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As the pre-eminent publisher of nine books on franchising, Source Book Publications is constantly asked "What are the best franchises?" Since there are over 2,300 active North American franchise systems, there clearly is no simple answer. This is especially true given the individual needs, experience and financial wherewithal of a widely divergent pool of prospective franchisees.
To at least partially answer the question, however, our staff has broken the franchising industry into three major categories -- food-service, retail and service-based franchises. Within each group, a rigorous, in-depth analysis was performed on literally hundreds of proven franchise systems to arrive at what we feel are the top 100 franchises. Companies were evaluated on the basis of historical performance, brand identification, market dynamics, franchisee satisfaction, the level of initial training and on-going support, financial stability and various other key factors.
The end result of evaluating over 500 franchise systems is Bond's Top 100 Franchises. Many of the companies selected are household names (Blimpie, Century 21, Dunkin' Donuts, GNC, Jackson Hewitt, ServiceMaster Clean). Others are rapidly growing, mid-sized firms (Aaron's, Kumon, Long John Silver's, Merry Maids) that are also strong national players. Still others are somewhat smaller systems that demonstrate sound concepts, exceptional management and an aggressive expansion system (Carvel, Children's Orchard, FISH Window Cleaning, Red Roof Inns, Wing Zone). Unlike other publications that tout the "Best Franchises," there was absolutely no favoritism (usually a function of advertising dollars) shown to any franchise during the selection process.
The evaluation process is only the first of several critical and time-consuming steps toward ultimately owning your own franchise. We encourage you to look over the 100 exceptional companies listed in this book before making any final decision on a system that you will be married to for the next 10 or so years. The few hours you spend here could well mean the difference between a marginal and an exceptional investment decision. Do your homework!
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Robert Bond is the leading authority on the exceedingly complex franchise selection process. His previous publications on franchising include Bond’s Franchise Guide (15 Editions), "How Much Can I Make?" (4 Editions), Bond’s Top 100 Franchises, Franchise Opportunities Handbook (prepared for the U.S. Department of Commerce), Franchising: The Bottom Line, the Top 50 Franchise Series, Bond’s Minority Franchise Guide (2 Editions) and the International Herald Tribune International Franchise Guide (2 Editions). Several other industry-related publications are in process. Since receiving his MBA from Stanford University, Bond has over 29 years of diversified business experience and an extraordinary record of achievements. He has spent much of the past 17 years focusing on the franchising industry. As an author, lecturer and consultant, he is regarded as one of the industry’s most knowledgeable and widely-quoted spokespersons.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Sample Top 100 Write-Up:
The Carvel "experience" has a long history of expertise, unique marketing and industry revolutions. By combining the highest quality, freshest milks, creams and butterfat, in-store, every day, Carvel makes the "creamiest" ice cream on the market and maintains itself as the fourth largest ice cream chain in the United States. The company, however, has no intention of settling for number four. Supplying the number one comfort food for men and women, the ice cream industry has experienced the highest growth of any food industry since 1999 and is consumed by 95% of American households.
Since its debut in Hartsdale, New York, Carvel has been at the forefront of the ice cream industry. Founded in 1934 by the inventor of the ice cream cake, Carvel was one of the very first ice cream chains and, in 1947, it became the first franchise in the ice cream industry. In addition, Carvel was the first to market soft ice cream and uniquely shaped specialty character cakes, such as the legendary Fudgie the Whale. The Carvel brand has been behind the introduction of more than 300 trademarks, copyrights, registrations and designs and is even featured in the American History Museum at the Smithsonian Institute.
Carvel maintains two franchising concepts: the ice cream store, which can stand alone or be placed in a strip center and offers a full menu of products including cakes and soft and hard ice cream; and the Carvel express, which primarily appears in co-branded and limited square footage locations and offers a reduced menu of products. The fee for an ice cream store is $25,000, while the fee for an express store is $15,000.
Carvel franchisees pay royalties equaling $1.74 and advertising fees equaling $1.53 per liquid gallon of mix purchased. Royalties and advertising contributions must equal an annual minimum of $11,310 and $9,945 respectively.
What You Get—Training and Support
Carvel franchisees attend a two-week ice cream training school.Support includes site and market evaluation and selection assistance, a field support team, a development network of real estate brokers, architects, lenders and contractors, quality assurance review and a toll-free franchise resource support hotline.
Carvel does not grant exclusive territories.
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