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A carhop is a waiter or waitress who brings food to people in their cars at drive-in restaurants. Usually car hops work on foot but sometimes use rollerskates. The popularity of movies such asAmerican Graffiti and shows like Happy Days created a misconception of carhops as exclusively roller skaters.
Carhops originated in the late 1930s when drive-in eateries were devised to draw in a more mobile society. It started as pull-up service to drug stores and eating establishments and was found to be a very effective way to draw customers. The name "carhop" came from the practice of the waitress or waiter jumping up on the running board of a patron rolling into the parking lot. This car hopping showed that this particular car was that servers 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.
Now carhops are only featured at a few remaining original drive-in stands and nostalgic fast foodestablishments. 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.
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 theme, airline theme, space age theme or cheerleader theme along with any other whim an owner thought would get customers.
Our local drive-inn, been there for almost forever, used to be a A & W rootbeer stand back in the day, this was supper the other night, Olive cheese burger, onion rings and a ice cold root beer in a mug.
they have room for about 14 under cover and another dozen out in the lot,
the carhops only wear a special T-shirt to id them, the other drive in that is now a ice cream shop used to be Millies Aloha, the girls would wear grass skirts over there slacks or shorts and a t-shirt that one is more of a square building with a flat roof and back in the 1960's on friday nights they would have one of the local bands playing setting up on the roof!