Business Overview

Drive-ins are finding a resurgence in some markets that target their film selection and menu to older customers who look to relive their childhood. You may have a playground, arcade, and concession stand to improve your customer experience. Sound is broadcast over radio waves and received by each car's stereo system where they can control the volume.

Who is this business right for?

The successful drive-in owner will have a love of film and entertaining families in an all-American style. You won't mind working nights, weekends, and holidays as these are peak times for the movie business.

What happens during a typical day at a drive-in movie theater?

When your operate your drive-in movie theater, on any given day you might need to:

  • Sell tickets and admissions to your patrons
  • Work with distribution companies to book upcoming movies
  • Load and program film files into your digital projectors
  • Preview films to ensure proper presentation
  • Clean and maintain concession equipment
  • Hire your parking and concession staff
  • Clean and maintain the property after each show
  • Ensure customer satisfaction through patrolling of the entire property during the show
  • Update websites to provide ticket times and prices
  • Operate the projectors during each presentation
  • Order supplies for concession stand/cleaning equipment
  • Maintain attractive landscaping
  • Attend trade screenings to learn about upcoming films

What is the target market?

Your preferred customers will be someone looking for an old fashioned moviegoing experience. Drive-in movies reached peak popularity in the 1950s and 1960s. Therefore, many of your customers will be seeking a sense of nostalgia for entertainment in those times. Tailoring the theme of your theater and decor to such a historical period can help satisfy the wants and needs of your customers. 

How does a drive-in movie theater make money?

You bring in income by selling tickets to your films and through the sales of concession products. Most of your profit is generated through food and drink sales as film distributors take a serious portion of ticket sales for new films.

What is the growth potential for a drive-in movie theater?

The drive-in movie theatre model is in survival mode as customers turn to their home theaters more often to catch a flick. When you provide an experience that cannot be duplicated anywhere else, your drive-in can become a local sensation that will remain open for years to come. Each location will fill a unique need for their local community.