Zestos is known for having the best burgers, chicken, ice cream, and service that you will find in Columbia. Come let us prove it. We are locally owned and operated. Continuing reading below to see how it all began.
Zesto was started by entrepreneur and inventor L.A.M. Phelan as a national franchise chain. Phelan was head of the Taylor Freezer Corporation, which in 1945 had developed the “Zest-O-Mat” frozen custard machine, and franchise agreements granted exclusive use of the Zest-O-Mat machines in a given territory under the Zesto name. The first known Zesto Drive-In was opened in Jefferson City, Missouri by its original franchise owner, Lottie Traubtz; dozens more opened in the late 1940s and early 1950s, mostly in the U.S. South and Midwest.
Taylor Freezer Corp, reportedly growing frustrated with managing a retail business and dealing with unhappy franchisees, abandoned the Zesto concept in 1955 and left the remaining franchisees to fend for themselves. Taylor Freezer Corp later became known as Taylor Company, currently a division of Middleby Corporation.
While some former franchisees continued to operate under different names, others retained the Zesto name, and they do so today independently of each other and without support from a governing franchise structure.
The Zesto trademark was first registered in 1985 by Zesto Inc., a Missouri corporation owned by Harold Brown, who purchased and operated the first known Zesto in Jefferson City, Missouri in 1973. The trademark currently belongs to Todd B. Jansa of TJ Group Investments LLC located in Wahoo, Nebraska, who grants exclusive rights to use the Zesto name by territory.