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From In-N-Out to Burgerville: A Historic Drive-Thru Timeline

We spend $110 billion in the drive-thru lanes of fast-food joints each year, but burgers and shakes aren’t alone in getting the grab-and-go treatment. A brief history of our resistance to getting out of the car.

From In-N-Out to Burgerville: A Historic Drive-Thru Timeline
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1948 – In-N-Out Burger opens in Baldwin Park, California. The fast-food drive-thru is born.

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1953 – Roller-skating carhops become a signature at the first Sonic drive-in.

1953 – The First Christian Church of Daytona Beach converts a drive-in theater into the first drive-in church.

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1975 – Soldiers from Fort Huachuca were forbidden to get out of their cars in army fatigues. McDonald’s solves the problem by opening its first drive-thru in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

1989 – Grieve on the go? Chicago’s Gatling’s Funeral Home introduces a drive-thru viewing option.

2004 – McDonald’s and other chains begin outsourcing order taking. You may be eating in Wyoming, but the person you’re ordering from is in Los Angeles.

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2006 – A Subway in Mentor, Ohio, implements touch-screen ordering in the drive-thru.

2009 – Pennsylvania Representative Kevin P. Murphy unveils a drive-thru office to speed up dealing with constituents.

The Burgerville chain opens its drive-thru to bicyclists.