1. It's been around for more than 60 years.
If you can't remember a life without Jack in the Box, you're in good company. Most of us haven't lived one, since the very first Jack opened up in 1951 in San Diego. Sorry, East Coasters: Those delicious burgers and inexplicably addicting tacos haven't made it to your side of the country yet.
2. A burger used to cost 18 cents.
While Jack in the Box's burgers are not ridiculously expensive nowadays, we're pretty sure the only thing you could score for such a low price is a handful of fries - and by that we mean like 5 shoestrings.
3. Its founder pioneered the drive thru.
Robert O. Peterson, the founder of Jack in the Box, is basically a fast food legend. Though the drive thru was not new, Peterson revolutionized the experience by incorporating a two-way intercom system after he obtained the rights from another restauranteur in isolated Alaska. Once he saw how successful the intercom model was, Peterson made sure that all his future restaurants had the system too, thus making drive thru a staple in fast food chains.
4. Jack in the Box has always been ahead of the game.
The chain was also the first to introduce some menu items that you probably order all the time: breakfast sandwiches and portable salads. The company introduced the first breakfast sandwich to the fast food industry in 1969 and the first portable salad in 1982.
4. The Jumbo Jack was a giant in its day.
The Jumbo Jack (Jack's version of a Big Mac) got its name because it was considered one of the largest burgers in the fast food industry when it was introduced in 1971. The burger stayed untouched for years until 1999, when ketchup was added and special sauce was nixed.
5. Some of its best creations are long gone.
Though we're huge fans of all menu items that Jack offers now (looking at you jalapeño poppers and seasoned curly fries) there are some items that we definitely miss (or wish we could have tried, you know, for those of us that weren't around for Woodstock). In 1970, Jack sold a special fish sandwich called Moby Jack, and in 1979, the company served Frings, a combination of onion rings and french fries. To be honest, we still don't quite understand why they did away with those.
6. It's been selling all-day breakfast forever.
Unlike other fast food chains that took their sweet time to give us all day breakfast - ahem, McDonald's - Jack in the Box has served its morning food all hours of the day since they first introduced a breakfast sandwich in 1969.
7. There used to be locations in every part of the country.
Years ago, you could have lived on the east coast or midwest and still enjoyed a delicious Jack in the Box burger every once in a while. By 1979 the company grew to more than 1000 restaurants, and expanded east but quickly closed 200 of those locations when they realized that Jack in the Box would be more successful in the west and southwest.
8. The chain has so many locations.
There are more than 2,200 restaurants in 21 states and Guam. (Yeah, we're asking ourselves why Guam and not New York, too.)
9. People really love their tacos.
If you learn just one thing about Jack in the Box, it should be that their tacos are mesmerizing and polarizing. Whether people love them or hate them, everyone seems to have a very strong opinion about the greasy mystery meat-filled tortilla pockets. The fascination with the tacos is so intense even the Wall Street Journal wrote about the power these little tacos have on people. According to Jack in the Box's website, 1,055 tacos are eaten each minute, adding up to a total of 554 million per year. The company uses 20 million pounds of corn to make the tortillas and hands out about 600 million packets of taco sauce every year. So clearly, whether the tacos look vile or not, people are eating them. Plus, they're 2 for $1, and nothing is more irresistible than cheap.
10. There's a reason the tacos have weird marks on them.
You're not imagining the little brown flecks on your Jack in the Box tacos. They're actually grill marks resulting from the chain-linked conveyor belt that moves the tortillas through a 700-degree oven before the tacos are assembled.
11. Jack in the Box has memorabilia in a fancy museum.
They may have some really low-bar tacos in all their restaurants, but that doesn't mean Jack in the Box doesn't have class and culture. The restaurant has two panels from a vintage speaker box that show mid-1960s products and pricing in an exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. The panels are part of the museum's exhibit, FOOD: Transforming the American Table 1950 to 2000 and are featured in the "New and Improved" section, which explores how science and tech have changed the food industry.
12. There once was a Jack in the Box boy band.
Back when Backstreet Boys and N'Sync were cool AF, Jack in the Box decided to put together its own boy band, for commercial purposes, of course. The group was known as The Meaty Cheesy Boys, and they were legit enough to have their own website and commercial. In fact, they were so legit, they got invited to the 1999 Billboard Music Awards where they performed "Ultimate Cheeseburger."
13. Dennis Hopper worked there.
Before Dennis Hopper made a name for himself in movies like Easy Rider, Blue Velvet, and Apocalypse Now, he was flipping burgers at a Jack In The Box in La Mesa, California.
14. The chain started an intense McDonald's rivalry.
The original Jack was a clown-like figure on top of the speaker box at every Jack in the Box location. In 1980, the company decided to launch a campaign that tried to lure in young "yuppies" - the opposite McDonald's family demographic. In order to do this, the company literally blew up the mascot in one commercial and had several other commercials that compared their new products to those at McDonalds, essentially trying to start some beef with Mickey D's.
