J.Willard Marriott, who had moved away with his business partner Hugh Colton and his wife Alice from Utah to Washington DC, started the brand new start-up company in 1927, when he operated a curb side food stands selling A&W Root Beer in the Columbia Heights neighbourhood of Washington at 14th Street and Park Road NW. He would later rename the food stand The Hot Shoppe, adding Mexican food items to the menu. Marriott’s business expanded to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1934, shortly after which the company started its food services division. During Second World War, the business expanded to include the management of food services in defence plants and government buildings, such as the US Treasury. Then in the 1950s, Hot Shoppes, Inc. started providing food services to public Schools and to Children’s Hospital in 1955, a contract which they held for 35 years.
Marriott’s restaurant chain grew, and the company went public in 1953. In 1957, he expanded his business to hotels, opening the first Marriott hotel—actually a motel, the Twin Bridges Motor Hotel—in Arlington Virginia. The company became Marriott, Inc., in 1967. Two large chains were added to the group, the Big Boy family restaurants in 1967 and Roy Rogers family Restaurant in 1968.
Over the years, Marriott’s company interests expanded. Continuing with food services, Marriott eventually invented airline in-flight food service. This segment of their enterprise continues to be a large part of their business, providing food services to many major airlines. Ultimately, Hot Shoppes, Inc. changed its name, becoming the Marriott Corporation in 1967.
In 1976, Marriott opened two theme parks called Marriott’s Great America in California and Illinois. The parks had replicas of the first Hot Shoppes. Both parks were sold in the mid-1980s. In 1980,[ the company purchased the Howard Johnson’s restaurant chain and acquired Host International in 1982. By 1984, Marriott had formed a vacation Time- Share division, now called Marriot Vacation Club International, and a senior-living division. In 1988 they purchased all 91 Wag’s restaurants from Walgreen’sCorporation, but dissolved the chain in 1991.
The Marriott Corporation ended its existence as a single company in 1993, when it was split into two separate entities: 1) Marriott International Corporation, which operated the hotel and lodging aspect of the business and Marriott Vacation Club International, and 2) Host Marriott Corporation, the new name for the original Marriott Corporation and operating the Marriott Food Services Management. The last Hot Shoppes restaurant, located in the Marlow Height’s Shopping Center, closed on December 2, 1999.