A drive-through, or drive-thru, is a type of service provided by a business that allows customers to purchase products without leaving their cars. The format was first pioneered in the United States in the 1930s but has since spread to other countries. The first recorded use of a bank using a drive up window teller was the Grand National Bank of St. Louis, Missouri in 1930. The drive up teller only allowed deposits at that time period. 
Orders are generally placed using a microphone and picked up in person at the window. A drive-through is different from a drive-in in several ways— The cars create a line and move in one direction in drive-throughs, and do not park, whereas drive-ins allow cars to park next to each other, the food is generally brought to the window by a server, called a carhop, and the customer can remain in the parked car to eat.
Drive-throughs have generally replaced drive-ins in popular culture, and are now found in the vast majority of modern American fast-food chains. Sometimes, a store with a drive-through is referred to as a "drive-through," or the term is attached to the service, such as, "drive-through restaurant," or "drive-through bank."
Drive-thrus typically have signs over the drive-thru lanes to show customers which lanes are open for business. The types of signage used is usually illuminated so the "open-type" message can be changed to a closed-type message when the lane is not available.
- Alcohol at a drive-through liquor store
- Banking services at a drive-through bank
- Postal services at a drive-through mailbox
- Coffee at a drive-through coffee shop
- Dairy products at a drive-through dairy store (notably the Skinner Dairy shops of North-East Florida or Dairy Barn in Long Island)
- Prescriptions at a drive-through pharmacy
- Food or drink at a drive-through restaurant (typically fast food)
- Marriage (primarily at special drive-through marriage chapels in Las Vegas in the United States)
- Funeral home where mourners can drive by and view the remains of their loved ones through windows.
- Pennsylvania State Representative Kevin P. Murphy installed a drive-through window designed to speed constituent service.
A drive-through restaurant generally consists of:
- A speaker and microphone, or a window, for customers to order from
- A speaker and microphone or wireless headset system for employees to hear the customer's order (when a speaker is used)
- A trigger pad beneath the concrete to activate the microphone and headset, possibly augmented with a CCTV camera
- One or more free-standing signs listing the menu items, called a menu board
- Newer drive-throughs feature a LCD or LED display within the speaker system in order to show the full order and total cost to avert order errors through miscommunication. At many Yum! Brands restaurants a secondary display featuring the total is placed directly next to the order window.
- One or more windows where employees interact with customers by taking the order and money and/or giving the customer the order
In-n-Out Burger claims to have built the first drive-through restaurant in 1948. Harry and Esther Snyder, the chain's founders, built their first restaurant in Baldwin Park, California, with a two-way speaker to enable patrons to order directly from their cars without the intermediation of a carhop. Maid-Rite also claims to have had the first drive through window. Other sources cite Jack in the Box as the first major restaurant specifically designed as a drive-through and featuring a two-way intercom. The first Jack in the Box opened in 1951 in San Diego. The drive-through concept was so unfamiliar to people at the time that the Jack in the Box "clown," where the speaker was housed, held a sign saying, "Pull forward, Jack will speak to you."
Sierra Vista, Arizona, was the first city to have a McDonald's drive-through. The first McDonald’s drive-thru was created in 1975 near Fort Huachuca, a military base located adjacent to the city—to serve soldiers who weren’t permitted to get out of their cars while wearing fatigues.(http://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en/our_story/our_history.html) The original McDonald's was closed down and demolished in May 1999 and a new McDonald's replaced it.
In Spain and Russia, McDonald's drive-thru services are often called McAuto.
In the Netherlands, Germany France and other northern European countries, McDonald's drive-thru service is called McDrive.
In Argentina, McDonald's drive-thru service is called AutoMAC.
In 1928, City Center Bank, which became UMB Financial Corporation, president R. Crosby Kemper opened what is considered the first drive-up window. Shortly after the Grand National Bank in St Louis opened up a drive through, including a slot to the side for night time deposits.  On the page 8 of the December 15, 1940, issue of the Syracuse Herald Journal, Merchant's Bank of Syracuse, New York, ran an advertisement for the newly opened "Drive-In Teller Service" located on the side of their bank building on South Warren Street in downtown Syracuse. Westminster Bank, impressed by the concept, opened the UK's first drive-through bank in Liverpool in 1959, soon followed by Ulster Bank opening Ireland's first in 1961 at Finaghy.
In recent years, there has been a decline in drive-through banking due to increased traffic congestion and the increased availability of automated teller machines and telephone and Internet banking. However, many bank buildings now feature drive-through ATMs.
In Mexico some areas of medium-high class have ATM Drive Through Facilities like in Huixquilucan,Estado de Mexico
Pedestrians sometimes attempt to walk through the drive-through to order food after the seated section of a fast-food restaurant has closed. Many establishments refuse drive-through service to pedestrians for safety, insurance, and liability reasons, such as Jack in the Box. Cyclists are usually refused service with the same justification given.  However, in the summer of 2009, Burgerville gave use of the drive-thru window to bicyclists. Similar issues can arise in rural areas for people on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage. 
- ^ Robert J. Sickels (ed), The 1940s, Greenwood Press, 2004, p. 107.
- ^ "Autoists Do Banking From Their Cars" Popular Mechanics Monthly, July 1930, bottom left pg 13
- ^ Hendin, David~~~~ (1973). Death as a Fact of Life. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. pp. 221. ISBN 0393085406.
- ^ "Want fries with that legislative help?". Pittsburgh Post Gazette (PG Publishing Co.). 2009-04-18. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09108/963900-100.stm. [dead link]
- ^ "In-N-Out Burger - homepage". 2008-06-09. http://www.in-n-out.com/history.asp.
- ^ Langdon, Philip, Orange Roofs, Golden Arches: The architecture of American chain restaurants, page 104, Knopf, 1986, ISBN 978-0394544014
- ^ First Drive Thru in Europe in Nutgrove, Dublin, Ireland
- ^ "Autoists Do Banking From Cars" Popular Mechanics, July 1930 - article and photo bottom of page 13
- ^ Ulster Bank drive-though banking history
- ^ See Chude v. Jack in the Box, 185 Cal. App. 4th 37 (2010). In this case, Jack in the Box successfully invoked the California Personal Responsibility Act of 1996 against an uninsured driver who spilled hot coffee on herself in the drive-through, then suffered second-degree burns because the wall of the restaurant prevented her from opening her car door and escaping the hot coffee on her car seat. Under the Act, plaintiff's lack of vehicle insurance barred her from recovering noneconomic damages, which form the bulk of damages in many U.S. personal injury cases. The Court of Appeal reasoned that the burn injury was reasonably related to the operation of a motor vehicle because Jack in the Box, in accordance with its strict policy, would not have served her if she had approached the drive-through window on foot; and because her injuries were exacerbated by the fact she was sitting in a car.
- ^ Live Alive: Burger King Drive-Through Refused to Serve me on a bicycle
- ^ Rose, Joseph (August 13, 2009). "Burgerville to biking mom: No burgers for you!". Oregon Live. http://blog.oregonlive.com/commuting/2009/08/burgerville_to_biking_mom_no_b.html. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
- ^ "We don't do à la CART: McDonald's drive-thru refuses to serve woman in horse-drawn carriage... so she went to KFC". Daily Mail. May 26, 2011. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1390787/McDonalds-refuses-serve-woman-horse-cart--went-KFC.html. Retrieved August 28, 2011.
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