A drive-in is a facility such as a restaurant, or movie theater where one can literally drive in with an automobile for service. It is usually distinguished from a drive-through. At a drive-in restaurant, for example, customers park their vehicles and are usually served by staff who walk out to take orders and return with food, encouraging diners to remain parked while they eat. At a drive-through restaurant, conversely, customers wait in a line and pass by one or more windows to order, pay, and receive their food, encouraging them to take their meals elsewhere to eat.
In the German-speaking world, the term is now often used instead of "drive-through" for that kind of service. In Japan, the term refers to a rest area. In France, this term has become popular because of American movies showing that kind of service, and more recently due to the expansion of fast-food restaurants.
The first drive-in restaurant was Kirby's Pig Stand, which opened in Dallas, Texas, in 1921. In North America, drive-in facilities of all types have become less popular since their heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, with drive-throughs rising to prominence since the 1970s and 1980s.
In popular culture 
As a symbol of the 1950s, the drive-in is featured in many films or series about this period. In American Graffiti, the beginning of the movie takes place front of a drive-in, while in Happy Days, the "Arnold's Drive-In" is one of the main locations.
See also 
- Wells, Dick. "SRMA Update", in Street Rodder, 12/98, p.298.
- Jones, Dwayne. "What's New with the Pig Stands—Not the Pig Sandwich!"
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