Fuzziwig’s started in 1995, founded by a group of business people who were experienced in the retail candy business. The shops used creative marketing, merchandising, and other tricks of the trade to propel Fuzziwigs into immediate success. Now over 50 Fuzziwig’s locations offer a dazzling array of bulk candy to customers.
Start-up Cost: $179K - 348.35K
Genghis Grill was founded by Jeff Sinelli in 1998. Sinelli purchased an existing Mongolian restaurant and tweaked concept a bit to appeal more to American diners. Customers loved the Mongolian stir-fry idea, and Sinelli decided to open his company up to franchising in 2001. Now 71 Genghis Grills are frying in the United States.
Start-up Cost: $320K - 643K
Gigi’s was founded in Nashville by Gigi Butler. Butler had been given the idea by her brother who suggested she open a shop selling her cupcakes, which he believed to be better than the ones he waited in long lines to get in New York. She took him seriously, and after some bold risk-taking along with careful planning and hard work, she opened her first Gigi’s Cupcakes. Success happened rather quickly and she formed a franchise model in 2008. Already, there are about 45 Gigi’s locations serving Butler’s own family cupcake recipe.
Start-up Cost: $178K - 268K
In 1935, David Shakarian was a Pittsburgh retailer operating a small shop, called Lackzoom, that sold mostly yogurt and a few other health-conscious foods. Shakarian saw a demand for healthy food products as the general public became more concerned with health and longevity. He expanded his initial operation to six area stores, eventually spreading to several states and changing his company’s name to General Nutrition Centers (GNC). The brand’s main focus is now vitamins and supplements. Franchised since 1988, GNC has its own line of products and are a leading name in sports nutrition.
Start-up Cost: $160.15K - 274.35K
Golden Chick was founded in 1967 in San Marcos, Texas by entrepreneur Howard Walker. He called his restaurant Golden Fried Chicken and served fried chicken and fixings to area customers. In 1972, Golden Fried Chicken became a franchise and continued to spread through the U.S. In 1996, as part of a corporate overhaul, the restaurant was renamed Golden Chick. Nearly 100 of the fast fried chicken restaurants are open today.
Start-up Cost: $634.6K - 1.21M
Fayetteville, Indiana is where the first Golden Corral restaurant opened its doors to serve steakhouse fare in 1973. In the 1980’s, the Golden Corral brand took a new turn and introduced the buffet for which it would become known. In 1987, the restaurant ventured into franchising and steadily grew into the nearly 500 locations that now belong to the buffet and grill dining chain.
Start-up Cost: $1.95M - 6.76M
Golden Krust was started by Lowell Hawthorne in 1989 in the Bronx, New York. By 1996, Hawthorne was running 10 very successful restaurants serving Caribbean-style cuisine around New York and New Jersey. At that point, he took the Golden Krust name to the next level. A franchise model was crafted and before long, Golden Krust locations were popping up in surrounding areas. Today, the dining chain has grown to include over 114 restaurants.
Start-up Cost: $173.4K - 564K
In 1976 husband and wife Pete & Laura Wakeman bought a bakery in Great Falls, Montana and renamed it the Great Harvest Bread Company. The Wakemans drew on Pete’s lifetime of experience baking bread to turn the store into a local favorite. By 1978, they had decided to start selling franchises, and today there are more than 200 Great Harvest locations in the United States, baking artisan varieties of bread daily.
Start-up Cost: $121.62K - 569.25K
Great Wraps was started to give diners an alternative to burgers and fries. The menu features more healthful options like subs, wraps, smoothies, and salads. Customers are allowed to customize their meals with little limitation; menu items can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Around 75 Great Wraps locations are open today, all operating on the same model of extreme customer service and fun fast food alternatives.
Start-up Cost: $132.45K - 348.95K
It was 1960 when Wilber Hardee opened his first hamburger shop in Greenville, North Carolina. In less than a year, he had sold his first franchise. Ten years later, Hardee’s added freshly made biscuits to its menu. This somewhat unusual move proved to be a smart one, and Hardee’s is still known for its “Made from Scratch” biscuits. The Hardee’s brand was acquired by CKE Restaurants, Inc. (their other brands include Carl’s Jr.) and has continued to operate successfully throughout the United States and abroad.
