The rankings are in and Entrepreneur's 31st Annual Franchise 500 is out, with Subway taking the No. 1 spot. 
 
While Subway leads, big pizza chains made a healthy showing in the magazine's top 100, including Pizza Hut (No. 7), Papa John's (No. 10), Domino's (41), Papa Murphy's (No. 51), CiCi's (No. 90) and Hungry Howie's (No. 93).
 
Together, the 500 franchises on the ranking added more than 12,000 units, or 2.9 percent above 2008's numbers, proving the growth of franchises as a whole, recession or not. Not that it hasn't been a tough year; growth is still down from the 4.7 percent seen the year before. The franchises that grew the most were the ones who served a budget-minded consumer, didn't cost as much to set up, or both. Take Subway, which, with its $5 Footlong offer, started a chain reaction among countless sandwich and fast-food franchises to bring out similar $5 programs — including Domino's.
 
"What we've been recognizing for some time is now getting widespread recognition: that the recession is adding momentum to the pursuit of entrepreneurship and self-employment," said Amy Cosper, vice president and editor-in-chief at Entrepreneur. "For the growing numbers seeking business ownership opportunities, franchising can offer advantages like having established products or services; marketing, start-up and management assistance; proven systems and business models; and brand name recognition. All this can add up to better odds for success. For anyone considering pursuing this path, the Franchise 500 is a great place to get started."
 
The January issue containing the ranking is a complete reference guide for established and aspiring entrepreneurs, revealing not only the companies who made the list according to their industry categories, but also top franchise trends for 2010, a look at 10 great franchises for less than $20,000, sources for financing, what 2010 will hold for franchises as a whole and much more.
 
The rankings for all 500 companies are determined using an exclusive formula that takes into account objective and quantifiable factors. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. All franchises are given a cumulative score, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.
 
Click here to view the full ranking.

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Jack Simpson
    111439337
    It's impressive to see so many pizza franchises in the top 100 of this list. If you want to start your own franchise check out http://www.franchiseexpo.com for a complete franchise directory.
  • Trent Fierro
    108861500
    How many of the really large pizza franchise's before people tire of the mediocre quality? There's choice, but it's suspect.
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