Trying on 10 franchises for size, in our exclusive Zor Awards project

Franchising can be daunting for first-timers considering making an investment to go into business "for themselves, but not by themselves" as the popular mantra goes. There are thousands of brands to choose from in an ever-expanding array of categories, and most do a great job highlighting the best-case scenario for prospective franchisees. That makes choosing a franchise—and deciding which hat you will wear as an entrepreneur, as our photo shoot illustrates—a difficult task.

The second annual Franchise Times Zor Awards project is designed to cut through the marketing speak and narrow down the choices by providing a top pick and three runners-up in each of 10 popular categories. We focus on return on investment in this project, meaning profitability for the operator rather than top-line sales as other projects do.

Prospective franchisees can delve into a few on-trend categories based on their individual preferences and style, and then read advice on how to make a selection within those categories using a hard-headed business mindset. We round out the package by interviewing top-performing franchisees from each winning brand to present their best advice to prospects like you.

As a bonus, we present three sidebars featuring our model, Stacy Burger, who struck a wicked pose or two or three for photographer Josh Stokes. In those sidebars, we detail a different aspect of exploring franchising—the introspection mode, the investigative mode and the reality-check mode. (See page 39 for details on our methodology.)

Our annual Zor Awards project is here to help every prospective franchisee in their search for a profitable, popular franchise—and reduce fear of the unknown for beginners who dream of being in charge of their own destiny. Happy shopping.


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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