Businesses With the Most Physical Locations
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.
43. Tim Hortons
What it does: This Canadian chain offers coffee and donuts, mostly. Headquartered in Toronto, it’s one of Canada’s largest quick service restaurant chains.
42. Hilton Hotels & Resorts
What it does: Founder Conrad Hilton bought his first hotel in Texas. His namesake company spans 85 countries and territories across six continents.
41. The UPS Store
What it does: This shipping company has mastered logistics and supply chain management. It runs its own cargo airline and shipping centers to make delivery services competitive.
40. Papa John’s Pizza
What it does: Pizza magazine (Yes, there’s a magazine about the pizza biz) calls this franchise the fourth largest pizza delivery chain in the U.S. According to company lore, John started selling pies out of his father’s tavern’s broom closet in the ’80s.
39. Ace Hardware
What it does: Founded in Illinois, this hardware retail giant stocks everything you would need for the home, construction projects, office and more. The company also runs 17 distribution centers in the U.S.
38. O’Reilly Auto Parts
What it does: The U.S. auto parts retailer has grown from one store in Springfield, Missouri to more than 5,000 in 47 states.
37. NAPA Auto Parts
Locations: 6,000 (NAPA)
What it does: Another auto parts retailer based in the United States. This one’s owned by the General Parts Company, which has its headquarters in Atlanta.
Locations/units: 6,202 (Statista)
What it does: This automotive parts retailer (sensing a theme?) started in Arkansas and now has stores across the United States and into Mexico and Brazil.
35. Choice Hotels
What it does: Founded in Maryland, this hotel chain is one of the largest in the world. It operates upscale and economy hotels and inns across 40 countries.
34. Marriott International
What it does: The hotel and resort chain operates in more than 120 countries. In 1995, Marriott was the first hotel company in the world to offer online reservations.
What it does: This has become a go-to place for nutrition supplements, food and diet products. Its founder David Shakarian originally started it as a small health food store in downtown Pittsburgh.
What it does: Wendy’s brought us square hamburgers at a time when most burgers were mere circles. The founder named his restaurant after his fourth daughter, Wendy Thomas.
31. Taco Bell
What it does: America’s favorite Mexican fast food restaurant is famous for bringing us hard-shelled tacos, nacho cheese and a certain talking chihuahua.
30. Dairy Queen
What it does: This chain has been known for its soft serve ice cream since the 1940s. Its largest store today is in Bloomington, Illinois.
29. Verizon Wireless
Locations/units: 6,839 (Statista)
What it does: Verizon is the largest wireless telecommunications provider in the U.S. It was founded as a joint venture between British company Vodafone and American company Bell Atlantic.
What it does: The British grocery retailer has been around for 100 years, and has since spread to 11 countries outside of the U.K.
What it does: This American real estate company franchised its business and employs more than 100,000 agents. Some might recognize the company for its hot air balloon fleet.
What it does: We all scream for ice cream — and cakes. The company says it’s come up with more than 1,000 flavors since 1945.
25. Century 21
What it does: This real estate franchise company based in New Jersey has more than 127,000 sales people and agents in 80 countries.
24. Circle K
What it does: You’ll see these convenience stores all across Asia, Latin America and the U.S. Besides the usual fare and basic items, some locations also offer gas pumps.
23. Wyndham Hotels and Resorts
What it does: This hotel chain may have entered the scene a bit later than its competitors, but quickly grew through its early acquisitions of hotel groups.
Locations/units: 8,500 (Grocery.com)
What it does: The German chain of grocery stores is actually two businesses — Aldi Nord and Aldi Sud — that share the same ownership. Brothers Karl and Theo Albrecht founded Aldi, and the first two letters of their last name is where the Al in Aldi comes from. The Di comes from discount.
Locations/units: 8,932 (Entrepreneur)
What it does: The fitness franchise company is known for popularizing the jazz dance exercise now known to us as jazzercise. The moves have found their way into media from “The Golden Girls” to “Glee.”
Locations/units: 9,560 (Walgreens)
What it does: The American company operates the second largest pharmacy store in the U.S., only slightly behind its competitor CVS. What started as a small food store in Chicago has established a footprint in all 50 states.
Locations/units: 9,800 (CVS)
What it does: The largest American pharmacy store was originally named the Consumer Value Store. These days, it also runs medical clinics and diabetes centers inside some stores.
Locations/units: 10,000 (Lidl)
What it does: Another German chain of markets that has spread throughout Europe and into the United States.
What it does: Hertz rents and sells cars in more than 150 countries. The company has also branched into booking travel and activities.
16. H&R Block
What it does: This American tax preparation company was founded by the Bloch brothers who were simply looking to provide accounting and bookkeeping services in Kansas City.
Locations/units: 11,695 (Statista)
What it does: Walmart is the world’s largest company by revenue, at more than $500 billion a year. It’s not hard to imagine why when the retailer offers such a wide variety of products at competitive prices. Walmart also runs Sam’s Club, the warehouse stores that sell groceries and general items in bulk.
What it does: This French convenience store business operates in more than 30 countries selling everything from department store goods to groceries.
What it does: The donut and coffee spot was founded in Massachusetts and later acquired by Baskin-Robbins. Recently rebranded from Dunkin’ Donuts, the chain is focusing on its beverage expansion in cold and single-cup brews.
12. Groupe Casino
What it does: This French food and grocery retailer started growing internationally in the ’90s. Its original business closed down but the company chose to keep its Casino name as it pivoted into the grocery business.
What it does: The American pizza chain in 2018 topped global charts as the largest pizza seller in the world. The restaurant was originally called DomiNick’s, after owner Dominick DiVarti.
10. Pizza Hut
What it does: Two brothers who were students at Wichita State University came up with the business for a pizza hut in Kansas. They began franchising in 1959 and later introduced its iconic red roof design. YUM! Brands now owns Pizza Hut.
9. Dollar Tree
What it does: This bargain store has a simple model: It sells everything for $1 or less. You can find everything from eggs and craft supplies to toys and cleaning products.
8. Dollar General
Locations/units: 15,000 (Dollar General)
What it does: The Dollar Tree competitor operates under a similar model of bargain items. The Dollar General is now one of the most profitable stores in the rural U.S. at around $21 billion in revenue.
7. Burger King
What it does: Originally named Insta-Burger King, this fast food chain has become ubiquitous for its burgers, fries and shakes. In 1957, it introduced a signature item, the Whopper, that still remains its signature burger today.
What it does: This joint founded by Colonel Sanders sells “Finger Lickin' Good” tubs of fried chicken. These days the company is owned by YUM! Brands. The fast food restaurant has also expanded to chicken sandwiches and desserts.
What it does: Kumon is an education company founded by Japanese teacher Toru Kumon. His Kumon method prepares students in math and reading.
Locations/units: 29,324 (Statista)
What it does: The coffee giant based in Seattle has taken over the coffee shop scene in the past few decades. These days the green, two-tailed mermaid is recognized worldwide for a cup of joe.
What it does: It’s impossible to pass the Golden Arches and not think about a burger. What started as a burger stand in California by the McDonald brothers would eventually turn into a massive franchise run by businessman Ray Kroc.
What it does: Originally named Pete’s Super Submarines, this fast food restaurant tries to market healthier options in comparison to burger and pizza joints.
What it does: The convenience store giant was originally an ice company that sold general items like milk and eggs. Facing debt problems in the ’80s, the company was forced to transfer control to its Japanese affiliate.