On January 24, 1975, McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru window in Sierra Vista, Arizona near an Arizona military base— to serve soldiers who weren’t permitted to get out of their cars while wearing fatigues. This service gave Americans a fast, convenient way to procure a quick meal. The company’s goal was to provide service in 50 seconds or less. Drive-thru sales eventually accounted for more than half of McDonald’s systemwide sales.
In May 1999, that historic location closed forever so that a new McDonald’s restaurant could open next to it.
The first McDonald’s drive-thru is being torn down and replaced by a parking lot to serve the new McDonald’s.