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Buffalo Wings & Rings' strong company culture is a hit with franchisees.

Franchisees Pick Their Top 40 Restaurant Franchises

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A strong focus on company culture scored big with operators.
By Peggy Carouthers September 2017 Chain Restaurants

After surveying more than 4,300 franchisees from almost 100 foodservice brands and analyzing 18 months of data, Franchise Business Review has named the Top 40 Food and Beverage Franchises for franchisee satisfaction.

Every segment of the restaurant market was represented, from pizza and burgers to ice cream and soup. Though many of the biggest brands in the industry have made the list, like McDonald's and Subway, smaller chains, such as Lenny's Subs and East Coast Wings & Grill, were also strong players due to intense focus on company cultures.

These are the year's Top 40 franchisees in alphabetical order:

    Bahama Buck's
  • Startup Investment: $223,346 – $720,825
  • Cash Requirement: $90,000
  • Total Units: 89
    Biggby Coffee
  • Startup Investment: $220,000
  • Cash Requirement: $70,000
  • Total Units: 254
    Billy Sims Barbecue
  • Startup Investment: $169,000 – $433,000
  • Cash Requirement: $60,000
  • Total Units: 59
    Buffalo Wings & Rings
  • Startup Investment: $1,224,000 – $3,085,000
  • Cash Requirement: $300,000
  • Total Units: 57
    Captain D's
  • Startup Investment: $771,000 – $1,003,000
  • Cash Requirement: $350,000
  • Total Units: 522
    Checkers & Rally's
  • Startup Investment: $96,414 – $1,501,265
  • Cash Requirement: $250,000
  • Total Units: 855
    Dick's Wings & Grill
  • Startup Investment: $237,500 – $772,500
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 23
    Donatos Pizza
  • Startup Investment: $449,000 – $667,000
  • Cash Requirement: $449,000 – $667,000
  • Total Units: 152
    East Coast Wings & Grill
  • Startup Investment: $658,875 – $1,133,502
  • Cash Requirement: $250,000
  • Total Units: 35
    Fazoli's Restaurants
  • Startup Investment: $883,000 – $1,399,000
  • Cash Requirement: $250,000
  • Total Units: 334
    Fuzzy's Taco Shop
  • Startup Investment: $335,000 – $1,035,000
  • Cash Requirement: $250,000
  • Total Units: 112
    Golden Corral Buffet & Grill
  • Startup Investment: $2,120,644 – $6,170,713
  • Cash Requirement: $500,000
  • Total Units: 482
    Ground Round Grill & Bar
  • Startup Investment: $450,000 – $2,200,000
  • Cash Requirement: $350,000
  • Total Units: 27
    Happy & Healthy Products, Inc.
  • Startup Investment: $45,000 – $90,000
  • Cash Requirement: $45,000 – $90,000
  • Total Units: 65
    Hungry Howie's Pizza
  • Startup Investment: $251,375 – $495,850
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 548
Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries
Hwy 55 scored high with franchisees. It's no secret why the brand is rapidly growing.
    Hwy 55 Burgers Shakes & Fries
  • Startup Investment: $191,255 – $385,155
  • Cash Requirement: $125,000
  • Total Units: 137
    Jamba Juice
  • Startup Investment: $201,000 – $619,300
  • Cash Requirement: $350,000
  • Total Units: 953
    Jason’s Deli
  • Startup Investment: $905,891
  • Cash Requirement: $905,891
  • Total Units: 261
    Kona Ice
  • Startup Investment: $120,225 – $143,025
  • Cash Requirement: $20,000
  • Total Units: 941
    LaRosa’s Pizzeria
  • Startup Investment: $800,000 – $1,000,000
  • Cash Requirement: $500,000
  • Total Units: 66
    Lenny’s Sub Shop
  • Startup Investment: $188,216 – $396,146
  • Cash Requirement: $75,000
  • Total Units: 96
    Marco’s Pizza
  • Investment Level: $222,830 – $436,830 limited seating 
  • Financial Requirements: $100,000 in capital and $350,000 in assets to be preapproved
  • Total Units: 854
    Mooyah Burgers & Fries
  • Startup Investment: $412,750 – $620,000
  • Cash Requirement: $250,000
  • Total Units: 98
    Nothing Bundt Cakes
  • Startup Investment: $392,875 – $545,475
  • Cash Requirement: $150,000
  • Total Units: 168
    Penn Station
  • Startup Investment: $293,102 – $593,027
  • Cash Requirement: $300,000
  • Total Units: 310
    Pizza Factory
  • Startup Investment: $156,000 – $643,500
  • Cash Requirement: $90,000
  • Total Units: 109
    Planet Sub
  • Startup Investment: $182,500 – $402,000
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 58
    Scooter’s Coffee
  • Startup Investment: $334,000 – $514,000
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 167
    Smoothie King
  • Startup Investment: $225,650 – $426,185
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 907
    The Häagen-Dazs Company
  • Startup Investment: $154,158 – $542,408
  • Cash Requirement: $154,158 – $542,408
  • Total Units: 206
    The Honeybaked Ham Co. and Cafe
  • Startup Investment: $299,200 – $468,200
  • Cash Requirement: $100,000
  • Total Units: 405
    The Wendy’s Company
  • Startup Investment: $300,000 – $3,000,000
  • Cash Requirement: $2,000,000
  • Total Units: 6,564
    Toppers Pizza
  • Startup Investment: $291,666 – $527,152
  • Cash Requirement: $150,000
  • Total Units: 99
    Tropical Smoothie Cafe
  • Startup Investment: $198,050 – $478,550
  • Cash Requirement: $125,000
  • Total Units: 541
    Uno Chicago Grill
  • Startup Investment: $736,000 – $1,850,500
  • Cash Requirement: $750,000
  • Total Units: 196
    Wings Etc.
  • Startup Investment: $300,000 – $780,000
  • Cash Requirement: $300,000 – $780,000
  • Total Units: 40
    Wingstop
  • Startup Investment: $346,775 – $733,249
  • Required net worth $1,200,000; $600,000 liquid
  • Total Units: 1,056—21 are corporate-owned stores, and the rest are franchise
    Zaxby’s
  • Startup Investment: $352,000 – $664,300
  • Cash Requirement: $300,000
  • Total Units: 946
    Zoup!
  • Startup Investment: $321,400 – $609,400
  • Cash Requirement: $321,400 – $609,400
  • Total Units: 87