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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 392 (354)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 392
Page 392

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 392

The size of the stand will be determined by the size of the theatre, the patronage that it draws, and the job the exhibitor wants to do.

Serving Plan

Largest bone of contention among designers of drive-in snack stands, and one that is by no means buried as yet, is in the area of counter design.

Three different types are in general use, and each has its champions and detractors. Fifty-three percent of the theatres feature the old-fashioned counter-style operation, where a customer comes to any spot along the counter, tells the attendant what he wants, is served by that attendant, and pays him.

Twenty-seven percent of the operators, many of whom started with counterstyle set-ups, have switched to a iistation" arrangement. In this plan, each attendant works a station which oifers every item available in the stand. Each station contains a popcorn machine, beverage dispenSer, candy case, etc. The customer approaches the handiest station, and is waited on by its attendant.

Cafeteria Style

The most modern arrangement, and one to which many stands are being converted, is the cafeteria layout, now featured in 20 percent of the drive-ins. In this setup, the customer enters a line, passes displays of all merchandise for sale, makes his selection, and pays a cashier at the end of the line. Experience has proved that the cafeteria system, where used, is capable of serving more patrons in a given period of time than either of the older systems. However, in order to do justice to all three schools of thought, it would be well to give pros and cons of each system:

Counter: Prevents duplication of displays, and centralizcs operation, is easiest and least expensive to install. On the other hand, it increases the work of the attendants, who must cover all parts of service area. It creates customer discontent because of crowding confusion of order of service, and longer time needed to fill each order. There is poor money control, too.

Station: Serves more, people, easier and faster than the counter system. It offers

BEFORE the sun goes down. the crowd begins to gather at the modern drive-in. Many come for sandwich suppers, boxed meals. or after dinner dessert. First show attracts couples wilh children.

the possibility of reducing service at slack periods by closing some of the stations, and makes possible personal selling by attendants. On the negative side, it is more expensive to operate because of duplication of services and equipment.

Cafeteria: Moves customers faster, and offers advantages of visual selling as all merchandise is seen by all customers. It cuts down on personnel required to handle large crowd, since counter men to restock displays and cashiers are only people needed, and gives the best possible control of the money situation. On the other hand, it leads in some cases to slight losses from pilferage, and cannot be run by a onehman shift in case of a minimum crowd.

Modifications Possible

There are, of course, modifications of these systems possible. Some theatres use a semi-station setup, with attendants working each station and serving customers, but turning all money in to central cashiers. Some cafeteria styles use two lines, one on either side of a center display area. Others feature four lines, working lines on each side of two center displays.

Where the cafeteria system is used, installation of a turnstile at the head of the line and rails along its length tends to cut down on the major objection to this style setupvpilferage. Placement of candy and gum stock under the close supervision of the cashier also helps eliminate this objection.

Tables for condiments, salt, pepper, mustard, pickle, catsup, and other items made available as a service should be placed away from the lines of stand traffic. In buildings where space affords it, condiment counters can be placed along the. inside walls, serving also as eating areas. In other places, it has been advisable to put such tables outside, to pull patrons already served away from the heavy-traffic spots.

Determination of which. style operation is best suited to the individual theatre will depend on a good many considerations. In general, however, the counter

setup is least desirable, with most current counter operations being gradually changed to station or cafeteria style.


The drive-in concession lends itself to advertising more readily than does its companion stand in the conventional house. This is because the snack bar is considered an important part of the outdoor operation. It is an tiextraii indoors. 7

Excellent results have been obtained by drive-ins when their refreshment services have been plugged in radio, TV, and newspaper advertising. In addition, invitations to the snack bar are appropriate and effective on fiyers advertising coming attractions.

Once a customer has passed the ticket booth, many things can be done to make him a patron of the snack stand. Seventy percent of drive-ins use film trailers, rotating a variety available from commercial film companies (National Screen Service, Alexander Film Company or Filmack) or suppliers (Armour or the Coca-Cola Company). Over 95 per cent use announcements on public address systems, usually mentioning some tasty items offered for sale and inviting patrons to visit the stand. These can either be done "live," with installation of a microphone setup, or an records or tape. Because of the between-shows break, standard to all drive-ins, these merchandising devices are highly eifective.

The Stand Displays

The stand itself, and displays of merchandise in it, do a good job of asking the customer to buy. Stands should be attractive, neat, and spotlessly clean. Merchandise should be easy to see, invitingly arranged, and ready for immediate service. Signs on counters and walls should call attention to items for sale, list their prices, and describe them temptingly. As in any other type of store, displays and advertising material should never look junky or be overdone.

The placement of items to suggest additional purchases is highly effective. The Coca-Cola dispenser close by the

EVERYTHING a! the drive-in concession stand is pointed toward the brief periods between shows when customers come in crowds. Sandwiches are prepared in advance. kept in warmers. Important job of estimating belongs to the manager.

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 392