The first restaurant in which visitors independently extracted food and drinks from vending machines was opened in Philadelphia in 1902 under the brand Horn & Hardart. Ten years later, the same automatic restaurant became the landmark of New York Times Square:




Visitors purchased special tokens:

And run them into the machine, choosing one of the dishes of a simple range. As follows from the information indicated on the postcard of the 1930s, fifty such restaurants were opened in Philadelphia and New York:

The very idea of a vending machine came to America from Germany (one of the creators of the Horn & Hardart network, Frank Hardart, was of German descent), but, like in many other similar cases, it was only in America that the idea really blossomed.

Since the 1950s, automatic restaurants Horn & Hardart have experienced increasing competition from other fast food chains. The last Horn & Hardart in New York was closed in 1991. The atmosphere of this place can be felt today only with the help of cinema, for example, the movie of 1962 That Touch of Mink, in which one of the heroines works in Horn & Hardart (watch from 5:45)

Following in chronology, the “icon” of American fast-food is White Castle’s restaurants, with famous five-cent hamburgers:

The first White Castle was opened in Kansas in 1921. Hamburgers were not only cheap, but also quite tiny by American standards. And, besides, also square (today they are called “sliders”):

But inside the staff still retained the traditional “cook” look:

Restaurants Whte Castle exist to this day, mainly in the states of the Midwest. 
Well, the crown of creation – Mcdonald’s, founded by brothers Maurice and Richard McDonalds in 1940. Real fame came to this institution after it was acquired in 1954 by Ray Kroc. A small café shop selling hamburgers and milkshakes in San Bernardino, California, has been transformed into a ubiquitous fast food chain. The name of the previous owners Krok decided not to change. By 1961, the McDonald’s franchise empire, with its own production of ingredients and a characteristic “golden arch” symbol, spread its influence throughout the country.

In 1972, a significant event occurred: McDonalds overtook the American army in terms of food turnover.

The peak of growth of fast food restaurants in the United States fell on the years 1965-1974, during which time their number in the country doubled.

Other famous fast food chains in the USA and the years of their creation:

Dunkin ’Donuts – 1950

KFC — 1952 

Burger King — 1954 

Sbarro — 1956

Pizza Hut — 1958 

Taco Bell — 1962

Subway — 1965

Domino’s Pizza — 1965