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National Drive-Thru Day

July 24, 2013

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Profile America — Thursday, July 24th. This is National Drive-Thru Day -- noting the popularity of restaurants that take orders by intercom and then pass the food out a window to the customers wanting to keep on the move. The first such service was the idea of Robert Peterson at a Jack in the Box restaurant in San Diego in 1951, serving hamburgers for just 18 cents. At the time, drive-in restaurants were very popular. The serving staff -- some even on roller skates -- brought food to people who stayed in their parked cars with the meal set on a tray attached to the car. Today, a drive-thru is a feature of many of the more than 216,000 fast food restaurants in the U.S., which employ nearly 3.5 million people, and generate well over $151 billion in sales each year. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at

Sources: NAICS 722211

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: June 30, 2014