Jerry and Naomi Hancock opened Sub Zero Ice Cream in Orem, Utah in 2004. Jerry, a chemist, developed a method to flash-freeze ice cream using liquid nitrogen which allowed him to create fresh ice cream that is literally frozen right before customers’ eyes. As part of Five Star Franchising, Sub Zero has grown into a healthy network of franchises serving the United States.
Start-up Cost: $100.9K - 261.5K
Subway started out in 1965 as a small sub shop in Bridgeport, Connecticut called Pete’s Super Submarines. A teenage Fred DeLuca borrowed $1,000 from his friend and business partner Peter Buck to start the restaurant. Eventually, the two changed their company name to Subway and began franchising. Since then, the chain has been wildly successful, and consumers have embraced the idea of Subway’s more health conscious take on fast food. There are now almost 37,000 Subway sandwich shops across the United States and in almost 100 countries around the world.
Start-up Cost: $84.8K - 258.8K
In 1981, Kevin Blackwell devised a franchise concept for a chain of fruit smoothie shops. His model included surf-themed decor, a perfectly blended smoothie-starter mix to guarantee consistent flavor, and a commitment to attentive customer service. The Surf City concept has exploded into a franchise network well over 100-strong, with more slated to open in the near future.
Start-up Cost: $85K - 388K
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
In 1969, Jim Woodson and Harold Holmes bought a popular local taco stand in Cheyenne, Wyoming. They renamed it Taco John’s and started franchising right away, banking on their belief that the authentic Mexican recipes used by the shop’s original proprietor would be as popular everywhere else as they were in Cheyenne. The two entrepreneurs were right and Taco John’s has continued to be a popular franchise with over 400 locations.
Start-up Cost: $336K - 1.08M
The familiar chain of fast food Mexican restaurants got its start in Eugene, Oregon in 1958 when founder Ron Fraedrick set out to share the flavors he had enjoyed so much during his travels in Southern California with his friends in the Northwest. Fraedrickson’s Taco Stand was an instant sensation, selling thousands of tacos his first weekend in business. A few years later, the first Taco Time franchise was sold and the name has grown to include hundreds of locations around the globe.
Start-up Cost: $144.9K - 721.8K
Tasti D-Lite was first opened in 1987 in New York. The concept is to offer delicious ice cream that is lower in fat and calories than usual. The founders knew that consumers loved ice cream, but in such a health-conscious society, they didn’t want guilt to override the inclination to eat it. The idea was popular with New Yorkers, and would be so with customers elsewhere, too. Now there are around 60 Tasti D-Lite locations in the U.S.
Start-up Cost: $234K - 423.26K
The Great Steak & Potato group of franchised restaurants operates under the Kahala name. Other Kahala brands include Cold Stone Creamery, Blimpie, and Taco Time. The company was founded by Nicola J. Lanni in 1982, and the first store was opened in Dayton, Ohio. Now there are approximately 130 Great Steak & Potato restaurants serving the brand’s signature Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and other fare.
Start-up Cost: $153.1K - 456K
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
Haagen-Dazs ice cream was created by Reuben Mattus in 1960. Mattus already had a lifetime of experience in the business, having grown up working at his mother’s ice cream company. The Haagen-Dazs brand soon developed a loyal following. In 1976, Mattus’ daughter opened the first Haagen-Dazs Shoppe with more to follow as they moved into franchising the following year. Now more than 250 of the gourmet ice cream stores are serving customers around the United States.
Start-up Cost: $144.05K - 441.3K
The HoneyBaked Ham Co. & Cafe was founded in 1957 by entrepreneur - and inventor of the spiral slicer - Harry Hoenselaar. Franchised in 1998, the company has had much success cooking up its signature HoneyBaked ham and turkey, along with side dishes and desserts. There are about 180 locations in the U.S. HoneyBaked also offers catering for business functions, parties, and holiday meals.
Start-up Cost: $294K - 409.9K
The first Human Bean Drive-Thru was established in Ashland, Oregon in 1998 and more locations were soon to follow. By 2002, The Human Bean launched its brand into the franchising market. Since then, the chain of specialty coffee drive-through restaurants have grown to include nearly 50 locations with additional growth expected in the years to come.
Start-up Cost: $154.05K - 618K
The Melting Pot serves up lunch and dinner to customers, fondue style. The first Melting Pot opened in 1975 in Maitland, Florida. The fondue dining experience was immediately popular, and more locations began cropping up in the area. Since becoming a franchised operation in 1984, more than 140 Melting Pot restaurants have been opened in North America.
Start-up Cost: $886.7K - 1.55M
Entrepreneurs Mark Turner and Ken Smith partnered to found The Steak Escape in Columbus, Ohio in 1982. Eager to grow their company, they franchised the venture the following year. The restaurant serves steaks (of course) along with sandwiches, burgers, fries, and salads. Today, 75 Steak Escape locations are open internationally.
Start-up Cost: $130.5K - 580.2K
Togo’s first appeared on the campus of San Jose State University, where student and young entrepreneur Mike Cobler opened it as an answer to boring cafeteria food. Demand was so high for the fresh sandwiches he served that Cobler soon had to open a second store. Fast forward a couple of decades, and Togo’s franchise locations number over 250.
Start-up Cost: $257.81K - 419.8K
Villa Enterprises is collection of successful food service brands that now includes 10 separate restaurant names. There are 300 locations under the Villa company throughout the United States and in six countries. The concept originated from a pizza parlor started in New York back in 1964, and has built its success on customer satisfaction through fresh ingredients and consistent service.
Start-up Cost: $296.95K - 584K
The first VooDoo location was opened up right in New Orleans in 2002. Using a dry-rub, slow-cook technique, VooDoo created a signature taste that perfectly represented the New Orleans flavor. Four years after opening, the VooDoo name franchised and has just begun to spread its wings into the broader market.
Start-up Cost: $340.5K - 625K
Headquartered in Pasadena, California, Wetzel’s Pretzel stands sell freshly baked soft pretzels and other specialty foods from nearly 300 locations. The company was started by Bill Phelps and Rick Wetzel, both former marketing executives. The two used their business know-how to grow Wetzel’s Pretzels into the well-known chain it is today.
Start-up Cost: $156.3K - 369.95K
Jeff Sinelli started Which Wich in 2003 after having owned and operated another successful restaurant. Sinelli’s concept includes made-to-order sandwiches, and a unique atmosphere with non-traditional order-taking techniques (customers use markers to customize their sandwich order on paper bags printed with menus) Which Wich franchised in 2005 and now the number of locations has reached nearly 150.
Start-up Cost: $195K - 488.75K
In 1994, inspired by the growing popularity of buffalo wing restaurants, Antonio Swad established the original Wingstop restaurant in Garland, Texas. Four years later, he was ready to start selling franchises and soon this made-to-order chicken was a favorite of customers all over the United States and elsewhere. More than 600 Wingstops are now in existence.
Start-up Cost: $263.55K - 616.95K