10 Promising Franchises for 2011
Energy KitchenRed MangoSmashburgerKumonPlanet BeachEdible ArrangementsBrightStar CareStratus Building SolutionsJunk KingPlanet Fitness
Energy Kitchen’s menu has a built-in healthy factor: nothing is over 500 calories and every dish is grilled, baked, or steamed. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in New York City, Energy Kitchen ranked No. 3,276 on the 2010 Inc. 5000 list, with an impressive growth rate of 59 percent over three years, and sales may accelerate. Randy Schechter, the company’s founder, recently told Retail Traffic magazine that the company plans to turn its 10 locations into 1,000 over the next 10 years.
One of the fastest-growing purveyors of all-natural frozen yogurt, Red Mango made its U.S. debut in 2007 when it relocated from South Korea to Texas. In 2009, the Dallas-based company opened 42 franchises in its home state and New York and hopes to expand to over 550 locations across the country by 2015. "We’re experiencing the strongest franchise growth in our company’s history," said James Franks, the company’s VP of franchising, in a recent company statement.
The self-proclaimed "better burger" joint might just get super-sized in 2011. Smashburger currently operates about 100 stores across the country, but plans to double its juicy footprint in the next year. The chain is expanding aggressively in the Northeast, having signed franchise agreements for 20 more stores in Long Island and will hit Brooklyn, New York, within the year. Smashburger is owned by the Consumer Capital Partners, a private investment and concept development firm based in Denver.
Kumon has held a firm foothold as America’s largest after-school education company for nearly 50 years. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey, Kumon operates nearly 1,500 franchises in the United States and a total of 1,775 in North America. And according to Hideki Kusuzawa, president of Kumon North America, the company has plans to open 100 more centers nationwide in 2011. "We attract former teachers, engineers, lawyers, and corporate executives looking for a rewarding, flexible, and viable business opportunity," Kusuzawa said in a recent statement.
Ten years ago, the spa industry reported yearly revenues of around $5 billion. Now, according to the International Spa Association, annual revenues generated from spas total more than $15 billion. One reason for the boom is that an increasing number of men are frequenting spas. Stephen Smith, the founder of Planet Beach, operated health clubs and gyms for eight years before establishing Planet Beach in 1994. Based in New Orleans, the company now operates 340 franchise units in 38 states and 9 countries, and, according to a recent statement, the company "expects 2011 to be a promising year."
Edible Arrangements, as its name implies, sells hand-sculpted fresh-fruit arrangements. The company, which began franchising back in 2001, has grown remarkably well over the last 10 years. In fact, it recently signed its 1,000th new store franchise agreement. In 2010, Edible Arrangements opened 84 stores in the U.S., and plans to open several more stores—from Massachusetts to Mumbai—in the next several months. "We started franchising in 2001 and the continuous growth of Edible Arrangements has been very exciting," said founder and CEO Tariq Farid, in a statement. "Our proven franchise system, healthful high-quality products, and our franchisees are the keys to our success."
As America ages, franchises that provide in-home care to the elderly stand to gain. BrightStar Care, based in Gurnee, Illinois, has been franchising since 2005 and has grown from merely 23 franchises in 2007 to 163 in 2010. The company plans to open as many as 400 locations in 2011. Shelly Sun, the CEO and co-founder of BrightStar, noted in a recent interview that the company is "planning to launch 7 new brands over the next 10 years, approximately 1 every 12-24 months, to allow for current owners to expand their service offerings, as well as allow for new owners to come into our system."
It’s a fact: offices need to get cleaned. Stratus Building Solutions, founded in 2004, provides cleaning services for commercial buildings, retail properties, medical facilities, and schools. Based in St. Louis, the company has grown from 708 franchises in 2007 to 3,512 franchises in 2010. Pete Frese, the company's president, said in a recent release that the "dedication of our growing international network of franchise owner-operators and employees complement our aggressive growth plans and customer service commitments for the year ahead… Market growth in 2011 is very bright."
If you’ve seen the reality TV show "Hoarders," you’ll understand how necessary a service like Junk King truly is. Founded in 2005 by Mike Andreacchi and Brian Reardon, the San Carlos, California-based company quickly began spreading to locations across the country and most recently to Massachusetts, Arizona, and Colorado. Dennis Mulgannon, Junk King’s director of franchises, recently noted on the company’s blog that "The growth of [Junk King’s] business is skyrocketing due to the millions of people constantly looking for dependable services to clean clutter and unwanted items from their homes or businesses."
Known for its quirky commercials ("I lift things up and put them down"), Planet Fitness is a fast-growing gym franchise that offers competitive prices to its customers, as well a couple of off-beat promotions, like pizza night and Tootsie Rolls—who said going to the gym had to be healthy? The Dover, New Hampshire-based company also has a "Judgement Free Zone" (sic) philosophy, aimed at providing a comfortable environment in which members can work out without feeling the pressure of having to look good. Founded in 1992 and ranked No. 920 on the 2010 Inc. 5000 list, the company has exhibited a 326 percent growth rate over the last three years.