7-Eleven, ampm, Circle K Represent Convenience in 2013 'Franchise 500'

Industry partners Subway, Dunkin' Donuts, Chester's, Blimpie's, Orion also make annual list

IRVINE, Calif. -- For the convenience store industry, 7-Eleven Inc. ranked the highest, at No. 4, in Entrepreneur's 2013 "Franchise 500," the magazine's 34th annual listing. Hampton Hotels took the No. 1 position, followed by Subway (No. 2) and Jiffy Lube (No. 3).

7-Eleven (No. 4). Dallas-based 7-Eleven operates, franchises or licenses more than 9,700 7-Eleven stores in North America. Globally, there are approximately 49,000 7-Eleven stores in 16 countries. During 2011, 7-Eleven stores worldwide generated total sales close to $76.6 billion.

It was No. 3 in 2012, No. 4 in 2011, No. 3 in 2010 and No. 30 in 2009.

Ampm (No. 22). BP's ampm brand was founded in 1978 in Southern California by ARCO and is based in La Palma, Calif. ARCO-branded ampm stores are currently found in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Arizona.

It was No. 16 in 2012, No. 2 in 2011, No. 10 in 2010 and No. 35 in 2009.

Circle K (No. 36). Circle K is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., which has a network approximately 6,200 c-stores throughout North America, including nearly 4,600 with fuel dispensing. The network consists of 13 business units, including nine in the United States covering 40 states and the District of Columbia (under the Circle K flag) and four in Canada covering all 10 provinces (primarily under the Couche-Tard and Mac's flags).

It was No. 24 in 2012, No. 22 in 2011, No. 25 2010 and No. 9 in 2009.

Many on-the-go foodservice companies, some related to convenience retailing, made the list, notably Subway (No. 2), Dunkin' Donuts (No. 13), Chester's International LLC (No. 95); Blimpie's Subs & Salads (No. 198); and Orion Food Systems LLC/Hot Stuff Foods (No. 392).

Birmingham, Ala.-based Chester's, which offers its fried chicken concept to c-stores and supermarkets, broke into the top 100 this year, moving up to No. 95 from No. 134 in last year's rankings.

To be eligible for the Franchise 500 ranking, a franchisor must have a minimum of 10 units, with at least one in the United States. The company must be seeking new U.S. franchisees, and it cannot be in Chapter 11 at the time the magazine compiles the ranking.

Entrepreneur judges all companies, regardless of size, by the same criteria: objective, quantifiable measures of the franchise operation. The most important factors include financial strength and stability, growth rate and size of the system. It also considers the number of years a company has been in business and the length of time it has been franchising, startup costs, litigation, percentage of terminations and whether the company provides financing. It does not measure subjective elements such as franchisee satisfaction or management style. The objective factors are plugged into an exclusive Franchise 500 formula, with each eligible company receiving a cumulative score. The 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500.

The Entrepreneur Franchise 500 comprises only companies that submitted full Franchise Disclosure Documents; the magazine verifies the information.

Click here to view the full list.