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 Howard Johnson

Howard Johnson

Birth
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 20 Jun 1972 (aged 75)
Milton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Burial Milton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Plot First row of the section where Maple and Balsam intersect. There is a cemetery sanctioned flat gray stone that reads Johnson 412-1 close to the road in front of his stone.
Memorial ID 1876 · View Source
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Ice Cream and Hotel Magnate. Howard Johnson was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1897. He quit school in the eighth grade to work in his father's cigar store. Johnson served in World War I as a part of the American Expeditionary Force. Soon after Johnson's return, his father died, leaving him the business and its heavy debt. He sold the business to pay off the debts in 1924. Johnson then borrowed $2,000 to buy a small corner drugstore and soda fountain in Wollaston, Massachusetts. He sold candy, newspapers, cigars, and medicine˜and he was very successful. The popularity of the soda fountain convinced him that having better-tasting ice cream would boost his business. At first, he used his mother's recipe. Not satisfied with this, he invested $300 in an ice cream recipe from an elderly German immigrant who was retiring. This premium ice cream recipe utilized natural flavors and twice the normal level of butterfat. Johnson began with three flavors, eventually increasing this to twenty-eight flavors. He also sold his ice cream at local beaches to boost business. A local restaurant owner who purchased ice cream from the drug store asked to use the Howard Johnson name on his restaurant. Johnson agreed, which made him the exclusive source of supplies. The restaurant combined a lunch counter, fast food takeout, an ice cream stand, and a sit-down restaurant˜all in one location. Johnson soon began selling franchises of his restaurants. The white buildings trimmed with orange and sea blue became the Howard Johnson trademark. By 1940, Johnson had about 135 restaurants. During World War II, 90 percent of the restaurants closed due to gas rationing. The industrious Johnson contracted to manufacture candy and other goods for the armed forces. After the war, he began expanding his chains nationwide. More Americans were beginning to travel, and Johnson saw a need for better quality motels and hotels to meet the needs of these travelers and their families. Johnson created motor hotels, offering good services and cleanliness. Howard Johnson retired in 1959, leaving the company to his son. However, he continued to monitor his restaurants for cleanliness and proper food preparation, often performing unannounced inspections. By 1965, the Howard Johnson name was to be found on 770 restaurants and 265 motor hotels.
In 1965, sales exceeded those of McDonald's, Burger King and Kentucky Fried Chicken COMBINED! HoJo's was the second largest food feeder in the U.S., second only to the U.S. Army. Then American‚s eating habits changed, the landmark Times Square's HoJo was shuttered at the close of business on July 8, 2005. As of 2006, only five Howard Johnson restaurants and none of the ice cream shops remain in the United States mainly due to increased competition from fast-food restaurants and their low prices. Nevertheless, Howard Johnson made it possible for travelers and families on the go to eat nutritiously and enjoy a higher standard in all aspects of hospitality than was previously available.


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1876
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Howard Johnson (2 Feb 1897–20 Jun 1972), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1876, citing Milton Cemetery, Milton, Norfolk County, Massachusetts, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .