Drive-ins are a style of restaurant that became popular in the 1950s. At these restaurants, customers would pull up to a parking lot, a server would come over and take their order, and after a few minutes, the server would bring the food out to the customer's car. While drive-ins are not nearly as popular as they once were, they are making a sort of comeback. If you are thinking of opening your own drive-in restaurant, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Make sure you have a huge parking lot.
Your restaurant itself will only be a kitchen, some storage, and a staging area for the servers. You won't need space for customers to dine. You will, however, need a very large parking lot for customers to park in. So, make this your priority when searching for properties to use for your drive-in. If you're able to find an old drive-in, purchase it, and renovate it, that tends to be a good approach.
Post clear instructions at the entrance and on your website.
Many of your customers will never have been to a drive-in restaurant, so you will need to guide them as to how to park and order. A simple sign near the entrance that says "Find a parking spot and a server will come to you!" will suffice. Make sure you also post more detailed instructions on your website so customers can read up prior to their visit.
Choose your supplies well.
You're likely going to be sending all of your meals out in takeout containers, so make sure they are high-quality, dependable takeout containers. Purchase a variety of sizes so you're not left without options. Also, make sure you stay well ahead on your stock. If you run out of containers for an item, you'll have to stop serving it, which is certainly not ideal.
Train your servers well.
The dine-in setup will be new for most or all of your servers, too. So, make sure you develop a specific system and train them well. Consider having a soft opening for friends and family so your servers can get some low-stakes practice before your real opening date. Be open to feedback from your servers, too.
With the tips above, you should have better luck opening a classic, drive-in-style restaurant. Once you find a good customer base, you should have no trouble drawing a crowd.