Entrepreneur Franchise 500 listing rank: 289
First investment: $369,836 to $9,603,858
Initial franchise price: $35,000 to $38,000
New models: 5 units (1.5 percent)
Howard Dearing Johnson begun a small Massachusetts drugs store in 1925. He offered treats like ice cream and hamburgers, increasing the variety of restaurants at a steady rate for decades. By 1954, when Howard Johnson opened its initially lodge and commenced franchising them, the enterprise also operated 400 dining establishments.