In the 1920s, the roadside restaurant industry emerged.  Before World War I, automobiles were less common and there were few opportunities for getting meals on the road.  Between 1920 and 1930, the number of automobiles in America rose from eight million to twenty-three million and along with the increase came thousands of barbeque shacks, ice cream stands and diners.  These restaurants and stands catered to motorists, travelers and tourists, like the Howard Johnson ice cream stands that popped up in Boston in the mid-20s, later evolving into the hotel and restaurant chain.

In 1921, two men—J.G. Kirby and Dr. Reuben W. Jackson—revolutionized the restaurant industry.  They introduced the first drive-in restaurant known as the Texas Pig Stand—a barbeque-themed curbside service located off a busy highway in Dallas, Texas.  Customers sat in their automobiles as “tray boys delivered barbeque pork and Coca-Colas.  J.G. Kirby once said, “People with cars are so lazy they don’t want to get out of them to eat.”

In 1919, a man named Roy Allen was introduced to a delicious root beer recipe.  Soon after, he opened up a small root beer stand on a busy corner in Lodi, California.  By the end of the year he had successfully made a name for himself quenching the thirst of Americans in the height of prohibition.  By 1920, the stands evolved into multiple outlets around California with a full car-hop service, adopting it’s name as it is still know today, A&W (combining the first initial of the owners’ last names Allen and Wright). Years later, the company turned into the nation’s first chain drive-in restaurant with 171 restaurants across the U.S. in 1933.