15. Jack, the fictional founder, CEO, and pitchman debuted in 1995, and he's a total character.
The current Jack in the Box mascot that we're used to (the ping pong-headed guy with a pointy yellow hat and slick suit) made his debut in 1995 when he came to take back his rightful place in the company. Since then, the advertising people at Jack in the Box have run with the character and given him an entire background. He has a last name for example - it's Box - and according to his California drivers license, he's 6'8" (without the hat) and weighs 195 pounds. His birthday is May 16. Jack is also fluent in English and Spanish and has starred in more than 2,200 English and Spanish language TV and radio ads since 1995 (he's done a commercial in Mandarin, too). Over the years we've also met the important people in his life like his wife Cricket, his son Jack Jr., and his parents.
16. Jack's also an effective politician.
Jack ran for president in 1996 and beat out Bill Clinton, Bob Dole, and Dogbert (a popular cartoon character) in a national, independent, virtual poll. In 2008 fans waged an online campaign in support of him running again. Here's to another Jack for President campaign in 2020.
17. He's also kind of a celebrity.
In 2009, Jack appeared in the annual Tournament of Roses parade in Pasadena and presided over the opening bell at NASDAQ commemorating Jack in the Box Inc. transferring its listing from the New York Stock Exchange to NASDAQ.
18. The "Jack's Back" campaign has been going on forever.
It's the longest, ongoing advertising campaign in the fast food industry. Started in 1995 with the appearance of CEO Jack, it's now going on 22 years. The campaign has been so successful that it's won several awards.
19. Jack was once a Pez dispenser.
Awards and NASDAQ bell ringing are cool and all but the most awesome thing that has ever happened to Jack is when he became a Pez dispenser in 1999. Since he's been around, Jack has been turned into tons of toys and knick knacks, and more than 5 million premiums bearing his likeness have been sold.
20. The chain made antenna toppers a thing.
When Jack in the Box rebranded and introduced the current CEO Jack, people were quick to hop on the merch train. The most popular Jack in the Box-themed item was weirdly an antenna topper made of Jack's head. Since 1995, more than 32 million antenna balls have been produced. Different hats and accessories have been added to the Jack antenna toppers over the years for various holidays and occasions, including party hats, earmuffs, and football helmets.
21. The company tried its hand at fast-casual.
In 2004, the company tried its luck with the fast-casual trend (think Chipotle) and introduced JBX Grill, a fancier version of its traditional restaurants with higher quality, cafe-style food options. Regular Jack in the Boxes were converted to JBX Grills in San Diego and Bakersfield, California, and Boise and Nampa, Idaho. Unfortunately the fancier Jacks weren't a hit, and the company decided to stick to its regular concept
22. It once was involved in a huge E. Coli scandal.
Before the world freaked out over the Norovirus outbreaks at several Chipotle locations, fast food fans were terrified of severe E.coli outbreaks at Jack in the Box. In 1993, the company suffered from a huge outbreak that killed 4 kids and made more than 500 people gravely ill. The outbreak was quickly traced back to undercooked patties, and since, Jack in the Box has made sure to cook all its food to the proper temperatures to avoid any other health scares.
23. It holds a Guinness World Record.
The company earned a coveted Guinness World Record with a giant BOGO coupon for their Buttery Jack burgers. In order to qualify for the record though, the 8 story tall coupon (thats 2,000 feet, folks) had to be redeemed (otherwise is it really a coupon?). In order to do this, 12 record attempters, led by Jack, of course, took the coupon to a local restaurant. Naturally, the coupon couldn't fit through the doors, so Jack redeemed it by taking it through the drive thru, where the cashier could scan it through the window. After the stunt was over, Jack in the Box fans could cash in on the BOGO by showing cashiers at their local Jack a picture of the coupon on their phone. Basically it was a huge win for everybody.
24. The company also has a hand in Tex-Mex.
Given Jack in the Box's track record with trendsetting, it seems unlikely that they wouldn't tune in to our obsession with fast Mexican food - which is why it should come as no surprise that they also own Qdoba. So whether you're munching on some $1 Jack in the Box tacos or some more "traditional" fare at Qdoba, you can thank Jack in the Box in general for having your back with the bomb food all the time.
25. It's getting fancy with brunch.
Again tuning in to our weird food obsessions, Jack in the Box recently debuted brunchfast, their own take on the insanely popular mealtime. Menu items include a grilled French toast plate, a brunch burger, and a southwest scrambler plate. It's definitely not as fancy as your typical brunch, but when you're on a tight budget, it'll do just fine.
26. It has fire memes.
Whoever does social media for Jack in the Box deserves a raise because the chain's Instagram is filled with tons of fire memes that not only make you want to eat their food, they also make you LOL (literally). Observe:
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