The Pineslopes Boulevard shopping centre in Fourways, Johannesburg, has added an outdoor big screen in its parking lot as an addition to the recently launched roadhouse-style Drive-in Diner.
The project is a collaborative initiative aimed at assisting restaurants affected by the decline in sit-down dining due to Covid-19. It adheres to strict social distancing protocols as parking bays are staggered and wait staff are equipped with masks and hand sanitiser.
The shopping centre is owned by JSE-listed property group Fortress REIT.
According to a statement, the Drive-in Diner concept allows customers to enjoy "the retro-dining experience of a classic roadhouse", operated on a collaborative basis by the centre's restaurants.
Pineslopes customers can order takeaways from the comfort of their vehicles, with meals delivered by wait staff on roadhouse-style clip-on window trays.
The addition of outdoor movie screenings means customers can now also enjoy "the nostalgic ambience" of a drive-in movie theatre experience as an additional accompaniment to their meals.
"We're trying to add as much value as we can to the Drive-in Diner initiative, especially for our restaurateurs who have experienced a decline in sit-down dining despite the relaxation of regulations under Level 3 lockdown," says Vuso Majija, director of Fortress REIT's retail portfolio.
"By adding our big screen we're able to further augment the customer experience, which hopefully means they'll be willing to spend more time in the company of our restaurants."
However, for Majija the real benefit of this initiative goes beyond business as it showcases what can be achieved when landlords and tenants collaborate to find innovative solutions to unique challenges.
The V&A Waterfront in Cape Town has also turned to an innovative idea in order to beat the retail challenges caused by the coronavirus lockdown bans. It recently announced a R63-million investment in partnership with National Treasury's Jobs Fund to create opportunities in the food industry.
The aim is to create a local food community incubator, Makers Landing, as part of the next phase of an overarching plan by the V&A Waterfront to develop the Cape Town Cruise Terminal area. When it is complete, Makers Landing will open to the public in December 2020 and add a further 4 348m² to the existing cruise terminal developed by the Waterfront in 2015 for Transnet.
Beyond showcasing South Africa's variety of cultural dishes and foods, the aim is for Makers Landing to be a catalyst for creating employment, transferring skills through the planned incubator programme and nurturing SMMEs.
Given the seasonality of the cruise industry - which currently is still not permitted under SA's coronavirus lockdown regulations - the multi-use Makers Landing development will encourage year-round activity in the port area.