The Worlds Top 10 Franchises

Ever wondered what the Top 10 Franchises in the world were?

Fear not my friends as we're about to put you out of your misery! Below outlines the Top 10 Franchises in the world based on total sales and units. This data was comprised by Global Systemwide sales. 

Every year, the competition grows thicker and thicker as new franchises create compelling cases to enter the Top 10 and the old-school, established franchised giants keep innovating. So, which ones managed to crack the top echelon and make the top 10?

1. McDonald's

McDonald's franchise store

Started franchising: 1955

Total units: 38,695

System Sales: $100,178,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $1.3 million to $2.2 million

So, how does a franchising giant like McDonald’s, with a staggering 38,000+ food and beverage franchise units already in place, supposed to keep growing? It appears that the company is betting on tech solutions and platforms that can optimize speed of service and make an already-fast place more accessible than ever.

While it’s too early to definitively tell whether McDonald’s $10 billion system-wide store redesign and investment in tech is a success, here’s something to keep in mind: McDonald’s is now filling 10 delivery orders every second. 

2. 7-Eleven

7-eleven franchised store

Started franchising: 1964

Total units: 66,689

System Sales: $89,000,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $47,100 to $1.2 million

The 7-Eleven franchise continues to grow at a massive rate, adding 4,584 franchised units within the past two years alone. The convenience store franchise is on the up and looking for that illustrious no.1 spot!

3. KFC

KFC fast food franchise

Started franchising: 1952

Total units: 24,104

System Sales: $27,900,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $750,000 - $1.5 million

The first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise was opened in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1952 by Pete Harman, who introduced the “Bucket O'Chicken” in 1957. Harman also is credited with the brand's slogan “It's finger-lickin' good.” KFC Corp. is based in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a subsidiary of Yum!

4. Burger King

Burger King food and beverage franchise

Started franchising: 1954

Total units: 15,000+

System Sales: $22,921,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $350,000 - $1 million

Burger King started franchising just two years after the Colonel started in Kentucky. Two of the earliest investors were James McLamore and David Edgerton who bought themselves a franchise in Miami, Florida in 1954 and the burger franchise giant has just gone from strength to strength ever since. 

5. Ace Hardware

Ace Hardware franchise

Started franchising: 1976

Total units: 5,312

System Sales: $17,006,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $286,000- $1 million

Ace Hardware ranks No.5 on the list, and is the youngest within franchise within the to make up the top 5. According to the emerging franchise group, 75 percent of all U.S. homes are within 15 minutes of an Ace store, and the retailer managed more than $16 billion in sales last year. In particular, Ace’s online sales in the third quarter of 2019 rose 81 percent after the company began offering customers the ability to have their orders delivered at the nearest franchised store. 

However, Ace continues to focus on its in-person customer service, too, which includes its acquisition of Denver-based franchise Handyman Matters.

6. Subway

Subway fast food franchise

Started franchising: 1974

Total units: 40,869

System Sales: $16,100,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $100,000 - $250,000

When Fred Deluca initially contemplated the idea of franchising his quick serviced sandwich concept, it was done with the aim of reaching 30 units that could manage themselves. Originally named "Pete's Super Submarines' and started by a 17 year old Fred, the giant soon changed it's name to Subway and started it's franchising journey in 1974. Astonishingly, they now have more franchised units than McDonald's. 

7. Dominos

Dominos pizza franchise

Started franchising: 1967

Total units: 17,020

System Sales: $14,300,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $300,000 - $600,000

Domino's Pizza opened its first franchise location in 1967 and by 1978, the company expanded to 200 stores. On May 12, 1983, Domino's opened its first international store, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.[That same year, Domino's opened its 1000th store, its first in Vancouver, Washington. In 1985, the chain opened their first store in the United Kingdom in Luton.

8. Pizza Hut

Pizza Hut food franchise

Started franchising: 1959

Total units: 17,176

System Sales: $12,900,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $350,000 - $2,000,000

Pizza Hut announced in August that it planned to close 500 of its U.S. dine-in restaurants, but in the past three years, it’s also opened thousands of international franchises. So, even as the domestic market grows more crowded than ever, international business has allowed the Hut to thrive. 

Another growth opportunity for Pizza Hut lies in football, due to its new partnerships with the NFL and EA Sports (the makers of the Madden NFL franchise). 

9. Chick-fill-A

Chick a Fill chicken franchise

Started franchising: 1946

Total units: 2,503

System Sales: $12,680,000,000

Initial franchise cost: $10,000 (franchisees do not own the equipment or premises)

is one of the largest American fast food restaurant chains and the largest whose specialty is chicken sandwiches. Today, Chick-fil-A has the highest same-store sales and is the largest quick-service chicken restaurant chain in the United States based on annual system-wide sales.

10. Circle K

Circle K Convenience franchise store

Started franchising: 1999

Total units: 9,392

System Sales: $12,457,942,533

Initial franchise cost: $171,000 - $1,900,000

The Circle K convenience store chain got its start in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay's Food Stores in El Paso, Texas. The company began franchising in 1999. Now owned by parent company Alimentation Couche-Tard, Circle K franchises can be found in more than 20 states, as well as more than 10 other countries.