World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0002059746
Reproduction Date:

Title: Carhop  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: History of McDonald's, 1950s American automobile culture, Roller skating, El Cajon Boulevard, Stewart's Restaurants
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Carhops on foot

A carhop is a waiter or waitress who brings fast food to people in their cars at drive-in restaurants. Usually carhops work on foot but sometimes use roller skates, being depicted in movies such as American Graffiti and television shows like Happy Days.

The first carhops appeared in 1921 when automobiles were beginning to be a common sight in Dallas, Texas. Two men, a businessman named J.G. Kirby and a physician named R.W. Jackson decided to take advantage that many people owned cars and more were coming. They realized that many of the drivers would rather not get out of their cars to eat. They opened a restaurant called the Pig Stand, which had male carhops from its inception. The A&W corporate website actually claims to have opened the first carhop restaurant in 1923, just two years after The Pig Stand initiated carhops.

The name "carhop" came from the practice of the waitress or waiter jumping up on the running board of a patron's car rolling into the parking lot.[1] This car hopping showed that this particular car was that server's car, as tips were the main income of these waiters and waitresses. Women replaced male carhops, as during World War II, when most men were in the war, restaurants discovered that a pretty face sold more food.[2]

Now carhops are only featured at a few remaining original drive-in stands and nostalgic fast food establishments. The few remaining drive-ins are mostly in small towns with local ownership. Sonic Drive-In still uses carhops as servers to customers, with over 3,400 restaurants available. There has been a resurgence, with some franchises cashing in on the nostalgic aspect and tapping into the memories of the baby boomers.

Traditional carhop costume

The uniforms of early carhops were important, as many drive-ins were competing and something eye-catching was seen as gamesmanship. There was often a military, airline, space age or cheerleader theme, or any other concept an owner thought would bring customers in.

A carhop was the most prominent image on the poster for the film American Graffiti. They were also often seen in the first two seasons of Happy Days.

See also


  1. ^ p.34 Hinckley, Jim & Robinson, Jon G. The Big Book of Car Culture 2005 Motorbooks
  2. ^ Koutsky, Kathryn Strand; Koutsky, Linda Koutsky & Ostman, Eleanor (2003). Minnesota Eats Out: An Illustrated History. Minnesota Society Press. p. 134. 

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.