Re:Could HoJo's Come Back? (Should It)
To respond to the question as it was presented in the thread title, The answer is No, HoJo's could not make it in todays fusion-crazy menu-expanding complex resturant service arena (IMHO.)
The original concept of uniformity in food service, menu, quality, and price was the core of the H.J. business operation. As the public took to the highways for travel in the Post WWII years, the threat of food issues -- poisoning, sanitation, pricing and individual quality, and taste differences, caused real concern for those who were taking to the road. HoJo's solved that with the uniform operating system where ever they were. People KNEW what to expect and what it would cost, a real change of pace for the concerned traveler.
Today we Roadfooders, and many others, search for that "jewel" of a food-source that represents the "Old Days" of individual tastes and food offerings that could bring great pleasure to the traveler...BUT, HOW many times have we selected a "Loser" in the search for Nirvana. For many folks who do not have the time or desire to explore the world of Roadfood, a place like HoJo's, or more recently McDonalds, Cracker Barrel, Subway etc etc provide solid food, of no great merit, but they are a known entity to the traveler, and that in itself is their value. I cannot count the number of times that I have jumped off a freeway to use the drive-thru at a FF stand, and return to the road within minutes of leaving it...because the trip was focused on "getting there"...NOT on what happened on the road. HOJO's lubricated those skid-marks...but only with a very generic menu. Today's market is pickier, fussier, and much too complex to allow a HoJo bland food stand to exiest.