Franchise Times

Franchise Times is a national American business publication with the tagline, "The news and information source for franchising." Its coverage combines the news of the numerous industries that make up franchising, as well as the trends and legal issues that influence franchising as a way of doing business both in the U.S. and internationally. Popular features include franchisor and franchisee success stories, family business matters and interviews with celebrities who are involved in franchising—such as Saints quarterback Drew Brees and MLB superstar Alex Rodriguez.


Franchise Times was founded by Crain Communications as a business publication targeting prospective franchisees.[1] The first copy of Franchise Buyer, its original name, was published in 1994. The name was changed in 1996 to Franchise Times to reflect its wider appeal to readers already doing business in franchising.[2] Crain is known for its city publications, such as Crain's Chicago Business, Autoweek and Advertising Age.[3]

John Hamburger, owner of Franchise Times Corp[4] based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, purchased the rights to the trademark in September 1998 and the first issue under his ownership was published in January 1999. Included in the agreement were the trademark, subscription and advertiser lists, copyright, web domain name and copies of back issues.

Hamburger founded Restaurant Finance Corp. in 1987 as a consulting business to the restaurant industry. The company began offering prospective clients the Restaurant Finance Monitor, a monthly newsletter that focuses on finance information for multi-unit restaurants businesses, as a marketing strategy. From the popularity of the newsletter, Hamburger created the successful Restaurant Finance & Development Conference in 1990.[5]

Hamburger bought Franchise Times when it became available,[6] because he saw restaurant chains were moving into the franchise arena and wanted to expand his restaurant coverage to that growing trend.

He teamed up with Janet Sparks, publisher of Continental Franchise Review (CFR) based in Denver, when he bought CFR in 1998 and rolled its coverage into the revamped Franchise Times. CFR, as it was known, was a newsletter that covered franchise developments, before it was on the radar of business publications.[7]

Thomas H. Murphy, the founder of CFR, was a notable consultant in franchising and his feisty personality colored the editorial approach of the bi-weekly publication.[8] When Hamburger bought the publication, he hired the publisher, Sparks, to write editorials under the CFR trademark. She then moved to writing a monthly column until 2011.[9]

Mary Jo Larson, who was the publisher/editor of the Restaurant Finance Monitor became the first publisher of the magazine under Hamburger's ownership. She also served as the first editor and is now publisher and vice president.

In 1999, Franchise Times published its first ranking of the Franchise Times Top 200 franchise companies based on worldwide sales and locations. The list also included the next 100 "up and comers." Franchise Times' list was different from others in that it did not include rankings based on subjective data, only sales and unit counts. It has since expanded its list to the top 500 companies, under the trademark of the Top 200+.[10]

The second year, the Franchise Times Legal Eagles took flight as a list of the top franchise attorneys in the U.S. and Canada, based on peer and client referrals and input from an editorial committee.[11]


Franchise Times publishes the Top 200+, a ranking of the 500 largest franchises based on worldwide sales in its October issues.[12] The data—which also includes other data points such as number of units, both franchised and company-owned, and international units—is used by Franchise Times and others to track franchise growth and analyze trends in the various franchise segments in news stories.

"Fast and Serious",[13] an editorial feature that identifies the smartest growing franchise systems, was launched in 2014. The results of the findings are published in March, along with analysis of the trends.

Franchise Times' Restaurant 200[14] is a ranking of the top restaurant franchisees in the U.S., compiled by its sister publication, the Restaurant Finance Monitor.

Japanese editionEdit

John Hamburger signed an agreement with franchise business consultant Roy Fujita in 2003 to produce a Japanese edition of Franchise Times, which uses content from the U.S. publication, but sells its own advertising around it.[15]


Franchise Times hosts a yearly conference in Las Vegas, the Franchise Finance & Growth Conference,[16] which invites CEOs and CFOs to talk about their brands in front of an audience of lenders, franchisors and multi-unit franchisees. In addition to education and networking, the event also awards Franchise Times Dealmakers of the Year[17] distinction to franchise companies and executives who have done the boldest, most significant deals of the year. Dealmakers is also a popular editorial feature in the April issue of the magazine.

Although the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference[5] is hosted by the Restaurant Finance Monitor, Franchise Times is very involved with it. It is known as the dealmakers' conference, where networking between multi-unit franchisees, franchisors and lenders is as much on the agenda as educational sessions.


  1. ^ "Crain to launch Franchise Buyer". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  2. ^ "'Franchise Times' greets new year". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  3. ^ "Crain Communications Inc - About Us".
  4. ^ "John Hamburger, Franchise Times Corp".
  5. ^ a b "Restaurant Finance & Development Conference".
  6. ^ "Subscription Center".
  7. ^ {{cite web|url= Sparks|work=Blue MauMau franchise news for the franchisee
  8. ^ "Remembering Pioneer Tom Murphy of Continental Franchise Review". Blue MauMau franchise news for the franchisee. Archived from the original on 2017-09-07.
  9. ^ "Reporter Janet Sparks Leaves Franchise Times". Blue MauMau franchise news for the franchisee.
  10. ^ "Giants stumble for first time in exclusive Franchise Times ranking". Franchise Times via PR Newswire. 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  11. ^ "How To Find a Franchise Lawyer".
  12. ^ "Mr. Appliance® ranked among Franchise Times Top 200".
  13. ^ 1851franchise. "Wide array of franchises make Fast and Serious list". 1851 Franchise Magazine.
  14. ^ "Biggest Foodservice Franchise Companies Get Bigger, Accelerate Sales and Unit Growth". Technomic Blog.
  15. ^ "フランチャイズタイムズ日本版 - 日本とアメリカのフランチャイズ(FC)ビジネス情報 (Franchise Times English version - Japan and the United States of the franchise (FC) business information)".
  16. ^ "Arby's, Uncle Maddio's, Sonic CEOs among speakers at Franchise Finance & Growth Conference".
  17. ^ "The Dwyer Group".

External linksEdit