Following a year of significant achievements, Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, SONIC Drive-In and Jimmy John’s were once again featured in the Entrepreneur 2020 Franchise 500 ranking of America’s strongest franchises. Entrepreneur evaluated and ranked each of the brands based on brand strength, size and growth, support, franchising cost and fees and financial strength and stability.
Arby’s ranked in the top 25 after achieving its ninth consecutive year of Average Unit Volume growth and opening more than 90 new restaurants globally in 2019. The brand also issued a bold response to the industry’s trend toward plant-based proteins by bolstering its commitment to serving 100 percent real meat and introducing the first meat-based vegetable, the Marrot.
Buffalo Wild Wings was named to the Franchise 500 ranking for the second consecutive year as it continued to drive positive momentum throughout 2019. The sports bar announced a partnership with MGM Resorts International and its sports betting arm, Roar Digital — the first-of-its-kind alignment between a national sports bar and a gaming leader. Buffalo Wild Wings also embarked on a complete overhaul of its menu, introducing a fresh, never frozen burger platform, classic cocktails, new boneless wings and the most ambitious platform the restaurant introduced: hand-breaded chicken.
SONIC ranked fourth overall, propelled by continued innovation around its personalized guest experience and the rapid growth of the Mobile Order Ahead platform. The brand achieved its highest ever Average Unit Volume in 2019, driven by a combination of traffic and check growth. SONIC also delighted guests with high-quality innovation at an accessible price point, debuting items that included Oreo® A La Mode, Cake Batter Shakes and the Red Bull Slush.
Jimmy John’s landed in the top 25 after joining Inspire Brands earlier in the year. To kick off 2019, the brand declared only Jimmy John’s would deliver its gourmet sandwiches. Jimmy John’s backed up its commitment to high standards in delivery by awarding one superfan a home inside a Jimmy John’s delivery zone and ended the year by successfully rolling out its Freaky Fast rewards program nationwide. Jimmy John’s also debuted the $3 Little John, a skinny mini version of any Original sandwich.
More than 1,000 companies applied for this year’s ranking, according to Entrepreneur. To see the full list of the Franchise 500, click here.