> > > >

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 246 (226)

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition
1950-51 Theatre Catalog
1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 246
Page 246

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 246

Cafeteria Systems for Drive-Ins

Notable Speed-Up in Refreshment Sales Effected With Less Help Required and Better Cash Control

Every drive-in operator knows and appreciates the far-reaching importance of concession stand sales as an indispensable adjunct to receipts at the boxofiice. As a matter of fact, refreshment sales have come to loom so large in the outdoor theatre profit picture that effective food merchandising methods are receiving as much concentrated study as insect control, better projection, traffic handling, and the many other problems which arise in connection with drive-in operation.

In recent months, considerable interest has been exhibited by the industry in the adaptation of a cafeteria type of vending system to drive-in food service as a replacement for the traditional station system type of operation. The former type, long in use in restaurants, operates on a more or less self-service basis and might well be said to apply to the purchase of food the same general principles of individual selection and central collection of funds on which modern super markets operate. Under the station system type, of course, just as at the corner grocery store, the customer is served at an individual counter by a clerk who procures the desired goods and often collects the money directly at the point of sale.

For a number of reasons which will be discussed in this article, the popularity of the cafeteria type of system is growing by leaps and bounds. For example, it is reasonable to estimate

By PHILIP L. LOWE Theatre Candy Company. Inc.

that 95% of the new drive-ins built during 1950 in the New England area had cafeteria type refreshment stands, and throughout the rest of the nation many other top-night operators are converting their old type refreshment stands to the cafeteria type. In the process there has been a major swing away from economy of space and equipment, for theatre operators are finding that to economize by building a small refreshment stand with a minimum of equipment is the poorest of frugality.


Larger Volume of Sales

A cafeteria system will give the drivein operator greater sales because it allows him to do more gross business in a shorter selling time with its quick selfservice type of operation. This is an absolute necessity in an outdoor theatre which runs two features with an intermission between them, or in any singlefeature one which has a break at any time during the show when the majority of patrons leave their cars and come to the concession area to purchase refreshments.

Under a cafeteria system more purchases per person may be chalked up because all the items on sale are pre THIE WAREHAM DRIVE-IN of 550 cars servos a small town summer resort in Massachusetts and uses a Emerita stand. Signs encourage its patrons to "Serve Yourself" and direct them to the "Cashier." hue oods are prepared in the back room and are passed through an opening for storage in counter eaters.- Racks. of trays head.each sell-service line and are easily slid alonq the extra 6-inch lip ot the 30-:nch wrde counter. This theatre serves popcorn. french fries, hot dogs and even pizza pies which are specmlly stored in a pizza oven. Service is quick and efficient with a minimum stall.

sented to the view of the public, and no person can go through the cafeteria line to buy what he originally had in mind on his way to the stand without being exposed visually and physically to all the other items which are offered for sale. There is definite proof that when people are so exposed to a wide variety of items, they will inevitably pick some of them up. The same open displays and mass merchandising techniques which the Woolworth Company uses so successfully are equally effective in a cafeteria system in attracting customer interest and increasing sales.

Less Skilled Help

Under a station system type of refreshment operation, each attendant is a food preparer, server, and moneytaker. Only skilled help are able to perform all three tasks quickly.

In a cafeteria system, however, trained food preparers are needed to fix the food, but the food servers need not be skilled personnel. They are merely helpers who bring the food from preparation areas to the display and selling points and assist the public in picking the food up. Although the cashiers must be skilled help also, all of the service, as pointed out above, can be done by untrained help, who may be easily used in other jobs around the theatre during "oar periods. Since the servers far outnumber

BRIEF: The preceding article has been devoted to one popular type of drive-in refreshment stand operation . . . station system vending . . . The following survey treats a relative newcomer to the outdoor theatre concession field . . . the cafeteria system . . . Each of these two systems has its respective merits . . . and it is the aim of the editors of THEATRE CATALOG to review them both . . . so that the drive-in operator may take his choice of the one which he feels best suits his purposes.

The cafeteria system . . . like all innovations . . . has met with its due share of controversy . . . as shown by the heated debate which raged over it at both the 1950 TESMA and TOA conventions . . . In any event, the cafeteria system has made its presence felt . . . and has swept like wildfire across many sections of the nation . . . There are

. . of course . . . valid reasons behind its phenomenal upsurge in popularity . . . and the following article points up a good many of them.

Written by a prominent camly conh pany executive . . . who has installed cafeteria systems in many of his own drive-in operations . . . this authoritative treatise covers such important matters as: special advantages . . . and other considerations . . . of the cafeteria system . . . choice selling items . . . and equipment needed.

1950-51 Theatre Catalog, 9th Edition, Page 246