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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 393 (355)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 393
Page 393

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 393

popcorn machine suggests purchase of a delicious beverage to enjoy with, or after, the popcorn, etc.

No matter how much promotion is undertaken in behalf of the snack bar, the people who serve the public can be largely charged with success or failure of the enterprise. Attractive, courteous, and alert stand attendants can do more than anything else to bring patrons back for repeat visits.

Ten per cent of drive-ins use ramp boys to service automobiles. This system has proved valuable in adding impulse sales and in serving older customers who canit or wonit leave their cars. Major objection to this system is that, to do effective sales job, ramp boys must disturb customers by calling their wares, and this, of course, irritates some people. However, more modern carts have lighted signs which identify them to the customers in their cars, and makes it unnecessary for boys to announce themselves. Where used, most carts include refrigeration units for keeping drinks and ice cream cold, and some have heater units for hotdogs, etc.

Several lof the more progressive drivein concession stands now do brisk business with box suppers, featuring the ttsupper and show" idea in advertising, and providing complete meals in waterproof containers. Almost all stands furnish card-board trays at the ends of their counters, making it possible to carry sandwiches and drinks back to cars in quantity.

Contests Promote Stand

Giveaway contests of various kinds have proved successful in attracting attention to the snack bar. Such tricks as posting automobile license numbers or Social Security numbers in the stands, and giving prizes of merchandise to the lucky number holders can stimulate interest in and visits to the concession stands.

Rides for the kiddies and fullyequipped playgrounds are attached to many drive-in concessions, again to lure the family out for an early visit, supper, and the show. In some cases, pre-show interviews over the public address system are used to attract customers.

STAND personnel (or the drive-in theatre must often be short-order cooks as well. Here an attendant readies a batch of French tries.


MODIFICATIONS ot counters and station systems are popular. In this drive-in concession stand. patrons come inside at doors on either side: to center tor hot items, to ends tor beverages.


In general, personnel problems and their solutions are the same for driveins as they are for conventional houses. In some cases, however, more elaborate stands need cooks and other kitchen help not required for the indoor theatre. Almost any good drive-in man must be able to take his turn at the French fries, slice the thousands of slabs of bread needed for sandwiches, baste and turn and spit, and sauce the delectables that form the usual menu. This, of course, is a situation peculiar to each individual operation, and the needs must be met on the local level.

The Hpeak and valley" nature of the drive-in business, both as to nights of the week and as to periods during each program, makes it necessary to juggle the help to meet the demand. It is common practice to double the staff at the concession during weekends and for outstanding attractions. No changes are usually made during an individual eveningis performance, since the attendants prepare for heavy business between period of actually serving heavy business.

As a general rule, the attendant at the drive-in concession stand holds another job during the day, and works at night to make extra money. High school boys are not too popular, since the late hours sometimes required arenit popular with parents. A great many more men are used in drive-in operations where Women do the jobs indoors, for obvious reasons.



On the basis of current experience, there doesn't appear to be any limit on the type or cost of food and beverage items that can be. successfully sold at the concession stand. Popcorn is a big seller outdoors, as it is inside. Coca Cola and other cold beverages do tremendous volume. loo cream sclls better than in conventional theatres, although candy does not do as well. Sandwiches, hot and cold, particularly the hotdog and the hamburger, are tremendously pop

ular. Other items range from shrimp and chicken dinners in the deep south to pizza in the north-central states to fried clams in New England to hot barbecue in the southwest.

Depending on the size and popularity of his operation, the conCession manager at the drive-in can be as much or as little of a restaurateur as he chooses. In addition, he can recognize extra profits and good will by stocking service items, like toothpaste, razor blades, soap, etc.

Because the "smoke when you like" theme is a popular part of drive-in radio and newspaper advertising, it is important for the concession stand to carry leading brands of cigarettes. It has been found that a vending machine, placed on wheels, and set up immediately outside the stand, is the most effective method of serving this commodity.

Knowing that he has a hungry, thirsty, eager audience for which to perform, the concessionaire can be gaudy and adventuresome in his selection of stock or stick to the tried and proven items already known to sell well. The payoff is in properly reading the buying mind of his customer, stocking the items that will sell in his community, and merchandising them to his patrons.


Popcorn continues to be the high-sale and high-profit item at the drive-in it has proved itself inside. Reliable surveys indicate that all drive-ins handle pope corn.

Methods of sale differ from section to section, with many theatres selling the popular item in more than one way. For example, maintaining either popping equipment or warmers at the ticket-shop outside the theatre has increased sales substantially in many cams, and has apparently not hurt business at the concession stand.

Those operators who do not like the practice of selling popcorn at the ticket window hold that it keeps patrons from coming immediately to the refreshment stand, but the answer seems to be that a customer in the hand is worth several scattered around the parking lot. A pleasant suggestion, HPopcorn for everyone," voiced by the attendant at the ticket window, can do a great deal to push sales at the spot.
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 393