There are many franchises in the United States, some of which are more profitable than others (obviously) and make it difficult to determine which one will generate the most revenue for your business or entrepreneurship.
After all, every franchise has its own unique factors that make it successful, and you don’t only have to focus on revenue but also on how good it is for your goals and ideas in the future.
That being said, a few franchises have been around for decades and continue to dominate the market.
You know most of these franchises quite well, even if you don’t live in the U.S. Therefore, we are confident you will feel identified and even want to give them a try if you’re looking for a new business opportunity. Just keep something in mind: franchising can be a bit expensive.
Here, we will highlight 15 franchises that have proven themselves over time and help you with information about what you need to get started if you live in the country and want to bet on a new business opportunity.
McDonald’s – Fast Food Franchise
McDonald’s is one of the most profitable franchises in the United States. In fact, it is the top one, considering how much time it has been in business and the number of franchisees around the country and worldwide.
It was founded by brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald as a barbecue restaurant that served only 17 items on its menu, including hamburgers, cheeseburgers, fried eggs, french fries, and soft drinks, in April 1955.
McDonald’s has grown to become an international corporation with over 37,000 locations serving food in more than 100 countries around the world each day.
The company began franchising operations in 1959 using a model where the owner receives royalties based on sales without investing any money upfront or handling tasks such as maintenance or construction for their franchises.
If you want to take part, you will have to deal with $45.000 as a franchise fee, between $1 to $2 million for initial investment, and handle over three months of training before launching the franchise.
KFC – Fast Food Franchise
KFC, which stands for Kentucky Fried Chicken, is one of the world’s most profitable franchises. That’s right, not only in the USA.
Founded in 1952, it has more than 18,000 franchises and employs over 1 million people worldwide. The franchises are mostly found in the U.S., Eastern Europe, India, and China.
It has even been ranked in the top 15 most profitable franchises in the U.S. by Entrepreneur Magazine.
The initial investment ranges from $900k to $2+ million depending on the type of franchise you want to open, a traditional or non-traditional one, being the latter the less expensive.
The fees for those in the USA start at $10.000 for a 5-year term and $15.000 for ten years.
Burger King – Fast Food Franchise
It is the second-largest hamburger chain after McDonald’s, with more than 20,000 locations worldwide. Burger King franchises offer a variety of hamburgers and chicken sandwiches as well as french fries and soft drinks.
The company was founded by James McLamore and David Edgerton in 1954 when they purchased the Insta-Burger King Company in Miami, Florida.
The company grew rapidly until it had difficulties retaining franchises around 1984; this resulted in the company being acquired two years later by its former CEO, James Wills, who renamed it Burger King Corporation.
For us, Burger King tends to be more profitable than McDonald’s, depending on your location. Although the top one is everywhere, that is probably the main problem, that it is everywhere.
With Burger King, people in the U.S. have shown to have more possibilities. However, it is quite expensive.
The initial investment starts at $1.9 million and goes up to $3.3 million for a free-standing franchise. Meanwhile, the fees are based on 4% advertising and a royalty fee established at 4.5% of gross sales.
7-Eleven – Retail Franchises
7-Eleven franchises are the most profitable franchises in the United States. The franchise was started by Joe Thompson, who opened up the first store on October 22, 1927.
The first few stores were not very successful, and many people thought it would be a failure, but 7-Eleven has grown into one of the largest franchises in the country, with over 8,000 stores worldwide.
In 2008, 7-Eleven set a record for sales at $4 billion, bringing them to second place among franchises behind Mcdonald’s at the time.
In 2009 they surpassed Shell Oil as well as Amoco to take third place among franchises worldwide.
In 2021, 7-Eleven is constantly innovating new ways to help its customers save time and money in buying any available products, from food to gas and much more.
If you’re interested in starting one, the franchise fee ranges from $10.000 to $1 million depending on the size and type of the store you establish and the contract signed.
However, the initial investment is lower compared to most options since it goes from $38k to $1.1 million. If you’re looking to invest in a convenience store, this is definitely the one.
Domino’s Pizza – Food Franchise
Domino’s Pizza franchises were originally founded by Tom Monaghan and James Monaghan, who borrowed $900 from their mother to start Dominick’s Pizza. After a few years, they decided to change the name of their company because people often confused it with another pizza place that was also called Dominick’s.
