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Franchise Times Zor Awards

Which franchise is best for you? We’ve got 10 top picks


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Three models plus our adorable spokesdog strike a pose to help readers imagine what kind of franchisee they’d like to be. Left to right: Jeff Amann embodies a corporate refugee, Liz Olson poses as a healthcare operator and Xavier Brantley-Schauls wrangles Norman (whose parent is FT’s Tom Kaiser) as a pet-care franchisee. See more on our “types” throughout this package.

Photos by Wayne Davis Photography

For your consideration

What’s the best franchise to buy? At Franchise Times, we get that question over and over. We usually mumble, “it depends,” which isn’t a very satisfying answer. So we created the Franchise Times Zor Awards, our new project to identify a top pick in each of 10 popular categories, which we will present each year in March.

The idea is to introduce prospective franchisees to a few favored categories based on their individual preferences and style, and then show them how to make a selection within those categories using a hardheaded business mindset. We rounded out the package by interviewing top-performing franchisees in each winning brand, to present their best advice to prospects like you. (See below for details.)

We believe the annual Franchise Times Zor Awards will help guide every prospective franchisee in the search for a profitable, on-trend franchise—and provide us with a succinct answer when the inevitable question is posed. Enjoy the journey to find the right fit.


Franchise Times Zor Awards

Introduction/Methodology
For your consideration
How we chose the Zor Awards

The Zor Awards
Fast-Casual Pizza
Dog Vs. Cat People
Cheap Seats
Hands On
Feel Like a Kid Again
Drive-Thru Classics
Better Burgers
Personal Wellness
Fixer Upper
New Wave Medical

Types of Zees
Healthcare Pro
Pet-Care Operators
Corporate Refugee
The Superdog

How we chose the Zor Awards

Step 1: We started by selecting 10 industry categories, which were chosen to be popular and attractive to different types of franchisees (for example, those who like a “hands-on” challenge, or those who want an inexpensive investment), We will change these categories each year.

Step 2: We identified initial contenders for each category, all drawn from brands in the Franchise Times Top 200+ database, which is a 20-year-old research tool covering more than 650 U.S.-based franchise systems. We narrowed the list further by removing brands that did not provide Item 19 (which contains information about profitability for franchisees) or other key financial data, and also brands that are not currently expanding inside the United States.

Step 3: Our research team examined six financial metrics in each brand’s franchise disclosure documents, with a focus on profitability for the franchisee (not top-line sales as other projects highlight).Narrowing the categories to the final four was a matter of the quality of that financial information disclosed, as well as editorial research that included knowledge of management teams, product or service offerings, unit openings and closings, financial backing of the brand, litigation, etc.

Step 4: To come up with the winners, we then did a much deeper dive into the finalist FDDs and publicly available financial metrics that forms one strongly weighted pillar of our three-part scoring process. Next, our editorial team talked to experts in franchising, reviewed our own coverage of these brands, and looked at every analyst report, recent financial performance and outside press articles that we could find to form the second heavily weighted component of the ranking.

Step 5: Lastly, we compiled the results of the online voting conducted from mid-December to mid-January to reflect industry enthusiasm, and used this third metric as a tiebreaker.

Step 6: We then declared a winner in each category and conducted interviews with a few top-performing franchisees in each brand to share best advice and lessons learned.


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