There’s nothing more central to images of the 1950s than the drive-in movie theater. Families loved them for their convenience, teens for their low prices. Lovers saw them as a place to engage in a little nookie, while staying safe from the axe-wielding psycho of urban legend fame.
Drive-ins reigned supreme as the destination of choice in thousands of towns across the country until the mid-60s, when they began a long, slow decline due to economic changes. But could they see a comeback? Could this iconic emblem of everything American enjoy a revival? Possibly. Here are four ideas that might hold the key to the drive-in’s resurrection.
Make them seasonal
There are plenty of enterprises that operate only during the warm season. Local ice cream stands are a perfect example. Amusement parks frequently close shop November-February. Drive-ins could operate the same way, cranking up in mid-May and going till just after Halloween, perhaps even longer in places like Florida and the southwest. This would dovetail perfectly with the summer blockbuster season.
Take advantage of the real estate bust
One of the marvels of Capitalism is how it enables one entrepreneur’s failure to become the seeds of another’s success. For example, the country is dotted with commercial ventures that went bust during the disastrous period since 2007. Most of these are accompanied by giant parking lots that stand empty, like paved ghost towns serving no purpose. Drive-in events could be held in such locations, perhaps as fund-raisers for non-profits and municipalities that would rent the necessary equipment. Should the model prove successful at raising funds, it would surely gain the attention of venture Capitalists.
Head for the sticks
There are lots of people living in B.F.E., most of whom would love something to do on Saturday nights. And, since rural areas are usually where large parks and county fairgrounds are located, there’s no shortage of real estate that’s unspoiled by city lights. Like Wal-Mart, new drive-ins could start in these underserved communities, spreading out from there to small towns across the country.
Offer additional services
Delivery food and a movie are standard forms of entertainment in homes across the country every night of the week. Why not offer the same experience at a drive-in, complete with to-the-car delivery of pizza, Chinese, burgers, or whatever?
If there are any budding business owners out there looking for a real opportunity, then we at BoldRide invite them to consider the huge profits that could be realized by bringing drive-ins back from the past. After all, sometimes it’s not a new idea that makes investors rich, but an old one that deserves a second shot. It’s certainly food for thought.
Photo Credit: Bettmann/Corbis, Drive-in-movie-theaters.com, Parade Magazine