10. Sonic

Image credit: Sonic | Facebook

Year began: 1953

Franchising since: 1959

Number of franchised units in 2015: 3,127

Startup costs: $1.1M – $1.97M

Fun fact: Sonic restaurants were almost named “Top Hat,” but that name was already trademarked. Since the slogan for the company was “Service at the speed of sound,” they renamed the venture Sonic.

9. Papa Murphy’s

Image credit: Papa Murphy’s | Facebook

Year began: 1981

Franchising since: 1982

Number of franchised units in 2015: 1,369

Startup costs: $264.8K – $446.2K

Fun fact: Papa Murphy’s got it’s name because in 1995, Terry Collins decided to merge the two pizza chains he’d previously acquired — Papa Aldo’s Pizza, based in Oregon and Murphy’s Pizza, based in California.

8. Taco Bell

Image credit: Taco Bell | Facebook

Year began: 1962

Franchising since: 1964

Number of franchised units in 2015: 5,272

Startup costs: $1.2M – $2.6M

Fun fact: This past November, the building that housed the first Taco Bell was transported from its birthplace in Downey, Calif., to Taco Bell headquarters in Irvine, Calif. — a 45-mile road trip.

7. Jack in the Box

Image credit: Jack in the box | Facebook

Year began: 1951

Franchising since: 1982

Number of franchised units in 2015: 1,818

Startup costs: $1.3M – $2.4M

Fun fact: Jack in the Box was early to the bacon mashup trend, offering a bacon milkshake back in 2012.

6. Hardee’s

Image credit: Hardee’s | Facebook

Year began: 1961

Franchising since: 1962

Number of franchised units in 2015: 1,894

Startup costs: $1.3M – $1.9M

Fun fact: Hardee’s began franchising internationally in the 1970s, starting in Australia and what was then West Germany.

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5. Pizza Hut

Image credit: Pizza Hut | Facebook

Year began: 1958

Franchising since: 1959

Number of franchised units in 2015: 13,248

Startup costs: $297K – $2.1M

Fun fact: In 2015, Pizza Hut’s longest-running restaurant closed its doors. It was 55.

4. Dunkin Donuts

Image credit: Dunkin Donuts | Facebook

Year began: 1950

Franchising since: 1955

Number of franchised units in 2015: 11,460

Startup costs: $217.3K – $1.6M

Fun fact: The coffee excellence manager at Dunkin Donuts tastes an average of 200 cups of coffee a day.

3. McDonald’s

Image credit: McDonald’s | Facebook

Year began: 1955

Franchising since: 1955

Number of franchised units in 2015: 29,712

Startup costs: $989.4K – $2.2M

Fun fact: McDonald’s, which has struggled to keep up with customers’ demands for healthier, quality food, scored a win when it introduced all-day breakfast in 2015.

2. Subway

Image credit: Subway | Facebook

Year began: 1965

Franchising since: 1974

Number of franchised units in 2015: 43,916

Startup costs: $116.6 K – $263.2 K

Fun fact: Subway announced in June 2015 that it would begin eliminating artifical colors, flavors and preservatives from its menu over the next 18 months.

1. Jimmy John’s

Image credit: Jimmy John’s | Facebook

Year began: 1983

Franchising since: 1993

Number of franchised units in 2015: 2,238

Startup costs: $323 K – $544 K

Fun fact: Jimmy John’s is the highest-ranked franchise among the entire Franchise 500 for 2016, climbing from the number six slot in 2015. The company’s founder, Jimmy John Liautaud, started out by handing out free sandwiches to college students in Mattoon, Ill., in the 1980s.

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