From the May 2011 issue of Entrepreneur

They're the A+ students of the franchise world--the overachievers who never settle for being just one of the best. No, these franchises aren't content unless they're at the head of the class, and that's just where they landed this year: on Entrepreneur's Best of the Best list. Here you'll find the franchises that didn't just rank in the Franchise 500®--they ranked at the top of their respective industry categories.

Related: What Makes a Franchise Great?

Keep in mind as you review this list that even the best franchise isn't always the best fit for everyone. To find out whether an opportunity is right for you, read the Franchise Disclosure Document, consult with attorneys and accountants and talk to current and former franchisees. You'll never regret investing extra time in getting to know a franchise before investing your money.

In the interest of getting to know our Best of the Best franchises better, we asked some of them to share some views on their philosophy for success and just what makes them stand out from the crowd. Look for their insights throughout the list.

A Recipe for Greatness
One thing all our Best of the Best companies seem to agree on is that you can't have a great franchise without great franchisees. But what makes a great franchisee? Here's what a few of them had to say:

"A great franchisee is so much more than someone who looks good on paper. [They need] an analytical mind, an engaging personality and an instinct for connecting with people." --Alan Storry, VP of franchise development, Regis Corp. (whose brands include Supercuts)

Automotive

 

Business Services

 

"A person who will work within the box and yet can think outside of it." --Jim Olson, director of franchise development, Novus Glass

Children's Businesses

 

Financial Services

 

"We like entrepreneurs who are hands-on and very involved with their business. Our team operates that way, and when our owners share that passion and commitment, we all succeed." --Jim Bennett, director of franchise operations, Mr. Payroll

Food/Quick Service

 

Food/Full-Service Restaurants

 

Food/Retail Sales

 

"A great franchisor has the ability to see things through the franchisees' eyes, and a great franchisee can see things through the franchisor's eyes." --Mark Dawson, president, Glass Doctor

Health

 

Home Improvements

 

"We are not looking for the next sale--we are searching for the next successful and satisfied franchisee."
--Julie Standish, president and CEO, CompuChild

Hotels & Motels

 

Maintenance

 

Personal Care

 

Pets

 

Recreation

 

"The days when you could sell a couple of franchises to the person next to you on a cross-country flight are back."
--Bill Buckley, president, Coffee News
 

Retail

 

Services

 

Tech