Sylvan Learning Center, which was opened in 1979 by W. Berry Fowler. The next year, the specialized learning center began to sell franchises and in 1985 the name was bought by KinderCare Learning Systems, which was eventually bought out by R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric and Douglas Becker. Sylvan provides supplemental learning including remediation, test preparation, and other customized tutoring. There are nearly 900 Sylvan locations around the world.
Start-up Cost: $179.57K - 305.59K
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 Athlete’s Foot is a chain of athletic wear retail shops specializing in footwear. The company was started in Pittsburgh in 1971 by founders David and Robert Lando. Since then, the name has grown and franchises have been developed in malls and sports centers, as well as in independent locations. Nearly 500 Athlete’s Foot locations exist all over the world.
Start-up Cost: $209.95K - 495.25K
Scott Novis founded Game Truck in Tempe, Arizona in 2006. His concept began as an idea for a personal party and quickly grew into his own business. Everybody loved Scott’s innovative new venture into the entertainment industry. By 2008, GameTruck incorporated and there are already almost 50 locations providing on-site multiplayer gaming experiences for groups and parties.
Start-up Cost: $119.5K - 304K
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
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 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 Little Gym is a unique fitness and development center designed specifically for kids. Founded in 1976 by Robin Wes, The Little Gym offers training in sports like karate and gymnastics, focusing not just on developing kids’ physical skills, but their intellectual and social skills as well. The franchise is popular worldwide, and there are around 280 Little Gym locations operating today.
Start-up Cost: $147.5K - 294K
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
The first Travelodge opened in 1940, just the next venture of already successful hotel entrepreneur Scott King. King owned and operated several popular hotels in Southern California. Travelodge continues to practice King’s concept of bringing people as close to family adventure destinations as possible. The franchise now operates as part of the Wyndham Hotel Group, along with other hotel chains like Howard Johnson, Knights Inn, and Microtel.
Start-up Cost: $189.85K - 6.37M
Tuffy started in 1970, when founder Charles Amy opened a Tuffy Muffler shop. He started franchising his concept in 1971 and soon made a wider variety of services available to customers, including transmission, brake, and tire repair. Now based in Toledo, Ohio, the Tuffy Associates group of service centers includes nearly 400 franchises in the United States.
Start-up Cost: $234K - 413.5K
A pair of high school students in Lansing, Michigan are at the heart of this successful moving company. After leaving for college, the boys’ mother found that the demand for her sons’ homegrown moving business was still there as she continued to receive requests for their services. This mother, Mary Ellen Sheets, founded Two Men and a Truck. There are now 200 franchises in the Two Men and a Truck family.
Start-up Cost: $158K - 460.91K
As their name indicates, USA Insulation is an insulation installation company in the United States. First established in 1977, the company currently consists of more than twenty separate firms, each offering sales and installation of insulation for homeowners to help them maximize the comfort and efficiency of their home.
Start-up Cost: $192K - 238.5K
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
Yogen Fruz was started in 1986 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Brothers and founders Aaron and Michael Serruya founded the company, and began selling franchises under its name in 1987. Yogen Fruz has since acquired other ice cream and frozen yogurt franchises and continued to open its own new locations. Today there are over 950 locations around the world.
Start-up Cost: $135.68K - 472.18K
German mechanic Kurt Ziebart opened the original Ziebart’s store in Detroit in 1954 after creating a method to prevent automobile body rust. In 1963, Ziebart began franchising and by 1989 had acquired a company called Tidy Car, adding its locations to his growing network. Today more than 250 Ziebart auto body shops serve customers around the world.
Start-up Cost: $167K - 326K