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Franchise Frenzy Booming industries and landmark court cases put franchising in the fast lane.

By Janean Chun

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Someday in the future, when people look back on the time line of franchising, they'll likely recall 1996 as a turning point. New trends, concepts and ways of operating were springing up left and right; meanwhile, in the legal arena, franchisors and franchisees alike were rocked by a series of surprising events. Here, a look at what's new . . . and what the future may hold.

Now that rotisserie chicken, bagel and coffeehouse franchises have gone from new kids on the block to industry staples, what concepts will emerge in 1997? After spending considerable time combing through industry data, compiling a massive database and going to sleep with visions of franchise trends dancing in our heads, we've chosen a few concepts that are emerging from the pack:

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