Profile America: National Drive-Thru Day

Red's Giant Hamburg - Claimed to be 1st Drive-Through Restaurant

Red’s Giant Hamburg – Claimed to be 1st Drive-Through Restaurant Photo c/o The Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

Monday, July 24 — Today is National Drive-Thru Day, following closely on National Junk Food Day. Today’s occasion celebrates not so much the menu, but the popularity of restaurants that serve customers on the go. The first such service is believed to have been at Red’s Giant Hamburg on Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, in 1947. At the time, drive-in restaurants were very popular. The serving staff — some even on roller skates — brought food to stationary cars, with the meal set on a tray attached to the car.

Today, drive-throughs are a feature of many of the more than 224,000 fast food
restaurants in the United States, which employ over 3.5 million people, and generate more than $185 billion in sales each year.

Profile America is in its 21st year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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