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For one day of the year, National Drive-Thru Day encourages folks to live on the wild side. Forget about buying locally sourced produce, organic vegetables, and getting those five a day. Honestly, sometimes there just isn’t the time or energy to cook good, nutritious food from scratch, and on National Drive-Thru Day it’s a great time to take a short-cut without feeling guilty!

History of National Drive-Thru Day

The concept of the drive-thru restaurant has its roots in its slightly older cousin, the drive-in. These restaurants began on the sides of highways, where motorists could pull up, order, and have their food brought to them so they could eat it in the car. In fact, the first restaurant of this kind opened in 1921 in Dallas, Texas, was Kirby’s Pig Stand.

As driving (and eating) evolved, car ownership in the US increased, and fast food became even faster, the demand for a faster version of the drive-in was made clear. Just after World War II, the first drive-thru restaurant became a reality, when Red’s Giant Hamburg was opened in 1947. This iconic spot was situated in Springfield, Missouri, right on the famed Route 66.

National Drive-Thru Day has been around for more than 70 years, as its origins can be traced back to 1951. The day got its start when it was founded by the Jack in the Box restaurant in San Diego. Although modern Jack in the Box restaurants now offer options for dining in, at the time the only way customers could order up their burgers and fries was by driving up in a car. And so they established a day to show appreciation just for this convenience!

Since then, A&W, In-and-Out, Sonic and so many other drive-thru chains have made their way into America’s hearts – and stomachs. And National Drive-Thru Day is the perfect way to celebrate this blast from the past and enjoy an old-fashioned burger, hot dog or root beer float!

How to Celebrate National Drive-Thru Day

Have loads of fun filling up the car with friends so everyone can head over to the drive-thru. Whether it’s burgers and fries or tater tots and shakes, there’s so much deliciousness to enjoy on National Drive-Thru Day, with some of these activities:

Enjoy Some National Drive-Thru Day Deals

One great way to take advantage of National Drive-Thru Day would be to find out which national chains or local drive-thru restaurants are offering discounts and deals in honor of the day. Check out some chains that have offered freebies or bargains in the past, such as Sonic, Krispy Kreme, A&W and many others.

Visit the Original In-N-Out Drive-Thru

Coming just a year after the first drive-thru in the US was opened was In-N-Out, which was established in 1948. The difference is that In-N-Out offered an extra benefit: a two-way speaker box for ordering and this genius invention was vital to the continuation of the concept. The chain grew and developed with modern times and it is still around today, with more than 350 locations in at least seven states.

The original In-N-Out location that was built in Los Angeles, California in 1948 was, unfortunately, required to be closed down to build a highway. However, in 2014, a replica was constructed in its place – it’s not a working restaurant but it does allow folks to enjoy a photo opportunity!

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