The Hottest Franchise Categories of 2020


Get to know 347 franchises in trend-topping industries that will continue to boom next year (and likely beyond).

November
18, 2019

15+ min read

This story appears in the
December 2019

issue of
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Here at Entrepreneur, we’ve been covering the franchise industry for more than 40 years — and making predictions about it for just as long. Way back in March 1980, our very first Franchise 500 issue included a story titled “Franchising: Ready for the Eighties,” which sought to offer “an incisive look at trends to watch in the Eighties… and predict the shape of franchising to come.” Now we continue the tradition set by that article with our annual list looking at the franchise categories we expect to do best in the year ahead.

If you can find a copy of that 1980 article, you’ll see some similarities between its predictions and ours. In 1980, we dubbed Mexican food “the brightest star in the fast-food heaven.” Now that the category has expanded beyond fast food to fast-casual and full-service franchises, we think it has even more potential. The 1980 story touted “tremendous growth in limited-item snack shops,” though it pointed to cookies and ice cream as examples, while we see potential in healthier snacks like acai bowls and juices today. And then there’s this: “We expect recreation and leisure time activities to be a fertile area for franchising in the 1980s.” We feel the same way about the 2020s… though the big recreation trend we went on to predict back then — disco roller rinks — is, sadly, nowhere to be found on our list today. We’ve also got childcare on our list this year, and back then we said, “Babysitting and childcare services is another [area] where the timing is right, considering the tremendous influx of working mothers and single-parent families in our society.”

Of course, while some trends last for decades — or come and go and come again — not all of them last. In the 1980s, we also expounded on the “incredible potential of video stores.” It’s a good warning to take even the hottest trends with a grain of salt. And with that in mind, please remember that this list of franchises in trending categories is not intended as a recommendation of any particular franchise. Always do your homework before you invest by reading the company’s legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to existing and former franchisees.

Beauty/Grooming

From haircare to hair removal, facials to pedicures, services that help people look and feel their best continue to be a winning formula in the franchise world. And while many of these services traditionally targeted women, franchises aimed at men and children are proving that their appeal is universal.

Deka Lash

Eyelash extensions

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Diesel Barbershop

Haircare and grooming services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Drybar

Haircare

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Elements Massage

Therapeutic massage services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

European Wax Center

Body waxing services, skin and beauty products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Floyd’s 99 Barbershop

Haircuts, hair coloring, shaves, retail products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Fuzz Wax Bar

Body waxing

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Great Clips

Hair salons

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Hammer & Nails

Men’s barbering and grooming services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Idolize Brows & Beauty

Threading, lash and brow services, body waxing, facials

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

J’adore

Eyebrow microblading, scalp micropigmentation, semi-permanent makeup, aesthetics

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

LashBar

Eyelash extensions and beauty services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Lashes By Ann

Eyelash extension studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Lume

Eyelash, eyebrow, beauty, and facial care studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

LunchboxWax

Body waxing

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Massage Envy

Massage therapy, stretch therapy, skin care, facials

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Massage Heights

Therapeutic massage, facials

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

MassageLuXe

Therapeutic massage, facials, waxing

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Nikita Hair

Hair salons

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pure Glow

Organic spray tanning

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Salons by JC

Salon suites

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Scissors & Scotch

Men’s grooming services, lounge and bar

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Seva Beauty

Eyebrow shaping, eyelash extensions, facials, tinting, makeup, spa services and products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Spavia Day Spa

Massage, skin care, eyelash extensions, beauty and spa services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sport Clips

Men’s sports-themed hair salons

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sugaring NYC

Sugaring hair removal

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sugarmoon Salon

Sugaring hair removal, beauty services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Supercuts

Hair salons

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Woodhouse Spas

Spa services and treatments; bath, body, and wellness products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Touch n Glow

Beauty services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Waxing The City

Facial and body waxing

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Whip Salon

Beauty salons

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Breakfast

It’s long been called the most important meal of the day, but it wasn’t always the most popular. We’ve seen that change in recent years, and franchises are capitalizing on it. In addition to coffee and pastry shops, a number of new breakfast-focused restaurant concepts have popped up to offer heartier options.

Biggby Coffee

Specialty coffee, tea, smoothies, baked goods

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Daily Jam

Breakfast and lunch

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Doughnuttery

Mini doughnuts

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Dunkin’

Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Dunn Brothers Coffee

Specialty coffee, tea, baked goods, sandwiches, soups, salads

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Eggs Up Grill

Breakfast, brunch, and lunch restaurants

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Randy’s Donuts

Doughnuts and beverages

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Scooter’s Coffee

Coffee, smoothies, pastries, breakfast

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Shipley Do-Nuts

Doughnuts, kolaches, pastries, coffee

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Xpresso Delight

Office coffee service

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Child Care

The demand for childcare continues to grow, and franchises are rising up to meet it. Established brands are experiencing strong, steady growth–impressive in an industry where startup costs can climb into the millions. And their success seems to be attracting a number of newer brands to the franchise model as well.

