Orange roofs of Howard Johnson restaurants were as much a part of the American tableau of the 1950s and 60s as were wide skirts, rock n’ roll and Russophobia.
Howard Deering Johnson (1897-1972) started out in Massachusetts in 1925 with a soda fountain. Competition was tough but he bumped up sales with his own concoction of high-fat vanilla and chocolate ice cream that quickly became popular; business boomed. Within a few years he opened additional stores, pioneering the franchise concept.
By the 1960s and 1970s, Howard Johnson’s was the largest restaurant chain in the U.S., with more than 1,000 units. He and his son, Howard B. Johnson, also opened motels beginning in 1959. Today, Wyndham Worldwide owns Howard Johnson motels and the rights to the name. Only a handful of the restaurants operate in the U.S.
How many HoJo restaurants and motels can you remember in Fort Lauderdale? Was it the ice cream or clam strips that brought you back? Copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. Jane Feehan.
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1. Fort Lauderdale Daily News, Feb. 3, 1950
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