Telling it


printStories from the Front Lines

Keeping up Appearances
Working at HoJo's

[see large picture]

Howard Johnson’s had the first contract for Turnpike restaurants. It held its employees accountable for a high level of service (in fact, one chapter of the so-called “Howard Johnson’s Bible” was titled “Howard Johnson Waitresses—Your Appearance from Head to Toe”). In “Turnpike Nostalgia” (Kean University’s Findings, 1991), Arthur Shapiro—who spent his teenage years in New Jersey—remembers his pleasure in finding work with the company: “While growing up in mid Jersey [exit 8] during the fifties, I was one of the lucky local youngsters able to land a coveted job on the Turnpike. In the late 1950s that was one of the few places a ‘Central Jersey’ high school student could earn at least a dollar an hour without having to work on a smelly farm vaccinating chickens or pushing a hand mower over some neighbor’s lawn. The job was also prized because it allowed for flexible schedules.”

Howard Johnson’s advertisement, “Happy traveling! with modern highways,” 1950s
Collections of The New Jersey Historical Society, courtesy of Howard Johnson International