From the March 2007 issue of Entrepreneur

For more on starting a restaurant, including equipment checklists, floor plans, how-to articles and listings of nearly 400 restaurant franchises, visit our Restaurant Center.

Why do so many Americans dream of owning a restaurant, but so few actually make the move? Facing an ultracompetitive restaurant industry and an overwhelming list of tasks, most would-be restaurateurs chicken out before you can say "soup's on."

That's where franchising comes in. In perhaps no other industry has franchising, with its standardized training and proven methods of operation, had such a huge effect. Thanks to the power of franchising, food businesses offering pizza, hamburgers, chicken, sandwiches and doughnuts have become household names. New restaurant franchises are always entering the market in hopes of becoming the next big thing. Consequently, franchises are available to suit practically every prospective restaurateur's dream.

That's what we aim to serve with our listing of the top 106 restaurant franchises for 2007, presented in category order according to Entrepreneur's Franchise 500®, the world's most comprehensive ranking of franchise companies.

This ranking is not intended to endorse, promote or recommend any particular franchise company. Rather, it's a tool for your franchise research, which should include interviews with existing franchisees, counsel from your attorney and accountant, and reviews of literature, including the Uniform Franchise Offering Circular.