What started 100 years ago with the establishment of the first White Castle in Wichita, Kan., — the fast-food restaurant — has grown to be an integral part of the American foodservice industry. Here are a few other selected important dates in the history of quick-serve restaurants:
1940: The first Dairy Queen opens in Joliet, Ill.
1950: The chain now known simply as Dunkin’ makes its first donuts in Quincy, Mass.
1952: Harland Sanders sells his first Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise.
1955: Ray Kroc opens his first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Ill., based on the concept originally developed by Dick and Mac McDonald in California.
1958: Besides being the home of the first White Castle, the first Pizza Hut opens this year in Wichita.
1962: The first Taco Bell opens in Downey, Calif.; it sells its first franchise two years later.
1965: Originally known as “Pete’s Super Submarines,” the first outlet of what would later become the Subway chain opens in Bridgeport, Conn.
1967: After 20 years operating a diner, S. Truett Cathy establishes the first Chick-fil-A restaurant in Atlanta.
1969: Dave Thomas opens the first Wendy’s restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.
1983: Capitalizing on America’s increasing interest in ethnic cuisines, the first Panda Express debuts in Glendale, Calif.
1993: The first Chipotle Mexican Grill opens in Denver.
The stories on the following pages will show some equipment ideas that are perfect for a quick-serve — or any other type of — restaurant.