From the March 2001 issue of Entrepreneur

In our current economy, the battle may not always go to the strong, but the race does often go to the swift. Certainly when it comes to franchising, in the race to establish territories, speed is as significant a factor to franchisors as it is to dotcoms.

Who's the swiftest of the current crop of franchises? Which franchise will be gaining on McDonald's or Mail Boxes Etc. a year from now? While we don't have the technology to fast-forward and find out, we've done the next best thing: We've calculated the franchises that have grown the fastest over the past year.

On the following pages, we've listed the fastest-growing franchises in the United States. Ties are listed alphabetically. Rankings are based on growth in the number of franchises from 1999 to 2000 as verified in Entrepreneur's 22nd Annual Franchise 500®.

This ranking isn't intended to endorse any particular franchise but to provide a starting point for research. Read all the company's literature and its Uniform Franchise Offering Circular (UFOC), call and visit existing franchisees, and consult an attorney and an accountant. It's better to take your time during the research phase before you get on a fast track of your own.

For a look at the nation's 100 fast-growing franchises, click here.