> > > >

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 243 (223)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 243
Page 243

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 243

Station System Refreshment Vending

The General Operating Essentials of a Widely Used Selling Method Are Discussed With a Specific Case

The refreshment stand has become firmly established as an integral part of every progressive drive-in theatre operation not only because the provision of an attractive concession area where a variety of tasty snacks are available helps to further patron goodwill, but also because confection sales form a sizeable percentage of total revenue. As a matter of fact, refreshment receipts may well make up for admission losses on nights when attendance is down for one reason or another.

Due to its overwhelming importance in a successful drive-in venture, eflicient refreshment stand operation has been a subject of intensive study within the industry. After a considerable bit of the same painstaking experimentation which has accompanied the development of every phase of modern drive-in theatre operation, two principal methods of concession stand vending have evolved and are currently in use in outdoor theatres today.

The first of these is the ifstation system," under which the customer is generally served all merchandise and money collected for his purchases at one point of sale; in most cases, at least some of the food is prepared at this same point. The second method, which will be discussed at length in a subsequent article in this volume, is the cafeteria system, under which the customer often serves himself various foodstuffs at diderent points along the counter and pays for his food at one central point, usually a cashier at the end of the line.



Slur iManufacluring Company

BRIEF: Entertainment and eating have long been intimately linked together in the public mind . . . and the drive-in theatre has an excellent opportunity to capitalize on this natural association . . . It is not only the open air that whets the appetites of one and all to encourage refreshment sales . . . The drive-in, always draws a large number of children eager for snacks.

Concession areas . . . erected to answer the wants of hungry patrons with a neat extra profit for the drive-in theatre . . . have been operated in a number of ways . . . A notable popular method is the station system . . . whereby a customer is usually taken care of completely by one attendant . . . The following article outlines the requirements for this kind of operation . . . as exemplified by a typical stand with an ideal set-up for e$cient service.

Just as there has been heated debate over the respective merits of various types of screens and projection lamps, so has there been considerable controversy over the question of which one of the above systems best fulfills the needs of efficient drive-in refreshment stand operation. No definite answer can be found to the problem because the question itself is a highly moot one. Since each system has its distinctive good points, the burden of responsibility rests

upon the drive-in owner in selecting the one which appears to fit his particular requirements best.

However, the writer might venture to say that, as a general rule, the station system is better suited to smaller operations, While the cafeteria type may be used oftentimes to even greater advantage in larger theatres. Nevertheless, many exceptions may be found to the foregoing statement, so it by no means should be construed as a hard and fast rule. Again, it is up to the individual operator to decide which method appears to be most suitable for his own situation.


In order to give the reader a complete understanding of the layout, function, and operating efficiencies to be sought in a profitable station system, a refreshment stand in a typical SOD-car MidWestern drive-in has been selected for discussion and analysis in this article.

While this particular stand combines all of the basic requirements for sound and profitable operation which must be incorporated into any concession area that purports to be successful, peculiarities and conditions of diderent localities will, of course, necessitate variations in detail in other stands. This single example does, however, contain the

Figure l. A TYPICAL STATION OPERATION, that may be considered as double in most departments. From left to right are a combination sandwich unit complete with steamer and griddle. two hot dog steamers and roll warmers, a counter type deep (at fryer. and a large popcorn machine.
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 243