World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Robert Oscar Peterson

Article Id: WHEBN0027122601
Reproduction Date:

Title: Robert Oscar Peterson  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Jack in the Box
Collection:
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Robert Oscar Peterson

Robert Oscar Peterson
Born 1916
San Diego, California
Died April 19, 1994
San Diego, California
Nationality American
Known for Founder of Jack in the Box restaurant chain
Spouse(s) Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor

Robert Oscar Peterson (1916–1994) was an American businessman and philanthropist. As the founder of the Jack in the Box restaurant chain, he popularized the drive-through fast food restaurant concept. He is credited with being the first to pair the drive-through window with an intercom system for greater efficiency.[1]

Personal life

He was a native San Diegan and graduated from Hoover High School in 1933. He attended San Diego State College and graduated from UCLA with a degree in economics.[2] He was a naval intelligence officer during World War II.[3] He was married four times, notably (in 1977) to Maureen O'Connor, who went on to become the first female mayor of San Diego from 1985 to 1992; this was his only marriage not to end in divorce.[4] The former mayor was at his side when he died in 1994.[4] He had four children by his previous marriage to Lorraine Bhalla, none of whom went into the restaurant business.[2]

Restaurant career

Peterson entered the restaurant business in 1941 with a drive-in diner called "Topsy's" (later renamed "Oscar's"), located at 6270 El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego. This was a classic drive-in where food was served by carhops to patrons in the parking lot. Over the next decade his company, the San Diego Commissary Company, operated several Topsy's and Oscar's restaurants throughout San Diego, including a flagship Oscar's at Midway Drive and Rosecrans Street in the Midway area. In 1951, he converted the Oscar's on El Cajon Boulevard into the first Jack in the Box,[5] a drive-through with the innovation of a two-way intercom that allowed one car to place an order while another car was being served. Other restaurants had previously offered drive-up window service, but Jack in the Box was the first major chain to make drive-through windows the focus of its operation.[6] Since the concept was unfamiliar to most customers, the speaker (topped with the trademark clown) had a sign that announced "Pull forward, Jack will speak to you!" The Jack in the Box restaurant was conceived as a "modern food machine" and was designed by La Jolla master architect Russell Forester, who also designed Peterson’s landmark home in Point Loma in 1965.[7]

Peterson built the chain to over 300 locations. He renamed his company Foodmaker in 1960 and sold it in 1967 to Ralston-Purina. By that time, the "drive-thru" concept had become an industry standard.[4]

Later life

He spent the final 30 years of his life in philanthropy and civic improvement. He was a consistent patron of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, sponsoring research for many years, and donating the 96-foot diesel yacht Dolphin to the institution in 1973.[8] Peterson Hall at UC San Diego is named in his honor.[9]

In 1984, he was diagnosed with leukemia. He battled the disease for the next 10 years until his death in 1994 at the age of 78.[4]

References

External links

  • Find A Grave
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.