Manufacturer: Scammell China
User: Foster's Cafeterias
Date of plate: 1923 – circa 1954
Notes: Bickford's history dates back to 1922, when Samuel Longley Bickford opened his first Bickford's cafeteria. Throughout the next 40 years, Sam, and eventually his son, Harold, worked to expand their cafeteria chain throughout the Northeast and into Florida and California. In 1959, Bickford's, Inc. had two geographical divisions: the North-East Coast Locations and the South East Coast & West Coast Locations (further subdivided into M&M Cafeterias, Inc. and Foster's Lunch System, Ltd.). The company also had two service divisions at that time: the Hayes-Bickford's Lunch System, Inc. and Bickford's National Food Management Service, Inc.
Foster's Cafeterias were operated under Bickford's Foster's Lunch System, Ltd. subdivision, headquartered in San Francisco, CA. In 1959, there were 28 Foster's Cafeterias & Bakeries in San Francisco and several other locations in the Bay Area, including Oakland, Berkeley and San Mateo. At that time, the Foster's Lunch System, Ltd. also operated the Moar's Cafeteria on Powell Street in San Francisco, as well as the drive-in restaurant and coffee shop of the Cliff House at Seal Beach.
From the 1960s until 1982, the original Bickford's, Inc. saw a significant decline in business attributed to a rise in labor costs, an increase in the crime rate and a cessation of night business. The company's legacy continues in 2008 as the Bickford's Grille with east coast locations in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. 2020 update: The remaining locations seem to be in Burlington and Woburn, Mass.
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