Zesto Drive-In

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Zesto Drive-In
Industry Food
Founded 1945
Products Fast food, including hamburgers, french fries, ice cream, banana splits, and homemade/ hand blended milkshakes

Zesto is a licensed trademark owned by TJ Group Investments, LLC and currently used by a significant amount of independently owned restaurants and independent franchise chains who sublicense the trademark to franchise owners. Until 1955, Zesto Drive-In was a chain of drive-in restaurants, owned by Taylor Freezer Corp, featuring ice cream and frozen custard. Several of the original restaurants operated under the chain continue to operate independently today using the trademark, but many of the original and newer restaurants are not drive-ins.


Zesto was started by entrepreneur and inventor L.A.M. Phelan as a national franchise chain. Phelan was head of the Taylor Freezer Corporation, which in 1945 had developed the "Zest-O-Mat" frozen custard machine, and franchise agreements granted exclusive use of the Zest-O-Mat machines in a given territory under the Zesto name.[1] The first known Zesto Drive-In was opened in Jefferson City, Missouri by its original franchise owner, Lottie Traubtz;[2] dozens more opened in the late 1940s and early 1950s, mostly in the U.S. South and Midwest.

Taylor Freezer Corp, reportedly growing frustrated with managing a retail business and dealing with unhappy franchisees, abandoned the Zesto concept in 1955 and left the remaining franchisees to fend for themselves.[3] Taylor Freezer Corp later became known as Taylor Company, a division of Carrier Commercial Refrigeration, which is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit owned by United Technologies.

While some former franchisees continued to operate under different names, others retained the Zesto name, and they do so today independently of each other and without support from a governing franchise structure.

The Zesto trademark was first registered in 1985 by Zesto Inc., a Missouri corporation owned by Harold Brown, who purchased and operated the first known Zesto in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1973. The trademark currently belongs to Todd B. Jansa of TJ Group Investments LLC located in Wahoo, Nebraska, who grants exclusive rights to use the Zesto name by territory.

Current Territorial Locations[edit]


  1. ^ Court of Civil Appeals of Texas (May 20, 1953). "Patrini v. McAninch". Patrini v. McAninch. Findacase.com. Retrieved September 4, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Zesto's History". Zestodrivein.com. Retrieved September 5, 2011. 
  3. ^ "About Zesto Atlanta". Retrieved September 4, 2011. 

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