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Know the top foreign franchise brands in the Philippines

See which among the top Franchise 500 brands have found their way to our shores.
By Toni Antiporda |

Filipinos love foreign brands—which is probably why these operators do not think twice about setting up shop in the Philippines. 


Entrepreneur’s annual Franchise 500 list is considered the best and most comprehensive franchise ranking in the world, in part due to its scale and objectivity. For this year’s rankings, 951 franchise companies in the US vied for a coveted spot on the list.



The rankings were based on financial and statistical data from July 2013 through July 2015. These quantifiable measures of franchise operations include financial strength and stability, growth rate, and size of the system. For this list, we trimmed the top 50 brands (or top 10%) that made it to the Franchise 500 and identified which ones have set up shop in the Philippines. Which one is your favorite?





Ranking no. 5 on the list, Subway was founded in 1965 and started franchising in 1974. Since then, it has become the world’s largest submarine sandwich franchise, with more than 33,000 locations in 98 countries, including the Philippines. It first came to the Philippines in 1990, with its first branch in Glorietta 1. Currently, Subway has 12 franchisee-owned branches here.





Top 6 on the list, McDonald’s and its Golden Arches have become an internationally-recognized symbol for a quick fast food fix. It was founded in 1955 by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald, together with their business partner, former milkshake mixer salesman Ray Kroc. McDonald’s found its way in the Philippines in 1981 when George T. Yang opened a branch in Morayta, Manila, which still stands there until now. Currently, McDonald’s has more than 460 branches nationwide.


Related: 8 things McDonald’s can teach ­you about business success



 7-Eleven, Inc.


 landing the 7th spot is 7-Eleven, with origins going as far back as 1927. But it first got its name in 1946 when the convenience store chain’s hours were extended from 7 am to 11 pm. Even though 7-Eleven stores are now open 24/7, the name stuck. It started franchising in 1964, and now has 57,500 stores worldwide. It opened its first store in the Philippines in 1984, which was located at the corner of Kamias Road and EDSA, Quezon City. Now, it has more than 1,200 stores all over the country.


Related: What you should know if you want to be a 7-Eleven franchisee



 Dunkin’ Donuts
This doughnut shop, founded in 1950, was first named The Open Kettle by its founder Bill Rosenberg. No. 8 on the Franchise 500 list, it started franchising in 1955, and now has more than 2,600 stores in over 32 countries, including the Philippines. In 1981, Golden Donuts Inc. brought the famed doughnut shop to the Philippines and built its first store at the Quad Car Park, what is now the Park Square, in Makati City.  




Anytime Fitness

Founded in 2001, this fitness club lands on the 10th spot of the list. It is open 24 hours a day, thanks to security systems which allow members to access the facility even during unstaffed hours. It started franchising in 2002, and was previously the number one in the Franchise 500 list. Now, it has more than 3,100 clubs in 22 countries—it found its way in the Philippines in 2014, and has since grown to 14 clubs all over the country.



Related: 24/7 American fitness chain takes the local franchising route



 Pizza Hut, Inc.

Pizza Hut began in 1958, when brothers Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mother to start a pizzeria in Wichita, Kansas. They started franchising the pizzeria a year later, and has since grown to more than 11,139 branches in 94 countries. In the Philippines, Pizza Hut is operated by Araneta-owned Philippine Pizza, Inc. and opened its first store in 1984. Then, it pioneered pizza delivery in the country in 1989. Today, Pizza Hut has more than 110 branches in the Philippines, not yet including its stand-alone take-out counters and express slice counters. It ranked no. 11 on Franchise 500 latest list.




ACE Hardware, Corp.

No. 14 on the list is Ace. This hardware store’s history began in 1924, when four hardware store owners decided to join forces to buy merchandise in bulk in order to maximize profits and compete more effectively with the bigger hardware stores. It started franchising in 1976 and has since grown to 4,600 outlets in 7 countries. In the Philippines, Ace Hardware is franchised by SM Supermalls, thus can be seen inside all of their mall locations.




 GNC Franchising

GNC, no. 15 on the list, stands for General Nutrition Centers. This health food store was founded in 1935, but only started franchising in 1988. It first specialized in selling yogurt, honey, and grains, but now has focused on producing its own line of vitamins and other nutritional supplements. It now has more than 7,300 stores in 54 countries—in the Philippines, it has over 30 branches nationwide.