Celebree School

Early childhood education and childcare

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Genius Kids

Preschool, daycare, public-speaking enrichment programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Ivy Kids Systems

Childcare and early learning

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Kiddie Academy

Educational childcare

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

KidsPark

Hourly childcare and preschool

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

KLA Schools

Preschool/childcare

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Muse Global

Early childhood education

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Tierra Encantada

Spanish immersion daycare and preschool

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Entertainment/Recreation

Recreational activities have proven to be a fertile field for franchising, especially in recent years. Paint-and-sip and DIY studios are still particularly popular, along with family entertainment centers, but this year’s surprise new trend is ax throwing, with four new franchises joining the fray.

AR Workshop

DIY workshops

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Axe Monkeys

Indoor axe-throwing ranges

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Ctrl V Inc.

Virtual reality arcades

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

DivaDance

Adult dance classes and parties

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Funtopia

Wall-climbing and family entertainment facilities

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

GameTruck

Mobile video-game theaters

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

HaliMac Inc.

Axe throwing

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Paniq Room

Escape rooms

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pinot’s Palette

Paint-and-sip studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pinspiration

DIY studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Safari Nation

Indoor bounce houses and playgrounds

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

SailTime

Membership boat clubs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sky Zone

Trampoline playing courts

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Wine & Design

Paint-and-sip studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Fitness Businesses

Fitness is one of the fastest-growing categories, both in terms of number of concepts and number of units. Despite how competitive the industry is, it’s not unusual to see some franchisors open hundreds of units a year. Newer brands seek to compete by offering specialized workouts, like aerial fitness, rowing, and barre.

30 Minute Hit

Kickboxing circuit-training programs for women

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

9Round

Kickboxing fitness circuit-training centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

AKT Franchise

Fitness studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Alkalign Studios

Group fitness classes, streaming fitness classes, nutrition coaching

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Amazing Athletes

Educational sports programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Baby Boot Camp

Prenatal and postpartum fitness and nutrition

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Blink Fitness

Health and fitness centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Burn Boot Camp

Women’s fitness centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

CityRow Franchise

Rowing and strength training

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

CKO Kickboxing

Kickboxing fitness classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

CycleBar

Indoor cycling classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

D-BAT Academies Inc.

Indoor baseball and softball training, batting cages, merchandise

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

F45 Training

Fitness studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Fit4Mom

Prenatal and postpartum fitness and wellness programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Gold’s Gym

Health and fitness centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

GYMGUYZ

Mobile personal training

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Honor Yoga

Yoga and meditation classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

i9 Sports

Youth sports leagues, camps, and clinics

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Jazzercise Inc.

Group fitness classes, conventions, apparel, and accessories

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Kidokinetics

Mobile children’s physical education programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Kidz On The Go

Mobile children’s fitness programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Kinderdance Int’l. Inc.

Children’s dance, gymnastics, fitness, and yoga programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Legends Boxing

Boxing fitness programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Little Land Play Gym

Indoor play facilities and pediatric therapy

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

MyFitness Butler

Mobile personal training

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Physique 57

Barre fitness classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

PickUp USA Fitness

Basketball-focused fitness clubs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pure Barre

Barre fitness classes and apparel

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pure Physique

Fitness and wellness centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Retro Fitness

Health clubs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sportball

Sports programs for ages 16 months to 12 years

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

StretchLab Franchise

Assisted stretching classes and related therapy services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sudore Wellness

Group interval training

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Tapout Fitness

Fitness and martial arts

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Barre Code

Barre fitness classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Max Challenge

10-week fitness and nutrition programs

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Title Boxing Club

Boxing and kickboxing fitness classes, personal training, apparel

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

TruFusion

Group fitness studios

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Tutu School

Children’s ballet schools

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

UFC Gym

Boxing, kickboxing, Brazilian jiu jitsu, high-intensity interval training, and group fitness classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

YogaSix

Yoga classes

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Health

Franchises offering health products and services have always formed a fairly small but growing corner of the franchise world. In recent years, though, the face of this category has changed from largely traditional health services to more alternative offerings, such as acupuncture, cryotherapy, IV therapy, and cannabis.

100% Chiropractic

Chiropractic services, massage therapy, nutritional supplements

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

101 Mobility

Mobility and accessibility equipment sales and services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

4ever Young

Preventative health, wellness, and aesthetic services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Discover CBD

Hemp-derived CBD products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

GreenLight Mobility

Home modifications for the disabled and aging

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

HealthSource Chiropractic

Chiropractic, rehabilitation, massage, nutrition, and wellness services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

iCryo

Cryotherapy, wellness, and pain management services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Mobility City Holdings

Wheelchair and mobility scooter repair, cleaning, rentals, and sales

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Mobility Plus

Mobility scooters, ramps, stair lifts

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

My Eyelab

Eye care and eyewear

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

One Cannabis

Retail cannabis dispensaries

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pearle Vision

Eye care and eyewear

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Profile by Sanford

Weight-loss and wellness services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Relax The Back Corp.

