Hey, it can’t all be gold out there. While there are plenty of viable franchise opportunities out in the world, there are some that you should avoid at all cost. This is no knock, mind you, on what these franchisors are attempting to do; it’s just a frank admission of the realities facing their business and their franchisees.

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So, what are the franchises that you should avoid? We consulted Forbes, which has a definitive list of the worst performing franchises in the U.S.

Let’s take a look.

  1. Country Kitchen

If you haven’t noticed – and we’ll be covering this with the next franchise, too – customers’ expectations with respect to restaurants are evolving rapidly. Country Kitchen is a restaurant franchise that serves comfort food. Sounds good, right? Well, the initial investment is over a million dollars, and the training required is lengthy. Pop over to their website to get a feel. If that doesn’t look like a backward-facing business to you, then we don’t know what will.

  1. Dippin’ Dots

Depending upon where you live, you may or not be familiar with Dippin’ Dots. Those who love this strange take on iced cream will swear by it. Everyone else? Not so much. Franchisees report that they receive the bare minimum in terms of support. What’s more, with everyone concerned about the food they eat these days, deconstructed ice cream pellets seems like a bad racket to be involved with.

  1. Curves

Of all the franchises on this list, you’re likely the most familiar with this one. Despite the fact that Curves is relatively well known, it’s one of the worst performing franchises in the country. This likely has a lot to do with the competition it faces from other health-related companies, which grow more numerous by the day.

  1. Parable

This business sets up franchises that sell Christian-themed books and other forms of media, either through brick-and-mortar stores or online. That may seem easy enough, but the startup costs may surprise you, as they’re well over $100,000. For that substantial of an investment, franchisees only receive a day’s worth of training.

  1. Realty World

This is a franchise business that, as you might guess from the name, is involved in the real estate sector. Forbes reports that this business has been contracting at a rate of about 21 percent per year. Obviously, real estate has been a volatile market of late, but the fact that Realty World provides poor support to its franchisees may be a factor, too.

  1. SuperCoups

The market of businesses that provide discounts already full up, and SuperCoups is one of the businesses that seems likely to get left behind in the dust. A simple look at their website, which looks about a decade old, will tell you everything you need to know about this business. Forbes reports that this business has been shrinking at a rate of about 22 percent per year.

Buyer Beware

If you want to understand how easy it can be to get taken for a ride when you’re a franchisee, just take a look at the way these businesses advertise themselves to prospects. It’s worth doing, because as a prospective franchise owner, you need to be able to see through the hype.

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As always, make sure you’re conducting thorough research and identifying the most viable franchise opportunities. Make sure, too, that you’re giving those franchise disclosure documents the in-depth readings they deserve.