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Entrepreneur Magazine's 39th Annual Franchise 500® Released

McDonald's and its Golden Arches Reclaim Number One Spot After 17 Years (January 11, 2018)

IRVINE, Calif., Jan. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Entrepreneur magazine has unveiled its 39th annual Franchise 500®, ranking McDonald's as number one for the first time since 2000. The Golden Arches' fortunes have turned thanks to CEO Steve Easterbrook's vision for reimagining the brand as an "experience of the future," by continuing to invest in technology like touch-screen ordering kiosks, responding to customers' clamor for all-day-breakfast and more value items, and accelerating the conversion of thousands of company-owned units into franchises.

Last year's number one company, 7-Eleven, came in at number two this year, followed by Dunkin' Donuts, The UPS Store, and Sonic Drive-In Restaurants to round out the top five.

This year's ranking was one of the most competitive ever, with 1,023 companies vying for a spot in the top 500—the first time applications have surpassed the 1,000 mark in 25 years. The ranked companies added a net total of 24,899 franchises from mid-2016 to mid-2017, a 5.6 percent increase and more than 60 percent of that growth was outside the U.S.—evidence of the unlimited potential of franchising, both domestically and abroad.

The range of applicants this year also demonstrates that more and more new companies are looking to franchising as a sustainable way to grow their brands. Almost 22 percent of the companies that submitted started franchising just in the past five years. Twenty-one of those newcomers ranked in the top 500. The highest ranked, at number 18, is electronics repair brand uBreakiFix. The youngest is Lendio, which began offering small-business-lending franchises in 2016 and is ranked number 201.

"This year's ranking features both up-and-coming trends and savvy stalwarts that have thrived for decades thanks to their ability to evolve with the times—and we are proud to highlight and celebrate them all," says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur. "Our results show that the industry is strong—and that the strongest franchisors are those who've learned to balance between innovating to attract new customers and remaining reliable enough to keep the old ones happy."

In Entrepreneur's continuing effort to best understand and evaluate the ever-changing franchise marketplace, the company's 39-year-old ranking formula continues to evolve as well.  The key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order.

In addition to the ranking, Entrepreneur's annual Franchise 500® issue dives into the inner workings of the top 10 companies, including an extensive profile of McDonald's in the number-one spot. Other franchise-related stories packed into the issue include advice from the hosts of top franchise podcasts, an in-depth look at the rising poke craze and its possible pitfalls, and a feature on how franchises are serving the "sandwich generation" of people juggling aging parents, young children, and full-time jobs.

To view the full ranking and any of these related stories, pick up a copy of the January/February 2018 issue of Entrepreneur magazine on newsstands on January 16, or visit

For more than 40 years, Entrepreneur Media Inc. has been serving the entrepreneurial community providing comprehensive coverage of business and personal success through original content and events. Entrepreneur magazine,, and publishing imprint Entrepreneur Press provide solutions, information, inspiration and education read by millions of entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide.

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