Johannesburg – South African businessmen have resorted to the drive-in, where people watch movies and have meals in their cars, to keep their business running.
Molly Malones Roadhouse Drive-In owner Jenny Lee told Xinhua that COVID-19 hit her hard and she had to close her bar and restaurant, took a loan from the bank to pay rent for the business and salaries.
“We had to do this to survive because of the COVID-19. We allow a total of 30 cars on our premises. The waiters sanitise their hands and go to cars. They also sanitise the menu and the hands of the client,” she said.
Lee is happy that this innovation is helping them.
“The response has been positive with people coming in numbers to enjoy meals from the comfort of their cars and watch movies,” she said.
A client named Michelle Hogarth psoted a Google review comment saying, “Love their drive-in movies during the lockdown. They are pet friendly too, so we brought our dogs with us to watch from the back seat! Great movie, snacks, milkshakes, and ice creams on offer.”
“People are scared to go out to eat at restaurants and serving them in their cars is safe. We have been getting positive feedback even on our Facebook page. We will continue with this as long as the COVID-19 crisis is with us,” Lee said, adding that they would be showing rugby on the big screen to their customers soon.
Ster-Kinekor, South Africa’s largest movie exhibitor, also resorts to the drive-in cinema to save the business hit by the COVID-19.
The cinema set up a big screen on their rooftop parking in Sandton City, one of the most famous shopping centres in Johannesburg, allowing people to share entertainment experiences from a controlled, physically distanced space.
The space allows 150 cars at the cost of R200 (US$14) each. The movie’s audio is transmitted via the airwaves to an FM radio channel in clients’ own cars.
In South Africa, movie theatres lost as much as 83 percent of revenues last year, with the National Film and Video Foundation reporting that income from movies only reached R200 million (US$140 million). In 2019, the industry generated as much as US$800 million.The drive-in cinema was so popular among families. It is not easy to get a ticket for a film that is suitable for kids. Some people even carrying their own camping chairs and enjoy the movie and snacks under the splendid African sun. – Xinhua