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Drive in diners & theaters? #5430591 05/16/20 10:40 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Wife and I were discussing what to do for lunch; she made mention that a local place had some good deals. I joked about going out to eat, then thought wondered: why not order and sit in their parking lot?

Duh, people used to do that...

So, anyone with a magic crystal ball: drive in theaters & diners, might they make a comeback? At least for the warmer months, for a few months anyhow. Heck, it seems like most diners could just run orders out to people in the parking lot (I don't eat out a lot, nor live in a populous area, so maybe that is going on already?).


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Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430594 05/16/20 10:48 AM
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Wolf359 Offline
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I've been doing take out the whole time. Not every day, but here and there. Not that much fun sitting in the car. Move the seat all the way back so the steering wheel doesn't get in the way. Carry a bottle of sanitizer and use it right after leaving the restaurant. Use plenty and let it take 20 seconds to dry just like washing for 20 seconds.

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: Wolf359] #5430596 05/16/20 10:51 AM
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4WD Offline
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Many meals on wheels for me (parked) …
… I might have to remove the drivers seat to get some food dropping out from underneath, LOL

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430598 05/16/20 10:54 AM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by supton


So, anyone with a magic crystal ball: drive in theaters & diners, might they make a comeback?


Virtually zero chance

The footprint (lease by sq ft) required for either now would make it unprofitable over the long run even if there was a "fad" explosion and a hint of nostalgia.

Most towns can only support maybe a handful of sonics now and that's probably at market saturation now for that type of business.

I cannot even envision a modern drive in movie with today's culture (even though it was "the place to be" back in my day) surviving.

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430606 05/16/20 11:15 AM
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The local community has been trying to find the exact rules for getting the area churches back open. (They are again open in this community with a few rules that need to be in place, BTW)
Anyway, some of the local churches wanted to a drive-in church service broadcast with an FM transmitter.
This might be my state only, but the rules were so strict, most of them decided against any drive-ins whatsoever.
Everything from "you cannot roll your window down at all" to "windows cannot be down more than an inch" to "cars must be at least 10 feet apart with nobody walking past your car, period!"
I do see a surge in drive-in movie use this year, but I suspect it will be short term.. Hopefully, I'm wrong.

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: Kruse] #5430613 05/16/20 11:22 AM
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4WD Offline
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All of our drive throughs stayed open. They put up plexiglass with a bottom gap, wore masks …
Some that did not have a drive through quickly had a contractor modify a window … back in gear !

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430616 05/16/20 11:24 AM
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aquariuscsm Online Content
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In nice weather, going to drive-ins is awesome!! It really is a lot of fun!!


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Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430617 05/16/20 11:26 AM
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grampi Offline
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We have a drive-in theater here that stays very busy. Only down side is skeeters...

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: grampi] #5430623 05/16/20 11:37 AM
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4WD Offline
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I used to work at one when I was a teen … my boss said you need to start busting folks sneaking in ducking down in the backseat … told him a wise freshman does not try that on an upper classmate … and they are buying burgers, popcorn, and cokes … He shrugged and walked off …

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: 4WD] #5430632 05/16/20 11:51 AM
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supton Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 4WD
I used to work at one when I was a teen … my boss said you need to start busting folks sneaking in ducking down in the backseat … told him a wise freshman does not try that on an upper classmate … and they are buying burgers, popcorn, and cokes … He shrugged and walked off …

Heh, you might have been wiser than your years indicated. :thumb:

We've been ordering out about once a week, but it's starting to get a bit old IMO. Plus it's just not the same after it's cooled a bit for the drive home. In my beaters I don't care if I get another stain or three anymore, so I'm more open to eating in them than I was. I suppose we could always order and either stay in the parking lot or find a parking&ride to sit in, there's that option.


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2010 Toyota Tundra DC, 4.6L/6AT, 159k, ours
1999 Toyota Camry LE, 2.2L/4AT, 225k, his
Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: ABN_CBT_ENGR] #5430640 05/16/20 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by ABN_CBT_ENGR
Originally Posted by supton


So, anyone with a magic crystal ball: drive in theaters & diners, might they make a comeback?


Virtually zero chance

I dunno about that.

Up here in Canada, there's been a few churches offering drive-in services.
Considering you can tune in to hear the pastor on you car radio, I think it's highly likely that this will take off!


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Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: Lolvoguy] #5430645 05/16/20 12:15 PM
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It's just temporary for the next year or two. Once the pandemic is over they will go away. It's hard to start a business on just one or two years of demand.

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: supton] #5430650 05/16/20 12:19 PM
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The only take out we've had since this started was from national franchises. At least there's a chance the local management will follow new franchise sanitary rules. Many people still think it's all nothing, last thing I need is an indifferent eatery owner not watching what his young "yeah whatever" employees are doing. Having some family members with health risks makes us very cautious.

Good to hear places are making an effort.

I get gas beside a SONIC and it's always busy, maybe busier now.




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Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: Lolvoguy] #5430660 05/16/20 12:30 PM
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ABN_CBT_ENGR Offline
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Originally Posted by Lolvoguy

I dunno about that.

Up here in Canada, there's been a few churches offering drive-in services.
Considering you can tune in to hear the pastor on you car radio, I think it's highly likely that this will take off!


Cant speak to Canada but now these regulations are being challenged on Constitutional grounds ( which will eventually prevail in court) so as that happens and politics adapts the causal factors for this will go away as will the desire for these.

Then its simple money- there was no market demand for anything like a "boom" before and when all this goes away there wont be one then either.

The revenue to square foot ratio makes them a high risk anyway under the best of circumstances especially in areas with very high real estate rates.

Re: Drive in diners & theaters? [Re: ABN_CBT_ENGR] #5430666 05/16/20 12:36 PM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted by ABN_CBT_ENGR
Originally Posted by Lolvoguy

I dunno about that.

Up here in Canada, there's been a few churches offering drive-in services.
Considering you can tune in to hear the pastor on you car radio, I think it's highly likely that this will take off!


Cant speak to Canada but now these regulations are being challenged on Constitutional grounds ( which will eventually prevail in court) so as that happens and politics adapts the causal factors for this will go away as will the desire for these.

Then its simple money- there was no market demand for anything like a "boom" before and when all this goes away there wont be one then either.

The revenue to square foot ratio makes them a high risk anyway under the best of circumstances especially in areas with very high real estate rates.


There is one place around here that's planning to do a drive-in. They have a big parking lot so it's pretty easy for them to do it temporarily. I expect it to go away once the pandemic is over.

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