Start-up Cost: $1.09M - 1.58M
Hot Stuff Foods is a conglomeration of independently owned, franchised operations. Franchisees supply convenience stores and concession stands with pre-packaged food items for customers on-the-go. This low cost, high-profit sector of the convenience foods market is popular with entrepreneurs and nearly 900 Hot Stuff franchises exist today.
Start-up Cost: $58.5K - 133K
Howard Johnson first started in 1928 as a small ice cream shop opened by founder Howard Deering Johnson. The Quincy, Massachusetts shop blossomed into a full-blown restaurant and by 1935, Johnson had opened two more locations in the area. Johnson then franchised his restaurant, which grew exponentially, totaling more than 400 locations by 1954. That’s when the Howard Johnson brand extended into the hotel industry, which it is most known for today.
Start-up Cost: $189.57K - 7.33M
The Vap family opened HuHot Mongolian Grill in Missoula, Montana in 1999. The Vaps always envisioned expanding their concept, after gaining valuable experience as franchisees of a popular pizza chain. By 2002, the first HuHot franchise had been awarded and the chain has grown to nearly 40 locations in the Western United States.
Start-up Cost: $782K - 982K
Hungry Howie’s is the result of a partnership between Steven Jackson and James Hearn. In 1973, James Hearn purchased a hamburger shop and turned it into a pizza parlor. Jackson was his delivery driver. The two put their heads together and took the sub shop to the next level, turning it into a franchise in 1982. There are now over 500 Hungry Howie’s locations in more than 20 states.
Start-up Cost: $225.1K - 358K
Ft. Pierce, Florida was home to the first Hurricane Grill & Wings restaurant, opened there in 1995. Hurricane quickly became known for its chicken wings, which it offers in more than 30 different flavors. Part of the Hurricane model is using high-quality ingredients and being ecologically conscious (used cooking oil is recycled for use as bio-diesel fuel).
Start-up Cost: $296.5K - 847K
It was 1956 in Point Pleasant, New Jersey when the first Jersey Mike’s location was opened. Peter Cancro started working at the sub shop, which was then called Mike’s Subs, when he was 14 years old. Three years later, with backing from his high school football coach (who was also a banker), Cancro bought the restaurant from its original owner. He opened up a couple more locations along the Jersey Shore over the next ten years, which were just as popular as the first. By 1987, Peter was ready to sell franchises and the company’s name was officially changed to Jersey Mike’s. Now, more than 600 of these shops exist around the United States.
Start-up Cost: $161.64K - 418.35K
The first Jet’s was opened in 1978 in Sterling Heights, Michigan by brothers John and Eugene Jetts. Jet’s serves up submarine sandwiches, wings, salads, and more. The item they are most known for, though, is their deep dish pizza. More than 200 locations are still serving the Jetts brothers’ special recipe, using high quality ingredients and old-fashioned methods.
Start-up Cost: $365K - 425K
Jimmy John’s was founded in 1983 in Charleston, Illinois by a 19-year-old named James J. Liautaud. His original operation was very small, but word spread quickly through the college town and patrons came from miles around for Jimmy John’s fresh sandwiches. Over the next ten years, Liautaud added more sandwiches to his menu and developed a formula for re-creating his unique sandwiches with lightning speed. He began offering franchises in 1993. 2,200 Jimmy John’s restaurants now dot the map in 40 states across the U.S.
Start-up Cost: $305.5K - 485.5K
Kentucky Fried Chicken’s humble beginning dates back to 1930, when Harland Sanders opened a small kitchen in the front part of a gas station in Corbin, Kentucky. Sanders’ chicken was so popular that he was named a Kentucky Colonel in 1936. He kept his now-famous moniker, Colonel Sanders, as he continued to build upon his success. The company began selling franchises in 1952 and today there are KFC restaurants in over 80 countries, all serving up Sanders’ signature recipes.
Start-up Cost: $1.31M - 2.47M