It was the onslaught of McDonald's and the American craze for fast food that eventually overwhelmed the Howard Johnson restaurant chain and condemned it to Chapter Nine - but it should be remembered that it was Howard Johnson who created the market for roadside restaurant franchises; he was the one who dug the canals that McDonald's would flood. For roughly sixty-five years his orange-roofed structures could be seen "from Maine to Florida and as far west as Ohio [and Baldwin Park, California]". The Ho Jo plan is familiar to us today:
"To make sure that the food in every one of his restaurants is exactly the same, the Johnson rule-books are as precise as any army manual. Whether you want fried clams in Manchester or Miami, there will always be from 19 to 21 in a portion, fried at precisely the 375 degrees. Your cup of coffee will always be filled to 3/8 of an inch from the top. An ice cream cone always has the same amount of extra cream dripping over the edge..."
Johnson's recipe for success was simple: good food, served in attractive surroundings. Americans flocked to his restaurants in huge numbers - at one time there were as many as 1,000 in existence (today, there are two). He is largely remembered for having written the book on restaurant franchising.
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