The brothers changed their company name to “Domino’s” because when customers phoned for delivery, they would often ask what kind of pizza they had and say, “I’ll take one.” This is why the logo has dots at either end instead of letters like other franchises.
There is a lot of history behind this franchise, and in all honesty, we love the pizzas here (and for good reasons).
We know many will complain about some tastes and flavors, but we just have to admire how they have managed to maintain the quality over the years.
Therefore, if you decide to invest, this one is the top for pizza businesses.
However, the requirements can be a bit hard for some people:
- Franchise fee: $25.000 for ten years.
- Initial investment: $120k – $461k.
- Royalty fee: 5.5%.
- Liquid cash available: $75.000.
Ace Hardware Corporation – Home Services Franchise
Ace Hardware Corporation franchises offer hardware, appliances, paint, lawn, and garden supplies.
Most of them are based in Oak Brook, Illinois, founded in 1924 by William Stauber, Richard Hesse, Frank Burke, E. Gunnard Lindquist, and Oscar Fisher.
In the early 1960s, Ace Hardware Corporation franchises had expanded to 3,000 stores nationwide and are estimated to be worth over $10 billion in 2021.
Besides products, the franchises provide services in the areas of home improvement and repair.
Customers can buy products from the franchises at a discounted rate and a “guarantee” on their purchase. The franchises have also been expanding into Mexico, Canada, and China’s coastal cities.
Those who want to invest will need to pay a $5.000 franchisee fee and between $200k to $1.5 million as the initial investment depending on the location and additional elements.
Century 21 – Real Estate Franchise
The Century 21 franchise was founded in 1971 by Art Bartlett and Marsh Fisher.
The company is now one of the world’s largest real estate franchises with over 7,500 offices worldwide—and counting!
While its headquarters are still located in Madison, New Jersey, it has expanded to include franchises across the United States and Canada since its founding.
In addition to being one of America’s most successful franchises ever created, this global business also offers some of the best training programs for new agents anywhere. They offer both classroom-based as well as online courses that cover all the information and training required.
Joining this company as a franchisee will probably be the cheapest one on our list (spoiler, it isn’t).
For a conversion office, the initial investment reaches the $270.000 mark, and the total one with some additional fees goes up to $456.000.
The royalty fee is established at 6%, while others are included in the general payment every year.
Papa John’s – Food Franchise
Papa John’s franchises have been growing, with over 3,000 franchises currently in the United States.
Founded by John Schnatter on October 2, 1984, it has turned into one of the world’s biggest and most popular pizza franchises.
Some of the franchises have started as small businesses, but now they’ve grown into franchises that sell their products nationally and internationally.
If you want to start one, you will need to meet the requirements:
- Initial investment: between $200k to $300k.
- Franchise fee: $25.000.
- Royalty fee: there’s no fee for the first 18 months and then goes up to 1% and keeps going progressively every year until reaching 5%.
Anytime Fitness – Fitness Franchise
Anytime Fitness is a fitness franchise founded in 2001 by Chuck Runyon, Jeff Klinger, and Dave Mortensen.
The franchises are mainly located in the United States. Still, the company has over 2,000 franchises worldwide, with over 1,500 in the U.S. alone, making it one of the top franchises to own and operate today.
In 2021, it has an estimated worth of $2 billion. Since it was founded, many people have loved it, thanks to the services offered, including 24-hour gym access, instructor-led exercise classes, personalized training plans, nutrition counseling services, and much more.
To get started, you will need to invest between $96k to $524k depending on the location and size of the gym, as well as all the services you will include for your franchise.
The franchise fee starts at $25.000 and can go up to $42.500, while the royalty fee is established at $650-700 per month.
Pizza Hut – Food Franchise
Pizza Hut franchises have been in business for over 50 years. The first restaurant is still open and running today, proving that franchisees don’t always die out quickly.
Today there are over 16,000 Pizza Huts all around the world. They offer a variety of pizzas, both original and specialty types, as well as other food items such as breadsticks, pasta dishes, salads, and desserts like chocolate lava cake or ice cream pies with toppings like hot fudge or marshmallow topping.
Founded on June 15, 1958, by Dan and Frank Carney, the company is the main competitor for Domino’s and Papa John’s, although it is pretty growing usually faster than those two.
