How to Start a Drive-In Theater Business

Anyone from a slightly older generation will definitely remember fond memories of the drive-in theatre. Watching a movie while sitting either in or around your car with friends and loved ones under the open sky is treat experience. Although drive-in theatres are not that common anymore, there is still a decent market for anyone who wants to start their own. Starting your own drive-in theatre can be a rewarding financial business. As trends are now leaning towards going back with a retro styles, nothing is more reminiscent of happier times than the drive-in theatre. Having your own drive-in theatre can provide significant profits with entry tickets and concessions. Like any business, starting your own drive-in theatre will need a solid plan, some working capital and a lot of hard work.


  • 1

    Develop a Business Plan:

    The most important step to help you start your own drive-in theatre is to develop a complete business plan. This will include all the technical aspects and financial details of your needs. This business plan is especially useful if you are seeking a business loan or financing from a bank.

  • 2

    Seek Funding from Bank:

    If you are short of working capital it may be a good idea to pitch your drive-in theatre idea to a bank for some possible business loan. Many banks now provide loans for small and medium sized businesses.

  • 3

    Secure an Appropriate Location:

    In business, location is everything. For your drive-in theatre try to find a location that has enough space for parking, concession stand and of course the big projection screen. Make sure that your location is near to some major roads to attract attention. Important to note is that you do not want to be too close to traffic as headlights and automobile noise can disrupt your movie projection.

  • 4

    Design and Build Drive-in Theatre:

    Once you get all of your permits and zonal approvals, you can begin to design and build your new drive-in theatre. Remember to put in a concession stand and projection room for all of the equipment. The screen should be big enough for everyone to enjoy from all angles. Also, be sure to put a high wall around your drive-in to prevent car lights from disrupting your movie watching experience.

  • 5

    Clear any Legal Issues:

    It is important to look over any legal issues early that might cause trouble for you later after opening your drive-in theatre. Be sure to have updated licenses and permits for whatever you are going to do.

  • 6

    Acquire Films:

    Make sure that you have a decent budget to acquire the latest movies. You can also get older movies for less money.

  • 7

    Obtain Proper Equipment:

    Once your facility is ready, you will need a proper sound and movie projection system. Since this is one of the most important parts of your drive-in business, try to get the best quality equipment available.

  • 8

    Develop Concessions:

    Carefully decide the types of food, snacks and drinks that you want to sell. Most people buy a lot of concessions especially when an entire family comes to watch a movie.

  • 9

    Advertising and Marketing:

    Be sure to advertise your new drive-in theatre so that people find out about it. Newspapers, television and radio are great places to advertise your new business to draw in customers.

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