Read the original press release on Entrepreneur.
Here at Entrepreneur, we've been covering the franchise industry for more than 40 years-- and making predictions about it for just as long. Way back in March 1980, our very first Franchise 500 issue included a story titled "Franchising: Ready for the Eighties," which sought to offer "an incisive look at trends to watch in the Eighties... and predict the shape of franchising to come." Now we continue the tradition set by that article with our annual list looking at the franchise categories we expect to do best in the year ahead.
If you can find a copy of that 1980 article, you'll see some similarities between its predictions and ours. In 1980, we dubbed Mexican food "the brightest star in the fast-food heaven." Now that the category has expanded beyond fast food to fast-casual and full-service franchises, we think it has even more potential. The 1980 story touted "tremendous growth in limited-item snack shops," though it pointed to cookies and ice cream as examples, while we see potential in healthier snacks like acai bowls and juices today. And then there's this: "We expect recreation and leisure time activities to be a fertile area for franchising in the 1980s." We feel the same way about the 2020s... though the big recreation trend we went on to predict back then-- disco roller rinks-- is, sadly, nowhere to be found on our list today. We've also got childcare on our list this year, and back then we said, "Babysitting and childcare services is another [area] where the timing is right, considering the tremendous influx of working mothers and single-parent families in our society."
Of course, while some trends last for decades-- or come and go and come again-- not all of them last. In the 1980s, we also expounded on the "incredible potential of video stores." It's a good warning to take even the hottest trends with a grain of salt. And with that in mind, please remember that this list of franchises in trending categories is not intended as a recommendation of any particular franchise. Always do your homework before you invest by reading the company's legal documents, consulting with an attorney and an accountant, and talking to existing and former franchisees.