Products for relief/prevention of back and neck pain

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Hydration Room

Vitamin IV and injection therapy

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Joint Corp.

Chiropractic services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Titan Medical Center

Medical rejuvenation therapy and weight-loss centers

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Juices/Acai Bowls

Consumers seeking healthier, fresher fast-food options have driven the strong growth of juice and smoothie franchises. Many have also added acai bowls to their menus, and the popularity of this item can be seen in the fact that a number of new franchisors make it the centerpiece of their concepts.

Bahia Bowls

Acai and pitaya bowls, smoothies, coffee, kombucha

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Clean Juice

Organic juices, smoothies, acai bowls

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Deezfruta

Juices and smoothies

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Jamba

Smoothies, juices, bowls, healthful snacks

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Juice It Up!

Raw and cold-pressed juices, smoothies, acai and pitaya bowls, healthful snacks

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Main Squeeze Juice Co.

Smoothies, cold-pressed juices, acai bowls, coffee drinks

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Nekter Juice Bar Inc.

Juices, smoothies, acai bowls, non-dairy ice cream

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Planet Smoothie

Smoothies and snacks

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Smoothie King

Smoothies, healthful snacks, health products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

SoBol

Acai bowls

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Sweetberry Bowls

Acai bowls, smoothies, salads, wraps

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

Smoothies, salads, wraps, sandwiches, flatbreads

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Vitality Bowls

Acai bowls, smoothies, juices, paninis, salads

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Mexican Food

In franchising, the Mexican food category is less saturated than burgers, pizza, or sandwiches, but the cuisine itself has only gained in popularity among American diners, making the industry ripe for growth. And the versatility of Mexican food means there’s a wide variety of concepts, from fast food to Tex-Mex to more traditional fare.

Baja Fresh

Mexican food

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Go Burrito

Burritos and beer

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Rusty Taco

Tacos

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Taco Bell

Mexican food

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pets

There’s no denying the attraction of a franchise that involves working with cute animals all day. And making life easier for pet owners can be financially rewarding as well. Spending on pets increases year after year, with an estimated $75 billion spent by Americans in 2019, according to the American Pet Products Association

Ark Pet Spa & Hotel

Pet boarding, daycare, grooming, and products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Camp Bow Wow

Dog daycare, boarding, training, grooming; in-home pet care

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Camp Run-A-Mutt

Dog daycare and boarding

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Central Bark

Dog daycare

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Dee-O-Gee

Pet supplies and services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Dogtopia

Dog daycare, boarding, and spa services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

EarthWise Pet

Pet food and supplies, grooming, self-wash, training, and walking

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

easyvetclinic

Walk-in veterinary clinics

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Fetch! Pet Care

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Hounds Town USA

Dog daycare, pet boarding, pet grooming

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Husse

Pet-product delivery

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Jemelli

Dog-food delivery

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Paws Pet Care

Pet-sitting, dog-walking

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pet Door USA

Pet door sales and installation

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pet Passages

Pet funeral and cremation services and products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pet Supplies Plus

Retail pet supplies and services

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pet Wants

Natural pet-food stores/delivery

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Petland

Pets, pet supplies, boarding, daycare, grooming

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Preppy Pet

Pet daycare, boarding, grooming

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Salty Paws

Dog ice cream shops

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Scenthound

Dog grooming

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

The Dog Stop

Dog care services and products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Wild Birds Unlimited

Bird-feeding supplies and nature gift items

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Zoom Room

Indoor dog training and socialization, pet products

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Restoration Services

What’s hot in franchising isn’t always about what’s new or glamorous; often it has more to do with what has staying power. The restoration category, with its recession-proof reputation and steady growth, is a prime example. Disasters will always happen– and there will always be a need for someone to clean up after them.

1-800-Packouts

Building contents packing, cleaning, storage, and restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

911 Restoration

Residential and commercial property restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

AdvantaClean

Restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

DKI

Property restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Duraclean

Carpet and upholstery cleaning, disaster restoration, mold remediation

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

PuroClean

Property damage restoration and remediation

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Restoration 1

Water, fire, smoke, and mold restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Servpro

Fire, water, and other damage cleanup and restoration

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Steamatic Inc.

Insurance/disaster restoration, cleaning, mold remediation, air quality control

Total Units (Franchised / Company-Owned)

Pls find the link to the original article below

The Hottest Franchise Categories of 2020

ByTracy Stapp Herold

Techylawyer and its authors do not claim to have written this article, we acknowledge the works of the original author

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