1. Howard Johnson’s
In the 1920s, Howard Johnson’s became a fast food pioneer, developing many techniques commonly used today, like large-scale grills. During its heyday, there were over 1,000 Johnson’s locations nationwide. Believe it or not, it was actually the largest chain of restaurants during most of the ‘60s and ‘70s. HoJo’s, as many people lovingly referred to it, also became famous for its iconic buildings with orange roofs.
However, as Howard Johnson’s paved the way for McDonalds or KFC, those companies started focusing on smaller menus and lower costs, allowing them to offer a cheaper dining experience. “The downfall of Howard Johnson’s was ultimately their competitors. Friendly’s had their ice cream, KFC was all about fried chicken, and in comparison, HoJo’s was just too basic,” one critic stated. Ultimately, HoJo’s ended up selling off and closing down almost all its locations in the 1900s.