National Drive Thru Day

National Drive-Thru Day is a holiday that celebrates what is arguably one of the most iconic American inventions: the drive-thru. The drive-thru started as a way to deliver food more quickly to hungry Americans and has since been used to deliver just about anything and everything imaginable, including alcohol, medications, or even funeral services. All the more reason for people to observe this holiday on the 24th of July and celebrate a truly American holiday.

The History of National Drive-Thru Day

National Drive-Thru Day was created by Jack in the Box on July 16, 2002. This fast-food restaurant lobbied for July 24th to be made into an official holiday. In their petition, they state that Jack in the Box helped to pioneer the fast-food drive-thru in 1951 when they sold 18-cent hamburgers through a two-way intercom located in their parking lot.

The History of the Drive-Thru

Although Jack in the Box may have helped popularize the drive-thru restaurant, they weren’t the first to use it. The first drive-thru in the U.S. was a restaurant named Red’s Giant Hamburg on Route 66 in Springfield, Missouri, in 1947. Up until 1984, that made this restaurant one of the longest-running burger drive-thru establishments in the U.S., but they closed that year. They have since reopened as of 2019, but now the title for the longest-running burger drive-thru is In-N-Out Burger in Los Angeles. That restaurant opened in 1948.

The first burger chain to use a drive-thru was Jack in the Box. In 1951, they opened a drive-thru to sell their 18-cent burgers. Although their burgers are now considerably more expensive than 18 cents each, they do quite a lot of their business through the drive-thru nowadays. It’s been estimated that approximately 85% of their business is either to-go orders or drive-thru orders.

Facts About the Drive-Thru

If you’re looking for a wealth of information on drive-thru establishments, then you’ve come to the right place. We have a ton of information about this particular way of serving food, alcohol, medicine, or handling financial transactions. And we’re going to share some of the facts we know about it below.

  • On average, about 70% of fast-food is served through drive-thru windows.
  • The first McDonald’s drive-thru appeared in Sierra Vista, Arizona, in 1975.
  • According to research, the fastest drive-thru restaurant service as of 2021 was Wendy’s.
  • Wendy’s averages about 130 seconds for a drive-thru order.
  • As of 2021, the slowest drive-thru service was Burger King—with an average wait time of 3 and a half minutes.
  • There are now drive-through strip clubs, prayer booths, art galleries, gun stores, and law firms.

Observing National Drive-Thru Day

National Drive-Thru Day can be observed by visiting your favorite drive-thru. You can go through the drive-thru of your favorite fast-food restaurant to get food, or through your bank’s drive-thru to handle a financial transaction. You can even go through the drive-thru of your local pharmacy if you want. While you’re observing this holiday, just be sure to use the hashtag #NationalDriveThruDay on your social media accounts to spread the word about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
July 24 Wednesday
Next year (2025)
July 24 Thursday
Last year (2023)
July 24 Monday
Food & Drinks