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How we chose our 'Zors

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 kids 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 selecting brands that are actively 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, 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: Lastly, we compiled the results of the online voting conducted from mid-December to mid-January to reflect public 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 Sponsor

'Zor Awards 10 Categories

Smart Kids
Top education franchises

Finalists: Abrakadoodle, Engineering for Kids, LearningRx, Mad Science

Chicken Coop
Top chicken restaurants

Finalists: Bojangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits, Church’s Chicken, Pollo Campero, Zaxby's

Top moving franchises

Finalists: 1-800-GOT-JUNK, Caring Transitions, College Hunks Hauling Junk, Junk King

Express Yourself
Top clothing retailers

Finalists: Kid to Kid, Clothes Mentor, Plato’s Closet, Uptown Cheapskate

Wakey, Wakey
Top breakfast restaurants

Finalists: Another Broken Egg Cafe, Denny’s, Huddle House, Village Inn

Healthy Lunch
Top healthy restaurants

Finalists: Nekter Juice Bar, Pita Pit, Saladworks, Tropical Smoothie Café

Courtside Seats
Top high-investment franchises

Finalists: Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, Golden Corral, Hilton, Ruth’s Chris

Celebrity Brands
Top celebrity-backed franchises

Finalists: Rock & Brews, Walk-On's, Wingstop, UFC Gym

Cheat-day Lunch
Top fast-food franchises

Finalists: Cicis Pizza, Dickey's BBQ, Hardees, Taco Bell

Booze Crew
Top cocktail and beer franchises

Finalists: Bar Louie, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom, The Brass Tap, Bar Louie

'Zor Awards Introduction

3 ways to choose a franchise
The Introspective Mode
The Investigative Mode
The Reality Check

Online Voting


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