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The History of Fast Food Chain Jack in the Box

Jack in the Box, one of America’s leading fast-food hamburger chains, is known for its on-the-go convenient service, its wide variety of value-priced menus and highly personalized customized meals.

The first Jack in the Box restaurant was opened by Robert O. Peterson in 1951 in San Diego, California. With a drive-thru window, an intercom, and a jack in the box clown on the roof, Peterson catered to roadside motorists going into the city with hamburgers at a mere 18 cents. Operating under the parent company, (San Diego Commissary Co. but later changed to Foodmaker Co.), more Jack in the Box restaurants opened in Phoenix, Arizona and Houston and Dallas (Fort Worth) in Texas in 1960.

By 1968, Ralston Purina had assumed control and operation of Foodmaker Co. and started expanding to other markets, notably the eastern and Midwestern areas. There were more than a thousand Jack in the box outlets by the year 1979; and a little more than two hundred would be added in the same year when Foodmaker decided to expand to the western and southwestern markets as well.

In 1985, Purina was bought out by an investment group that included some of members of the Foodmaker’s management team. Going public two years later, Foodmaker was acquired by another investment group that converted it to a privately owned company by 1988.

Foodmaker was offered to the public again in 1992 at $15 a share. The success of this public offering allowed he company to launch various and highly successful advertising campaigns that solidified Jack in the Box restaurants’ hold in the fast food business. Foodmaker Co. decided to drop all other businesses and concentrate on its Jack in the Box concept. Changing its name to Jack in the Box Inc., the parent company embarked on a continuous expansion program.

With over 2,100 fast food restaurants in 18 states, Jack in the Box is the first major fast food chain that adapted and modernized the concept of drive-thru dining. Built with facilities for in-door dining as well, most Jack in the Box outlets are open 18-24 hours a day, seven days a week. From the simple menu of hamburgers, French fries and milkshakes, Jack in the Box restaurants now offer a wide variety of reasonably priced food products such as breakfast and specialty sandwiches, salads, tacos, real ice cream shakes, “stealth fries” and of course real sirloin burgers. With Jack in the Box’s assemble-to-order program, you can be sure that you will get your orders fresh and hot from the kitchen; you can even have your meals customized as Jack in the Box restaurants are there to suit your needs.