By Marcus Flores
In the beginning, Roy Allen made root beer. He initiated the first of many A&W franchises in 1919, which allowed Americans to reside inside their first love—automobiles—while being served curbside. And in 1927, a young Mormon missionary and his wife franchised an A&W stand in Washington, D.C., innovating once again by adding hot foods to the menu. That man was John Willard Marriott, and his is the name now perched atop some 3800 hotels.
Mobility is by now interwoven in American DNA; we crave our fast food and would be unable to do without the hotel chains and modern automobiles that enable access to virtually all of the United States.
Yet U.S. cities—concrete jungles, to use an apt metaphor—are far denser and hence competitive than those of yore. Some entrepreneurs have responded by channeling the innovative spirit that once prevailed among the fast food pioneers. By adding a set of wheels to their operation, they have displeased some brick and mortar restaurants who view the mobile invaders as an encroachment on their business.
Is this a legitimate claim? It’s certainly under discussion here in Lexington.