Taco Bell

This Mexican food joint started out, oddly enough, from the side windows of Glen Bell’s hotdog stand in 1962. No. 16 on the list, it was formerly called Taco Tia, which started franchising in 1964 and has since grown to more than 6,500 stores in more than 13 countries. Taco Bell was brought to the Philippines in 2004 by Araneta-owned Philippine Pizza, Inc., also the local franchise operator of Pizza Hut and has since grown to four branches all over Metro Manila.





Yes, you can franchise everything, even real estate brokerage. RE/MAX stands for Real Estate Maximum, rooted in the desire to give real estate agents maximum commission. No. 21 on the list, it was founded in 1973, and has since grown to a global network of more than 97,000 real estate agents in over 95 countries. It opened in the Philippines in 2012, and has since grown to 18 offices all over the country.





Irv Robbins and Burt Baskin founded this world-renowned ice cream shop in 1945, and the brothers-in-law even had to flip a coin to decide whose name would go first on the sign. Today, Baskin-Robbins is part of Dunkin’ Brands, Inc., which also owns Dunkin’ Donuts. It has around 7,300 locations in more than 50 countries. After its short-lived run in the 90s, the brand came back to the Philippines in 2013 via licensee IceDream, Inc., with an agreement to open 50 stores in 5 years. It ranked no. 29 on the Franchise 500 list.



Related: Sweeter the second time around: Baskin-Robbins returns to the local market



Papa John’s

John Schnatter, the Papa John, fulfilled his life-long dream of opening his own pizzeria in 1985, and started franchising it a year later. Now, and no. 30  on the list, Papa John’s has more than 4,700 locations in 37 countries. It was brought to the Philippines by Berjaya Pizza Philippines, and opened its first store in Robinsons Galleria Veranda in 2010. Since then, it has grown to 18 branches all over Metro Manila.




Auntie Anne’s

Baker Anne Beiler started hand-rolling pretzels in front of her customers in 1988. Soon after, she bought her own food stand and founded Auntie Anne’s with two of her brothers. No. 31 on the list, today, it has around 1,700 locations in 31 countries—in the Philippines, it now has 30 branches nationwide.





Days Inn

Cecil Day, a Christian philanthropist, opened his first hotel in 1970. Since then, Days Inn has grown to 1,900 franchised hotels worldwide, including 10 locations in the Philippines.  It is now part of the Wyndham Worldwide group of hotels, which also includes hotel franchise Microtel Inns & Suites, now also in the Philippines. It ranked 32nd on the list.




Dairy Queen

No. 34 on the list, DQ has been serving up soft-serve ice cream since 1940, based on the belief of ice cream manufacturer J.F. McCullough that ice cream tasted better when it was soft and served fresh from the freezer. Today, DQ has more than 6,000 outlets in 22 countries. In the Philippines, DQ is owned and operated by the Araneta Group (which also owns the local franchises for Taco Bell and Pizza Hut), and has 79 branches all over Luzon.




Circle K

This convenience store chain got its start in 1951, when Fred Hervey bought three Kay’s Food Stores in Texas, but only started franchising in 1995. No. 36 on the list, since then, it has grown to over 4,000 stores in 10 countries. In the Philippines, Circle K is owned and operated by Super 8 Retail Systems, the consumer retail arm of wholesale distributor Suy Sing Corporation.  




Kumon Math & Reading Centers

Ranking no. 40 on the list, this educational center was founded in 1954 by Japanese high school math teacher Toru Kumon, who developed a method of learning for his son who was struggling with second-grade arithmetic. It started franchising in 1958, and today has presence in 49 countries. Kumon has been in the Philippines for almost 20 years, with over 250 learning centers catering to more than 55,000 students nationwide.



Related: Kumon Tarlac: Choosing a second business with a mission



In 1930, honorary Kentucky Colonel Harland Sanders opened Sanders Court & Café in the front room of a gas station, serving up some of his “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken. The colonel started franchising his food concept in 1952, and it has since grown to more than 19,500 branches in over 80 countries. It started its operations in the Philippines in 1967, and has grown to more than 237 outlets nationwide. It ranked no. 41 on the list. 




Toni is the deputy associate editor of Follow her on Twitter, @toni_antiporda. 

All photos are from the official Philippine websites, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts of the listed franchise brands. 

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