This type of retail store stands alone, physically separate from other retail stores. It does not enjoy the same benefits that shopping centers offer from the stand point that customer of a free standing retail store must have made a special trip to get there. Shoppers are not “just next door” and decide to walk in as they could in a mall or strip center. Freestanding locations constituted about 22 percent of all retail space, and a recent survey of retailers shows that this category leads all others for future importance.
Drive in locations are special cases of freestanding sites that are selected for the purpose of satisfying the needs of customers who shop in their automobile. In some situations, the drive-in aspect of the retail business is only to supplement existing in – store sales, but the same requirements of all drive in location apply. These sites are usually positioned along or decide heavy traffic arteries in neighbor hoods, city streets, or inner city through fares because, as the experience of McDonald’s shows, up to 55 percent of total store sales are often attributable to drive-through business. Stores that rely totally on drive-in and walk up business, such as Fox Photo, are designed to offer extremely quick service and require a significantly smaller amount of space than more traditional park-and-shop stores. In fact, drive-in-only retailers often fined that they can price competitively because of reduced overhead from smaller building and land size.
The total volume of passing traffic and the ease with which the traffic can enter and leave the store critically important to the sales potential of the entire establishment. The greater the density of traffic, the greater the potential amount of business that is likely to be derived. An automobile traffic count is absolutely necessary to identify suitable locations for drive-ins. Further more, it is important that this traffic count be separated into direction, or flow. A traffic flow analysis may be described in terms of why a customer is making the trip : whether it is to or from work, for shopping, or for pleasure or recreation. For example, drive-in-services for a bank would more likely be utilized during work-to-home trips than the reverse. If the objective of a drive-window of a fast food chain was to increase breakfast food sales, then a home-to-work direction would be favorable. A work-trip customer may drop off cleaning on the way to work and stop for gas on the way home.
Customers on a shopping trip are more easily stopped if a location is positioned along the right side of a through fare. Not all shopping is done between home and work. This is particularly true if a drive-in is located between the customer’s place of residence and a major shopping area. If there are a number of stores located in the general vicinity, the drive-in should be on the same side of the street as those stores. To attract recreation or pleasure trip shoppers, locations along a heavily traveled artery are best. The location should be convenient to enter and leave, adjacent to the incoming traffic.