In 1948, Richard and Maurice McDonald transformed their San Bernadino, California carhop drive-in hamburger stand into the ancestor of all today's fast food restaurants by limiting their menu to just a few items. The self-imposed constraints enabled them to focus on extreme efficiency to serve customers their food… fast. However, McDonald's didn't invent the fast food drive-through. That honor goes to Jessie G. Kirby, proprietor of the Kirby's Pig Stand that opened in Dallas, Texas in 1921.
From Open Culture:
In Fast Food: The Fast Lane of Life, the History Chanel documentary above, the president of Texas Pig Stands says that the chain's founder Jessie G. Kirby "was famous for his quote of saying that people with cars are so lazy that they don't want to get out of them to go eat. That prophecy proved to be very true." Even as the spread of car ownership across America and then the world made drive-through fast food into a viable proposition, it put (and continues to put) greater and greater pressure on the businesses to deliver their product in shorter and shorter times.
"Beyond the challenges of technical hardware that delivered things fast, the industry had to deliver a pipeline to deliver the food," says the documentary's narrator. "Throughout the eighties, the burger giants set about designing a network of suppliers that could deliver millions of tons of foods to thousands of restaurants at exacting standards of uniformity."