You'll find them in just about every little town in the United States.  Some of them are part of giant corporations with tens of thousands of locations worldwide.  Others are but a small kitchen with a woman who's lived next door for 50 years doing the cooking.  Whether they are tiny or huge, new or old, whether they are short lived or last forever, the restaurants we choose to eat at are a part of our history.  This is a small list of their history.




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Franchising started during the Civil War, when the Singer Sewing Machine Co. figured out a way to grow its retail operation without spending its own capital. Singer sold 'franchises' to local operators who then built and maintained their own stores while selling the manufacturer's products.

In the early 1900s car manufacturers adopted the same system and sold franchised dealerships all over the country. They were followed by the oil companies, who franchised gas stations to fuel the cars.

In 1924, two entrepreneurs named Allen and White gave all those new drivers a destination—a franchised chain of A&W Root Beer drive-in restaurants.  Thousands of other restaurants began franchising soon afterward.  Franchising is a very useful tool in building a brand.


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