The franchise model has been a major player in the success story of modern American consumer capitalism, and can be summed up in one word: McDonald's.
Make no mistake, however. While popular as an investment opportunity with entrepreneurs, franchises face all the typical market pressures associated with large, publicly-traded corporations (which many franchise parent firms are). These pitfalls include fads turning on a dime after a period of rapid over-expansion; market saturation with everyone chasing the last great idea when it's too late; a consumer class shifting in preferences; and disruptive models that don't get identified until it's too late.
Some high-profile franchises have traveled from fast track IPO to bankruptcy court —and the timeline between both is much shorter than you'd expect. Still, some have rebounded and made an astounding business comeback. Either way, financial fragility is a serious issue for entrepreneurs considering business opportunities.
Read ahead to see how 10 famous U.S. franchises faced serious challenges and in some cases, even extinction. Yet they did manage a comeback, to varying degrees of success, and some as part of still-evolving turnaround stories.
—By Nicholas Duva, Special to CNBC.com
Posted Sat. Nov. 1, 2014