Fast food has been deeply attached to Southern California since its inception.
McDonald’s, Taco Bell, In-N-Out, Del Taco, Jack in the Box and many other chain stores all have their roots in this area.
Taco Bell, Chipotle and others are still based there.
Bob Wian opened the first Bob’s Big Boy in Glendale, California in 1936.
Source: Orange County Registration
Wian is also credited with creating the double burger, which is now a fast food staple.
Wian has had some experience serving customers in their cars since working at Kirby’s Pig Stand, where the auto shops are located, in Texas.
Source: Historic Houston retail store
Bob’s Big Boy has a drive-through service for customers, the forerunner of the drive-through service.
In 1940, McDonald’s brother opened the first McDonald’s Bar-BQ drive-in in San Bernardino in 1940.
That same year, McDonald’s became a walk-in burger restaurant.
By 1955, Ray Kroc joined as a franchisee and he founded the McDonald’s System, the forerunner of the McDonald’s Corporation.
Del Taco and Taco Bell, still competitors today, opened a year apart in 1960 and 1961.
The two restaurants broke away from the fast food mold of hamburgers and fries at the time to sell burritos and tacos.
At the same time these restaurants are growing and expanding, the United States is building its massive highway system.
Source: Federal Highway Administration
According to author and journalist Adam Chandler, American life is redesigned around car culture, and Americans want convenient dining stops to fit that lifestyle.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine
Southern California, in particular, grew on the automobile, which created the conditions for suburban housing, malls, and fast food restaurants to appear.
Southern California is booming financially as the nation’s leader in aircraft and automobile manufacturing and other defense spending.
Source: California Capital Museum
A car-centric culture, spending money on entertainment and the growing demand for fast and efficient food created the perfect storm for fast food to start, propelling the industry forward. throughout the rest of the world.
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Southern California is predicted to develop drive-thrus, which accounts for about 75% of fast food sales today.
Source: National Restaurant News