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The World’s Most Popular Franchise Businesses Revealed

Monday, 21 June 2021

PACK & SEND Reveal the World’s Most Popular Franchise Business for Entrepreneurs

Many businesses have been forced to close as the world attempts to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, many franchise business owners have managed to keep their head above water and even flourished, where their independent competitors have struggled.

So, what are the most popular franchise brands for budding business owners, and what makes this style of business ownership so appealing, especially in a post-pandemic landscape?

We’ve used Google search data to identify the most popular franchise businesses around the world. We also investigated which country’s residents are most interested in taking on this unique style of business venture.

Our study revealed McDonald’s as the most commonly searched franchise business in the world, taking the top spot in 78 of the 97 countries analysed. And it’s no wonder, with the fast-food giant operating over 38,000 restaurants worldwide – 93% of which are owned and managed by franchisees.

This comes despite research suggesting a significant up-front investment of between $1-2.2million is required to open a McDonald’s franchise business – likely ruling the opportunity out for many prospective franchisees.

KFC came in second place, topping the table as the most-Googled franchise business in nine countries, including Luxembourg, Thailand, and Indonesia.

Other popular franchise opportunities included Burger King (in Namibia, Turkey, The Central African Republic, and Estonia), Dominos (in Bulgaria and Kazakhstan), Jollibee (in Japan and The Philippines), Hardees (in Mongolia), and Tim Hortons (in Canada).

View how the world’s most popular franchise brands look mapped out below:

world of franchise


In each country, the most-searched brand was a fast-food chain. The dominance of the food industry in the franchise business space is likely due to the mainstream popularity of these brands. Prospective franchisees assume they are guaranteed success simply by riding the coattails of the global reputation of impressive brand names.

But that’s not how business works. Owning a franchise means making your own decisions, from pricing and how to market products and services, to allocating funds. The opportunity to put a personal spin on a tried and tested business model is one of the draws for those interested in starting a franchise business.

And fast food isn’t the only option for entrepreneurs looking to make a start in franchising. Industry alternatives range from recruitment and cleaning to security and logistics.

The study also found that residents of Australia are the most interested in starting a franchise business, performing 129 related searches* per capita (per 100 thousand people) – a total of 32,830 Google searches in the last year.

This demand for franchise support in Australia is unsurprising, given that 60% of the nation’s SMEs fail within just three years. However, unlike the risks associated with start-up businesses, franchising allows people to achieve their dream of owning a business with the security of a proven business model providing a tried and tested formula for success.

Plus, franchise owners typically benefit from a detailed training programme and ongoing business support, as well as the potential to network within the community of franchisees.

South Africa takes second place in the list of countries most interested in starting a franchise business, performing 92 searches per capita and totalling 54,380 searches.

Ireland, the UK, and the US complete the top 5 spots, with 83, 74, and 63 searches per 100,000 people respectively.

When considering raw search volume, Americans performed the most Google searches for franchise business terms, with a total of 208,290 searches in just 12 months.

country with most franchise searches


The impact of the pandemic – and resulting restrictions – has seen the International Labour Organisation predict at least 220 million people worldwide will remain out of work this year.

So, for those looking for a money-making venture that allows them to take their career into their own hands, now could be the perfect time to consider owning a franchise. Especially with the global economy set to see the fastest recession recovery in 80 years, and the UK economy continuing to grow month-on-month as restrictions ease.

Mike Ryan, UK CEO at PACK & SEND commented on the findings:

“It’s interesting to see the fast-food industry currently dominating the world’s Google searches when it comes to hunting for franchise opportunities. This is likely due to the seemingly universal and accessible nature of fast food and takeaways.

“However, there is a huge variety of franchise opportunities available worldwide, and it pays to make a decision that makes business sense and also fits the skills and passions of the franchisee.

“It’s unsurprising to see the global popularity of franchise opportunities, though. When starting a new business, the support of an established franchisor can be a real advantage over competitors. At PACK & SEND, our franchisees are one of our best assets, and we offer an unrivalled programme to give them the best chance of success.”


*PACK & SEND used Google Keyword Planner to find the total Google search volume for [franchise opportunities], [franchise for sale], and [start a franchise] between April 2020 and March 2021 in the top 50 countries by size according to this and a selection of other large, English-speaking countries.

They then found the total Google search volume during that same time period and for those same countries for every business in Franchise Direct’s top 100 franchises globally. This was done by looking at the search volume for [*company name* franchise] E.G. [McDonald’s franchise].

PACK & SEND also worked out searches per capita (per 100,000 people) for each country using this population data and the following formula:

(total search volume / population) * 100,000

Where more than one franchise is tied as the most popular in a country, they selected the one which comes first alphabetically to appear on the map.


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