If it’s ever felt like you see certain businesses wherever you go, it’s probably because some businesses are everywhere. Fast food joints, hotels and a certain coffee purveyor are among the companies that have produced some of the most recognized products worldwide, and that have the massive physical footprint that comes with the territory. Many of these long-standing companies have evolved and preserved their brands and traditions for decades.
A lot of businesses on this list are franchises. More than 900,000 established franchise businesses, which together generate billions of dollars in output and millions of private sector jobs, operate in the United States alone. But we’ve also included companies that stuck with the company-owned model (like that ubiquitous coffee company) and maintained more control while spreading widely.
To determine which business brands have the most physical locations, we first mined figures from Franchise Direct’s Top 100 Global Franchises list. Then we consulted self-reported figures, media reports and other industry sources to determine the most number of locations for other large company-owned businesses. Often these numbers are estimates or in flux due to frequent closings and openings, so they’re the best we can determine at the time of publication. The amount of locations for each business brand comes from Franchise Direct unless noted. Note: Financial institutions and gas stations are excluded.