National Drive-Thru Day will be on Saturday, July 24th this year. For over 90 years, drive-thrus have been a convenient way to get a meal on the go. During the pandemic, many businesses and restaurants were forced to adapt and find ways to remain open and serve food without allowing customers inside restaurants. As many non-fast food restaurants added curbside pick-up or modified their drive-thru service, the drive-thru became more heavily relied on during the last year.
According to Food Truck Empire, restaurants averaged 60%-70% of their revenue from drive-thru business prior to the pandemic. During COVID, some businesses approached 90% of their business from drive-thrus.
Drive-thrus have come a long way and they are still advancing with new methods and updated ways to get large numbers of cars through their windows in a short period of time.
- Originally developed in the U.S. for banking services, people have enjoyed drive-thrus since the 1930s.
- In-N-Out Burger in Baldwin Park, California had the first two way intercom system.
- The drive-thru reached its iconic zenith in the 1950s but has stayed strong through the 60s, 70s, and beyond.
- Drive-thrus also resulted in changes to car storage designs as people were eating in their cars more often. Cup holders and glove compartments were created to help drivers eat easier with one hand. Before the 1980’s, car storage was not prioritized.
- Businesses have implemented express drive-thru if you use mobile ordering on their app.
- If you have a card on file, the restaurant will remember your name and previous orders to help make transactions quicker.
- There are 101,811 fast food restaurants in the United States as of 2021.
- Starbucks has great healthy options like protein boxes, egg bites and breakfast meals.
- Taco Bell is one of the healthiest fast food chains with modifications like fresco, grilled instead of fried, and vegetarian.
- Plant-based “beyond” meats are becoming more widely available in fast food chains like Carl’s Jr., Burger King, and Dunkin’.
- In 2018, Chick-fil-A mastered this arena with a 97.3% order accuracy.
- In some states, you can get married in a drive thru chapel.
How to celebrate:
- Try a new drive-thru or visit your favorite.
- Look for drive-thru day deals. Many drive-thru restaurants offer fun specials to celebrate this special day.
- Post your drive-thru photos to social media using the hashtag #NationalDriveThruDay