To own one, the initial investment goes from $297k to $2.1 million, while the franchise free stands at $25.000, and the net worth required is $700k.
The royalty fee usually stays at 5%.
Stratus Building Solutions – Commercial Cleaning Franchise
Stratus has taken place as one of the best franchises due to the demand for quality and affordable commercial cleaning services and how they have marketed the business opportunity.
Stratus Building Solutions was established in 2004 in St. Louis, Missouri, by a pair of industry veterans.
With over ten years of experience in various areas, including franchise development and building construction, Stratus has grown into one of the most reputable names in franchises nationwide.
Their goal is to provide quality service at an affordable price while maintaining professional standards that exceed customer expectations every time.
Their top priority is customer satisfaction through reliability and integrity they have built their reputation on since day one! To ensure this level, they offer all the training and materials required to start franchising.
With an initial investment starting at $4.000 and going up to $80.000, the franchise fee ranges between $3.600 and $69.000, while royalties are established at 5%.
Dunkin’ – Food Franchise
Dunkin’ has been around since 1950 and has become one of the largest franchises with over 10,000 stores all around the world.
The company currently operates in 45 countries and serves 2 billion cups of coffee annually. Dunkin’ was founded by William Rosenberg, who started it as a donut shop.
It is one of the franchises that offer the most support to the people interested in joining, and although it can be more expensive than the previous option we reviewed, we highly recommend it.
With a franchise fee from $40.000 to $90.000; initial investment at $437k to $1.7 million, Dunkin’ is a great investment if you can afford it.
The royalty fee is established at 5.9%, and an additional Ad fee is included at 5% annually while the term of agreement lasts 20 years, being renewable.
SUBWAY – Food Franchise
Subway was founded on August 28, 1965, by Fred DeLuca and Peter Buck. To this date, the DeLuca family remains the owner and has brought the franchise to have over 35,000 locations worldwide.
Subway has franchises in 100 countries and makes sure to provide fresh sandwiches that have all-natural ingredients.
Among all the food franchises we have included so far (because they ought to be there), Subway is a particular favorite of us due to the variety in what you offer as products.
Also, the estimated total to establish a new franchise sets at $342.400, making it a great alternative regardless of your location in the United States.
You can even start with $100.000 on most occasions. However, the royalty fee is indeed high, setting at 12.5% every week.
Chick-fil-A – Fast Food Franchise
In 1946, S. Truett Cathy opened his first restaurant called the Dwarf Grill in Hapeville, Georgia.
The first Chick-Fil-A was founded in 1967 and has grown into a chain of over 2,100 franchises across America with $6 billion annually in revenue.
Their menu includes chicken sandwiches and salads that are made fresh daily to order by hand at each location. They also offer a variety of breakfast items, including biscuits, pancakes, oatmeal, and grits.
To open a franchise, you will need to invest between $342.990 to $1.9 million, including a $10.000 franchise fee, and the franchise will cover all the opening expenses.
This restaurant is a great option for those interested in fast food franchises due to its popularity in the United States and its profitability in the country.
The UPS Store – Printing & Packing Franchise
The UPS Store franchises are very profitable and provide a variety of services. They offer printing, packing, document finishing, and related ones.
The franchises were founded in the 1980s by the United Parcel Service (UPS) Company to compete with the USPS and can be found all over America today.
Primarily, they were founded as an alternative for customers who wanted additional services that weren’t offered by their US Postal Service carrier or other shipping companies such as FedEx, DHL, etc., but not quite ready to sign up for full package delivery service from UPS yet.
The franchises offer document finishing, which is basically scanning documents into digital files like pdfs or jpegs so people can email them rather than having to send them in an old-fashioned way.
To start this store, the franchise fee stands at $30.000 while the investment ranges from 138k to $460k.
Ready to Start Your Own?
Among all the options, which one is the most attractive for you?
If you ask us, we couldn’t resist opening a fast-food franchise. Not because we don’t like it but rather because we wouldn’t be able to resist the temptation for the food.
Let’s not talk about KFC alone! We die for its fried chicken every weekend.
Going back to the point, we encourage you to give franchising a try as long as you’re mentally prepared for what it will take.
Also, we included these franchises, but you can also do some additional research and find more opportunities, including some we have included in our franchise review category.
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