4 Facts about the History of Fast Food Drive-Ins

Jan 05 , 2022

Jarrett Webster

4 Facts about the History of Fast Food Drive-Ins

Drive-ins and fast food are a significant component of American culture and cuisine, dating back many decades.

The drive-in is a restaurant where people can drive in and park their vehicles for food service and is considered an American classic. Drive-in restaurant customers can park their cars so they can be served by a waiter or waitress who walks — or in some cases, roller skates — out to take their orders and return with food served on trays that hook to your car window, encouraging patrons to remain parked while they eat. 

Want to learn more about the exciting history of fast-food drive-in restaurants? Continue reading below.

4 Interesting Facts About the History of Fast Food Drive-Ins

  1. Over a Century Old — Back in 1921, just over 100 years ago, a man named Jesse Kirby opened a restaurant in Texas. Just three years later, nine more locations had opened, and they were selling over 50,000 hamburgers and other sandwiches every week. In running his business, Kirby learned that more and more people owned cars and wanted to stay in them to eat, so he introduced the concept of the drive-in and carhop.
  2. The Carhop — The carhop, a name derived from the term bellhops that work in hotels, is a server who brings out fast food to those parked in their cars at drive-in restaurants. As previously mentioned, most carhops work on foot, but many joints had their staff working on roller skates. You've probably seen movies or TV shows like American Graffiti or Happy Days depicting this. Most carhops were men, but women replaced men during World War II since most American men had to leave their jobs to join the military.
  3. Drive-Throughs — The intense popularity of drive-ins lasted well through the 1950s. But during the 1960s, carhop services significantly diminished as drive-through options at fast food joints gained traction. Though, you can still find some drive-in places here and there where the nostalgia still lives on. 
  4. Fun Hang Out Spot — Between the 1920s and 1950s, the local drive-in was a popular hangout spot. It was the perfect gathering place for families and friends, young and old alike — especially if you had a beautiful car to show off. Eating good food with great company, listening to music, and checking out everyone's rides was considered a good time.

Stop By Iceberg Drive Inn Today!

If you want a classic and authentic drive-in experience, stop by Iceberg Drive Inn today! 

Since 1960, our tried-and-true recipes, like our mouthwatering Famous Thick Shakes, fresh sandwiches, hamburgers, hotdogs, tasty sides, and unparalleled customer service make for an ideal family-friendly environment. With more than 17 Iceberg locations with drive-ins in Arizona, California, and Utah, you can enjoy our friendly service and delicious food whenever you want! Take a look at our menu and stop by the original Salt Lake City location or Sandy, Syracuse, Fillmore, St. George, Pleasant Grove, Riverton, or inside the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah today. One taste, and it's a tradition!