Microtel was the first of any major hotel chain to offer long distance phone service and complimentary internet access to its guests, both of which are now standard in the lodging industry. The first Microtel was opened in 1988 in Rochester, New York and the franchise is now 300 locations strong.
Start-up Cost: $4.81M - 7.18M
The Motel 6 lodging franchise originated in Santa Barbara, California where the first one was opened up in 1965 by founders Paul Greene and William Becker. The name comes from the original nightly rate of six dollars. Former building contractors who worked predominantly in low-income housing projects, the two were able to apply their knowledge of economical building practices to build their budget motels. It was a pared-down, simplified option for travelers. Basic lodging, without the bells and whistles, for a very low price. There are more than 1,000 Motel 6 locations in the United States and Canada.
Start-up Cost: $2.43M - 3.18M
The Mr. Clean company, already known the world over for its line of top-selling household cleaning products, expanded its market reach and started Mr. Clean Carwash in 2008. The company sells franchises to investors, who then operate the full-service car washes. Services include everything from detailing to oil changes. So far, around 16 Mr. Clean Carwash locations have opened in the U.S.
Start-up Cost: $2.32M - 3.18M
Radisson is an international chain of hotels, most of which are independently owned and operated by franchisees. Radisson, originally founded in 1962, is a member of the Carlton Rezidor group of hotels. Carlton Rezidor includes other franchised hotel chains like Country Inns & Suites, Hotel Missoni, and Park Plaza.
Start-up Cost: $2.95M - 7.31M
In 1973, builder James Trueman opened the first Red Roof Inn in Columbus, Ohio. Trueman’s concept of providing great value for travelers (on opening day, rooms were around $8.00 per night) caught on. Red Roof has over 300 locations around the country, serving millions of customers and employing thousands.
Start-up Cost: $3.75M - 4.95M
Troy N. Smith, Sr. opened the first of what would become the Sonic chain of drive-ins in 1953 in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Three years later, a businessman named Charles Woodrow Pappe stopped in to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Pappe was impressed with the diner’s use of radios and carhops and proposed a partnership to Smith. The two joined forces and started opening up more locations, officially changing the name of their venture to Sonic in 1959. Currently, more than 3,500 Sonic Drive Ins serve burgers, fries, and shakes to customers in locations all over the United States.
Start-up Cost: $1.1M - 3.05M
Studio 6 was opened by Motel 6 in 1998 with a focus on accommodating extended-stay lodgers. Studio 6 rooms are equipped with full kitchens and office areas for business travelers, and the company aims to create a homelike atmosphere for its guests. There are now over 60 Studio 6 Extended Stay hotels in the United States and Canada.
Start-up Cost: $3.84M - 4.72M
Founder Glen Bell opened the first Taco Bell restaurant in 1962 in Downey, California after selling his stake in a previous taco franchise to his partners. By the time two years had passed, Bell had started selling franchises. The Taco Bell brand soared into success with its fast Tex-Mex cuisine, and today over 5,800 locations are in operation worldwide. Today, Taco Bell is owned by Yum! Brands, which also owns the KFC, A&W, Long John Silver’s, and Pizza Hut brands.
Start-up Cost: $1.32M - 2.47M
Greene Turtle is a combination sports bar and casual family dining establishment. Locations have flat-screen TVs broadcasting all of the important games and sporting events, and customers can choose to sit at family-friendly booths or belly up to the bar. The fare is American pub style, with plenty of burgers and beer. The company was founded in 1976, and began franchising in 2003. Since then, the business has steadily grown with locations now numbering almost 30.
Start-up Cost: $1.18M - 1.61M
Jack DeBoer, a hotel industry magnate, founded Value Place in 2003. He opened the first location in Wichita, Kansas. The Value Place concept includes providing longer-term lodging with comfortable apartment-style suites and offering amenities like full kitchens and on-site laundry facilities. Today, 175 Value Place extended-stay hotels are open in the U.S.
Start-up Cost: $3.32M - 4.86M
This hotel chain started as Wingate Inn in 1996. In 2007, it became a part of the Wyndham family of hotels, alongside names like Ramada Worldwide, Microtel, and Knights Inn. Wingate specializes in accommodating leisure and business travelers alike, providing complimentary breakfast buffets at every location, available conference rooms, internet service, and more to each guest. The number of Wingate franchises is now at more than 150 locations and counting.
Start-up Cost: $5.84M - 7.67M