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updated 10/15/2012 7:23:21 AM ET 2012-10-15T11:23:21

It can be difficult to think of franchising as an innovative endeavor, when adding avocado to a sandwich may be considered a game-changing move. On the surface, franchising is all about the status quo and attempts at repeatability--making incremental changes that can be replicated across hundreds of units.

But more often than you'd think, something new bubbles up from the franchise world. New concepts, new ways of doing business and new technologies create the little ripples that have transformed franchising many times over the last few decades. It's hard to predict what concept or technology will be the next big winner, but we think the four companies profiled here stand a chance.

A designated-driver franchise that utilizes smartphone technology. Read More »

Rather than expand to a full-spectrum pest-control business, Bed Bug Chasers expands within its niche. Read More »

The 6,000-pound retail shop can be pulled by a large pickup truck to wherever potential customers may gather. Read More »

The organic pizza franchise wants its eco-friendly mission to exist subtly in the background. Read More »

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