For more than 40 years, these quick-service franchises have proved that fast food is here to stay. Whether its pizza, hamburgers, tacos or donuts, these tasty franchises continue to draw crowds around the world. Here are our picks for the Top 10 Fast Food Franchises of 2009.
Submarine sandwiches & salads
Since opening in 1965, Subway has grown from a tiny submarine sandwich shop into the world's largest submarine sandwich chain. With more than 28,000 restaurants in 86 countries, Subway continues to grow through its image as a fresh, healthy alternative among fast-food restaurants. Subway has claimed the No. 1 spot 15 times on Entrepreneur's Top 10 since it debuted in 1988.
2. Dunkin' Donuts
Coffee, doughnuts, baked goods
Dunkin' Donuts is the world's largest coffee and baked goods chain. In addition to selling 52 varieties of donuts and more than a dozen coffee beverages, the chain also carries an array of bagels, breakfast sandwiches and other baked goods. With more than 5,000 U.S. franchises, Dunkin' Donuts has maintained a consistent Top 10 ranking since 2004.
3. Pizza Hut
In 1958, brothers Frank and Dan Carney borrowed $600 from their mother to open a small pizza parlor in their hometown of Wichita, Kansas. Fifty years later, America's first pizza chain hasn't stopped growing. Pizza Hut's specialty pizzas can be found in franchises throughout the world, and the restaurant continues to be a popular destination for pizza lovers.
Hamburgers, chicken, salads
This famous hamburger restaurant has made the Top 10 ranking 27 times in the 29 years we've been compiling the Franchise 500. Ray Kroc opened his first restaurant in 1955 and earned a modest first day's revenue of $366.12. More than 50 years later, McDonald's earns more than $23 billion a year.
5. Sonic Drive-In Restaurants
Since opening in 1953, this drive-in, car-hop restaurant hasn't strayed far from its roots. Originally started as a hamburger and root beer stand, Sonic now offers wraps, smoothies and other signature items in addition to its traditional American classics. With 3,350 drive-ins coast to coast, average unit sales are more than $1 million a year.
6. KFC Corp.
Harland Sanders opened the first KFC restaurant in a Kentucky gas station during the Great Depression. Nearly 80 years later, his original recipe is still used in more than 11,000 restaurants worldwide.
7. Domino's Pizza LLC
Pizza, breadsticks, buffalo wings
Started in 1960 with $500, this pizza giant had $5.1 billion in global retail sales in 2006 and delivered more than 400 million pizzas. This is the ninth time Domino's Pizza has appeared in the Top 10.
Sandwiches, chicken, salads
When Arby's opened in 1964, customers enjoyed roast beef sandwiches, potato chips and Texas-sized iced teas. Today, Arby's continues to stray from the traditional fast food fare by offering the same slow-roasted and freshly sliced roast beef sandwiches, in addition to other deli-style sandwiches, wraps and salads.
9. Baskin-Robbins USA Co.
Ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen beverages
Since 1945, Baskin-Robbins has introduced more than 1,000 ice cream flavors. With more than 5,800 retail shops in 34 countries, Baskin-Robbins is the world's largest chain of ice cream specialty shops, each serving the company's famous 31 flavors of ice cream as well as frozen yogurt, sherbet, cakes and drinks.
10 Taco Bell Corp.
Quick-service Mexican restaurant
This popular Mexican fast food chain sells more than 2 billion tacos and 1 billion burritos each year. Taco Bell has more than 5,800 franchises and reached $4.4 billion in franchise sales.