OPINIONOperations

Which restaurant brand really invented the drive-thru? Here are some clues.

Restaurant Rewind: It's a mystery with no fewer than five claimants to the title of innovator.

Drive-thru lanes veered beyond the fast-food business during the pandemic, meriting at least a road test by restaurant concepts of all stripes. Time will tell if the trend continues, but the convenience’s newfound prevalence underscores a question for students of the business: Who came up with the idea of car-window service in the first place?

This week’s edition of the Restaurant Rewind podcast takes on the question, which proves more difficult to answer than may have been expected. Host and Restaurant Business Editor At Large Peter Romeo looks at no fewer than five claimants to the title of drive-thru inventor, from McDonald’s to The Pig Stand.

The look back into the industry’s past may not have yielded the definitive answer, but it provides a look at the surprising source of the confusion.

Download the installment for an intriguing slice of industry lore.

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