RB Drive-In Receives June Small Business Award

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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The Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber is pleased to announce the June 2018 Small Business Award recipient is R-B Drive-In.


Larry Burgess started the RB Drive-In after World War 2 with a $1,500 loan from Mr. Robinson, which is where the name the RB Drive-In originated from.  1948 was a time of increased mobility with the expansion of the state highway system, which in return saw a rise in popularity of drive in dining.  The RB Drive- In became the first drive-in in Hutchinson.  Initially the business was seasonal, with shutters where the current lunch counter is located.  In 1952 the building was enclosed and began offering year round dining.    Pam Burgess, Larry’s daughter, and her husband ran the restaurant from 1984-2016, when the restaurant was purchased by Kirk and Julia Johnson. 


One thing that separates RB Drive-In from the rest is their attention to quality, value, and customer experience.  Kirk & Julia use all local businesses for their ingredients and services, including quality meat from Jacksons Meats and fresh produce from Smith’s Market.  RB Drive-In offers a 1948 drive in experience with modern efficiencies.  When the Johnsons took over the business in 2016, they spent a significant amount of time cleaning the interior, and opening the work spaces to improve interactions with customers


Since they have taken over ownership, the Johnsons have also been working on modernizing the ordering system and communication system.  In 2016 the RB Drive-In was still working on a 1948 platform for orders and communications, with a single telephone line for phone in orders and credit card processing.  Since approximately 40% of RB Drive-In’s business is phone in orders, an additional phone line was installed for dedicated credit card processing.  There was also a significant amount of cleaning, maintenance, organizing and repair performed when the business was purchased in 2016.   Inside, the workspace flow was improved and the ticketing processing was also made more efficient.


RB Drive-In offers better pay to their employees than comparable food service employers.  The RB has a family/team culture and the hours are good for single parents who need to take kids to school and pick them up after school.  Employees are given bonuses throughout the year, and as an added bonus get free food while they are at work!


The RB Drive-In is involved in many local civic and service organizations.  They are members of the Hutchinson/Reno County Chamber of Commerce, and Kirk served as interim president of the Chamber during the transition between Jason Ball and current president Debra Teufel.  The RB Drive-In also provides meal cards to USD 308 teachers for staff appreciation as well as meal cards to Salthawk Community Support for high school kids in need of a meal.  They participated in the Lincoln 3rd grade advertisement project, and Kirk also volunteers for the Correctional Facility with the Offender Work Program where Kirk works with inmates on interview skills as they prepare to leave prison and enter the workforce.        


Congratulations and thank you for all you do for our community.

Category: SBA