Food Shops Bring Back Carhops On Skates

Q: What’s got eight wheels and fries? A: A roller-skating carhop.

USA TODAY reports that carhops – particularly skating ones – are making a mini-comeback in the ultracompetitive world of fast-food dining.

Call it a cultural backlash to the ultratechy, assembly-line world of fast food and drive-throughs that spit out orders faster than you can say, “Hold the pickles.”

As summer approaches, two chains, Sonic Drive-In and Ruby’s Diner, are re-embracing roller-skating carhops whose jobs are as much to entertain experience-hungry customers as to roll out the grub.

Last week, the 48-unit Ruby’s opened its first location with skates-wearing carhops whisking folks their orders. A week earlier, Sonic rolled out a national ad campaign featuring four roller-skating employees who brag about the chain’s food and fun – as Sonic attempts to return to its skating roots.

It’s a point of distinction “with a nostalgic twist,” says Annika Stensson, a spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.

The idea is to offer enough of a twist to get someone to steer into a Sonic or Ruby’s instead of the familiar and far more heavily advertised McDonald’s.

Photo by Ruby’s Diner.

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