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How we chose the Zor Awards

STEP 1: We started by selecting 10 new industry categories, which were chosen to be popular and attractive to different types of franchisees (for example, those who like working with seniors or running a healthy restaurant). We change these categories each year.

STEP 2: We identified initial contenders for each category, drawn from the Franchise Times Top 200+ database, which is a 20-year-old research tool covering more than 650 U.S.-based franchise systems. We further narrowed the list by analyzing the quality of information in each brand’s Item 19 (which contains information about profitability for franchisees) or other key financial data, and also focusing on brands that are currently expanding inside the United States.

STEP 3: Our research team examined six financial metrics in each brand’s franchise disclosure document, with a focus on profitability for the franchisee. Narrowing the categories to the final four was a matter of the quality of that financial information disclosed, an exclusive calculation of return on investment, as well as editorial research including 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 deeper dive into the finalist FDDs and publicly available financial metrics, forming 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 analyst reports, recent financial performance and outside press articles to form the second heavily weighted component of the ranking.

STEP 5: We compiled the results of the online voting conducted in December 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.

ApplePie Capital

'Zor Awards 10 Categories

New Ethnic Eats

Finalists: Teriyaki Madness, HuHot Mongolian Grill, The Flame Broiler, Vitality Bowls

Regional Pizza

Finalists: Donatos Pizza, Hungry Howie’s Pizza, Marco’s Pizza, Toppers Pizza

Between Two Buns

Finalists: Charley’s Grilled Subs, Cousins Subs, Erbert & Gerbert’s, Firehouse Subs

Home Away From Home

Finalists: Days Inn, Econolodge,Studio 6, Super 8

Pamper Me

Finalists: Amazing Lash Studio, Elements Massage, My Salon Suite, Sport Clips

Older But Wiser

Finalists: Brightstar Care, Comforcare, Right at Home, Senior Helpers

The Fast Lane

Finalists: Big O Tires, Carstar, Christian Brothers Automotive, Valvoline Instant Oil Change

South of the Border

Finalists: Costa Vida, Del Taco, Moe’s Southwest Grill, Taco John’s


Office Space

Finalists: AdvantaClean, Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning, PuroClean, Stratus Building Solutions

Snacks & Treats

Finalists: Bahama Buck’s, Smoothie King, Philly Pretzel Factory, Dunkin’ Donuts

'Zor Awards Introduction

Fans cast thousands of Zor Awards votes

How we chose the Zor Awards

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