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When Did McDonald’s First Have A Drive-Thru?

Pig Stands Incorporated first introduced the drive-ins in 1921. By the 70s, the drive-ins were replaced by the drive-thru in the United States. But did you know where and when did McDonald’s have their first drive-thru?

The first McDonald’s drive-thru was installed in a branch based in Sierra Vista, Arizona, near Fort Huachuca. This was primarily installed to serve military service members who were forbidden from wearing their uniforms outside their vehicles.

The History of the Drive-Thru

Modern-day drive-thrus actually originated from the classic drive-in. Pig Stands Incorporated started the whole fad in 1921 on the Dallas-Fort Worth Highway. The company had the tagline America’s Motor Lunch. The concept of the drive-in was simple, and the restaurant had their diners park up by the establishment, place their order and eat their food at the wheel.

During the 1920s, people started buying cars, and the drive-in restaurant business was booming. These restaurants became the next big thing, and business owners began innovating better ways to serve their clientele.

By the 1940s, drive-thru banks and grocery stores started and were commonly found. This eventually influenced the owner, Sheldon Chaney, of Red’s Giant Hamburg to create the very first drive-thru in 1947. The restaurant was a down-home joint just along Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri. Chaney initially had a gas station in the space and then converted it to a restaurant. Unfortunately, Chaney had to close his business in 1984.

In-N-Out, another burger chain, followed Red’s footsteps and started their drive-thru in 1948. Harry and Esther Snyder, the founders, went with the tagline; No Delay. They did rather well for themselves that their business is thriving up until today. (Source: Love Food)

The Rise of the McDonald’s Empire

The very first McDonald’s opened in 1948 in San Bernardino, California. It was a joint effort by brothers Maurice “Mac” and Richard McDonalds. The duo purchased most of their equipment from a restaurant salesman named Ray Kroc. He wondered why the two needed several malt and shake mixers. Kroc was very intrigued by their requests that he visited them. He found out that the brothers were producing a massive amount of food and selling it for low prices.

Ray Kroc saw a lot of potential in the business. He offered the brothers a franchise program. By April 15, 1955, Kroc opened the first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. In the same year, he registered the restaurant as a corporation and bought out the brothers by 1961. (Source: Britannica)

McDonald’s First Drive-Thru

Mcdonald’s started their drive-thru game in 1975, and this was much later than most popular burger joints. The first drive-thru created was located in Sierra Vista, Arizona, near a military installation. The branch catered to military service members who were not permitted to get out of their cars while wearing their uniforms.

Every year since then, the fast-food chain grew bigger and expanded internationally. Today there are 700 drive-thrus all across the United States, which is 65% of the total number of stores open today. (Source: Small Business Chron)

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