10 Restaurant Chains That Flopped


Howard Johnson's

In 1935, Howard D. Johnson opened a roadside soda fountain and restaurant in Orlean, Mass., with borrowed capital and then quickly began selling others the rights to open similar establishments, with Johnson retaining half-ownership and controlling the menu and operation. He found plenty of takers. By 1970, there were 870 HoJo restaurants, mostly concentrated along highways in the northeastern U.S. and adorned with the chain's signature orange roofs and cutesy piemaker-kid-and-dog logo. But HoJo's customers gradually tired of the chain's menu, which was built around chicken, clams, hot dogs and ice cream confections, when other more specialized competitors came along like Friendly's, KFC and Long John Silver's [source: Jakle]. By 2009, the orange roofs had dwindled to just three locations -- Bangor, Maine, and Lake Placid and Lake George, N.Y. [source: Chesto].