Bricks 4 Kidz, Anytime Fitness top Franchise 500 list

Children’s services, food service, fitness, senior care and personal electronics franchises led industry growth in 2013, according to Entrepreneur’s 35th annual Franchise 500 list. The Bricks 4 Kidz® franchise topped the enrichment category in children’s services this year, while Anytime Fitness was named top overall fitness franchise.

The companies that ranked in Entrepreneur‘s 35th annual Franchise 500® added a total of 8,725 U.S. franchise units between 2012 and 2013–a whopping 51 percent increase over the previous year’s growth. They’re spreading their influence overseas as well, with 8,332 new international units. It’s a great sign that economic recovery is well on its way, and that franchises have an important part to play in it.

Here’s a look at four franchise industries that are leading the way (and one that’s up-and-coming), as well as the trends that are driving their growth.

Children

The continued success of kid-centered franchises over the past several years is evidence that parents are always willing to sacrifice in order to give their offspring a leg up. And thanks to franchising, they’ve got lots of options, from early-learning child-care programs to traditional tutoring to an increasingly diverse collection of fitness, recreation and enrichment businesses.

The big trend this year is science and engineering. Bricks 4 Kidz®, a Lego-engineering program that has been franchising since 2009, jumped into the No. 1 spot in this year’s Enrichment category amid several competitors.

Entrepreneur magazine (1/2014)