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At Johnny Rockets, the Future of Retro Is Drive-In Movies

At Johnny Rockets, the Future of Retro Is Drive-In Movies
Courtesy Johnny Rockets

Walking into a Johnny Rockets, decked with cherry-red booths and servers in white uniforms and bow ties, feels like a Back to the Future experience without the DeLorean. The film that helped define 1950s nostalgia hit theaters just one year before the diner chain opened in 1986. Now the future of Johnny Rockets will focus on an additional relic of Americana and movies: the drive-in theater.

USA Drive-Ins, based in Indiana, plans to open 200 drive-in theaters by 2018, and a recent deal with Johnny Rockets will bring restaurants in many of the new theaters. Food will be delivered to moviegoers in their cars or served to walk-up customers (no carhops on roller skates, though). A single franchisee would own both the restaurant and the theater.