The Top 5 Franchises of 2021 From the Entrepreneur Franchise 500

  • Entrepreneur Franchise 500 list rank: 2 (No. 1 in 2020)
  • Started franchising: 1955
  • Total units: 13,125 (+775 in the past three years)
  • Initial franchise fee: $199,700 to $1,688,200

Dunkin’ made headlines last year by dropping the word Donuts from its name, reflecting a beverage-centric pivot that helped the company earn its first No. 1 ranking in our Franchise 500, despite having already earned the No. 2 ranking in three different decades. With its place here in 2021, that adds another decade to the tally.

The key was another re-invention. 

“The two biggest things our customers are asking for are: Make me feel safe, and give me access to your brand on my terms,” Scott Murphy, president of Dunkin’ Americas, told Stephanie Schomer for the magazine.

Dunkin’ accommodated by leaning on mobile orders and delivery options. Within weeks of the pandemic beginning, it made curbside pickup available at more than 1,000 U.S. stores. And although the company did have to shutter 800 locations this year, that represented just 10 percent of its overall stores.

Related: 5 Low-Cost Franchises You Can Start for as Little as $4,000

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