entering the program, each student takes a diagnostics test, which is designed to highlight the areas the student struggles and excels in. These results outline the trajectory of his or her coursework with the learning center.

41. Ramada

Number of franchises: 840

Cost to open a franchise: $US195,700-$US13.1 million

Why it's hot: Ramada is part of the Wyndham Hotel Group, one of the largest in the world. The hotel group has the largest loyalty program because of the number of participating hotels; this loyalty program encourages visitors to come again and rack up points and rewards.

40. Hampton Hotels

Number of franchises: 1,963

Cost to open a franchise: $US3.7 million-$US13.5 million

Why it's hot: Hampton Hotels is owned by Hilton Worldwide. Hilton offers tremendous assistance to its franchises, including training, ongoing support with launches and evaluations, and marketing support.

37. 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 chicken chains recognised 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.

36. Sign-A-Rama

Number of franchises: 949

Cost to open a franchise: $US91,100-$US234,200

Why it's hot: Sign-A-Rama is more than just a sign company; it works with its customers to build and shape a customer's brand. The company personalizes signs and promotional material to accommodate the strategy and direction of the brand it's working with.

35. Jazzercise

Number of franchises: 8,370

Cost to open a franchise: $US3500-$US75,800

Why it's hot: Jazzercise revolutionised the workout industry in the 80s, making it one of the most popular, trusted forms of exercise. It's gained a cult-like following over the years, and its dance parties are still increasingly popular. Opening a Jazzercise is relatively inexpensive, which draws in many entrepreneurs.

33. Home Instead Senior Care

Number of franchises: 1,011

Cost to open a franchise: $US99,000-$US114,900

Why it's hot: A big selling point for Home Instead Senior Care franchises is the idea that one is purchasing a stake in a gratifying, rewarding business that will give back to others. Entrepreneurs that invest in this franchise are sometimes looking to give back and help others.

32. 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.

31. Jiffy Lube International

Number of franchises: 2,079

Cost to open a franchise: $US221,000-$US400,000

Why it's hot: Jiffy Lube franchisees rave about the support they receive from the company in building out their businesses. Owners can participate in training at Jiffy Lube University, an online program designed to educate owners on all aspects of the business.

30. Vanguard Cleaning Systems

Number of franchises: 2,946

Cost to open a franchise: $US9900-$US35,800

Why it's hot: Vanguard Cleaning Systems is independently owned, and absentee franchise ownership is not allowed. However, the franchises can be run from home and usually only require 1-2 employees. Janitorial services are essential to large corporations, which is one of the things that makes this franchise successful.

27. Snap Fitness

Number of franchises: 1,310

Cost to open a franchise: $US107,300-$US258,100

Why it's hot: With people gravitating towards clean eating and healthier lifestyles, fitness franchising is a profitable market. Snap Fitness is a 24-hour gym with a sleek look that entices franchisees. The company also helps owners increase sales quickly with its instructional program.

26. 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.

25. ServiceMaster Clean

Number of franchises/co.: 4,983

Cost to open a franchise: $US49,600-$US180,600

Why it's hot: The ServiceMaster parent brand is an established name in the service industry. ServiceMaster Clean has a unique business plan that allows for residential cleaning daily and commercial cleaning by night. It also offers a wide variety of other cleaning services, like disaster restoration and floor care.

24. IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group)

Number of franchises/co.: 4,831

Cost to open a franchise: $US7.2 million-$US94 million

Why it's hot: IHG owns 10 successful hotel brands that include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, Holiday Inn Hotels and Resorts and Candlewood Suites among others. It's one of the most recognised hotel brands in the world, and is continuing to grow.

18. H&R Block

Number of franchises/co.: 4,846

Cost to open a franchise: $US31,500-$US148,700

Why it's hot: H&R Block is one of the leading companies in the tax services industry. As a 50-year-old company with an impressive track record, H&R Block attracts franchisees with its dependency and brand recognition in the financial industry.

16. Days Inn Hotels

Number of franchises/co.: 1,784

Cost to open a franchise: $US198,900-$US7.3 million

Why it's hot: Days Inn Hotels is owned by the Wyndham Hotel Group, a frontrunner in the hotel industry. It includes Days Inn and Days Inn & Suites, Days Hotel, and Days Suites. One aspect of the hotel chain that customers love is the free breakfast, which is a complimentary feature at most locations.

13. Jan-Pro Franchising International

Number of franchises/co.: 11,676

Cost to open a franchise: $US3100-$US50,900

Why it's hot: Jan-Pro is a cleaning service company with clients in 13 countries and more than 10,000 franchises. The company offers both international and home-based franchising opportunities. Using the Jan-Pro Tracker System, the company ensures that it provides clients with the best customer service possible.

10. 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.

9. Circle K

Number of franchises/co.: 5,093

Cost to open a franchise: $US211,500-$US1.6 million

Why it's hot: Circle K is an international convenience store chain that allows its franchisee owners to customise their individual quick service restaurants. The company stocks many popular brands and offers its franchisees support in business and marketing systems among other services.

7. McDonald's

In this file photo taken in 1991, Russians wait in line outside a McDonald's fast food restaurant in Moscow.

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.

6. 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 holds worldwide notoriety. The company has recently been shaking up its menu and expanding, helping the chain to gain plenty of media attention. This brings in entrepreneurs looking to take part in the innovative time for the company.

5. 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.

3. 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.

1. Anytime Fitness

Number of franchises/co.: 2,796

Cost to open a franchise: $US78,700-$US371,000

Why it's hot: With over 2 million members in 2,885 sites across the globe, customers have 24 hour access, 365 days a year. With the secure access key and Anytime Fitness state of the art security systems, customers can feel comfortable visiting thousands of locations at no extra cost. The chain credits its top ranking to, 'financial strength and stability, growth rate, and size of the system,' according to its website.

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