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There are obvious special cases where doing technology in house works great, but for most companies, outsourcing is key.

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Dominic Flis cannot pinpoint one particular day that was the best ever for his family's Little Rock, Arkansas-based Burger King operation. But naming the worst day ever is painfully easy: There are two. “The day my Mom passed away and the day my Dad passed away,” he says, in 2007 and 2009, respectively.

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‘The kids' first solid food was baked potato,' jokes Sally Myers, half of the husband-and-wife pair who have grown their Sizzler empire to 23 stores. Sally got an early start, learning from her father in the booth where he always held a seat open so a guest, busboy or VIP could join them. Today their firm, BMW Management, is the ultimate driven machine.

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Close your eyes and bring yourself on a virtual journey to your last eye exam. After filling out the insurance paperwork, an assistant brings you down a hall and into a dimly lit room with the big machine front and center.

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The future is officially here, and it's smothered in mozzarella cheese. Domino's Pizza and Ford, through a home-state partnership in Ann Arbor, Michigan, have teamed up on a live-action research project that's resulted in the world's first pizza deliveries made by fully autonomous cars.

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When Carty Davis works with clients of C Squared Advisors, the investment banker and franchise advisory firm he co-founded in August 2016, he's not spouting abstract theories. Rather, he's employing practical know-how based on decades in the restaurant business—and especially 15 years in the barbershop.

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Will Dean, CEO and founder of the extreme Tough Mudder endurance events, is broadening his portfolio beyond the now-infamous obstacles such as Arctic Enema and Electroshock Therapy—which are basically what they sound like, but safe enough to insure—into the cutthroat world of franchised fitness.

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“The moment I saw it I fell in love with it, because no one wants to clean their fryers,” declares Lauren Wanco, a franchisee since May for Filta Environmental Kitchen Solutions in Las Vegas, a mobile service that handles the dirtiest of restaurant jobs.