WaBa Grill announced it has ranked among the nation’s top 500 franchises in Entrepreneur magazine’s 2021 Franchise 500 List, to which a record number of companies applied. Along with the brand’s debut ranking, WaBa Grill was recognized as a top five franchise within the competitive Asian Food category. This news closely follows WaBa Grill’s announcement that 2020 was the brand’s best year ever in terms of sales and growth, beating out 2019 which held the previous record. Entrepreneur magazine’s Franchise 500 is the world’s most comprehensive franchise ranking, honoring companies for their exceptional performance in areas such as unit growth, financial strength and stability, and brand power.

“We’re proud to be recognized among the best franchise systems in the nation, it’s a great start to WaBa Grill’s 15th anniversary year,” says Mark Finnegan, Chief Marketing & Information Officer at WaBa Grill. “Our leadership team has been making many enhancements in the areas of operations, development and marketing, and it is thrilling to see our efforts pay off in system growth, an elevated guest experience and our franchisees’ bottom line.”

A variety of factors contributed to the brand’s success this past year including significantly growing digital sales channels which accounted for 25 percent of all business compared to 4.5 percent in 2019. WaBa Grill also unveiled a refreshed mobile rewards app and executed a free delivery promotion in response to the pandemic on all orders placed via the WaBa Rewards App or Wabagrill.com. In addition, the brand’s already strong carry-out and delivery business helped to streamline the systemwide implementation of curbside pickup and expanded third-party delivery integrations with DoorDash, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Postmates.

“Franchises were able to be nimble and innovative, serving the needs of franchisees and customers in ways that will resonate for many years to come,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur. “We believe that, when we eventually look back on this time, we’ll see it as a moment when many brands defined themselves for the future.” 

The key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500 in ranking order.

Finnegan adds, “Surpassing previous sales records year after year is confirmation that WaBa Grill is meeting the need of a growing demand for healthy and affordable dining options. We’re looking forward to bringing the WaBa experience to new markets with the help of franchise partners who are interested in joining a proven concept in the booming healthy fast casual segment.”

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