Tesla Wants to Be McDonald’s: Files Trademark for Drive-In Franchise

The thing about Tesla founder Elon Musk is that he’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of guy. He comes up with disparate ideas and businesses and at some point, they blend. Like SpaceX and Tesla. Or Tesla and Dogecoin. They tie into each other and feed off of each other. So it is no surprise that something as unrelated as Tesla and drive-in restaurants come from the same mind.

And that is what Musk is looking at now. Just last week Tesla filed patent and trademark applications for “T” (as in Tesla) and the Tesla stylized logo for food industry use. Specifically  “restaurant services, self-service restaurant services, and take-out restaurant services.”

Why does Tesla want to get into drive-in restaurants?

Overall layout of CyberLand
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If approved they will go live once Tesla puts them into use. In recent times Musk tweeted, “Major new Supercharger station coming to Santa Monica soon! Hoping to have 50’s diner & 100 best movie clips playing too. Thanks, Santa Monica city!”  And there you have it.

And these types of entertainment time killers are how entire theme parks have been created in the past. Take Knotts Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. In the 1930s it was a chicken dinner restaurant. It was so popular people waited hours to get in.

So a carousel was put in for the kids. Then another ride to help fill time while the adults waited in line for dinner. It morphed in the 1950s into an amusement park that also happened to have a great chicken dinner restaurant nearby.

This isn’t a typical trademark application

CyberTruck bumper cars.
CyberTruck bumper cars | Leasefetcher

We’re not saying that will happen in Santa Monica. But you never know with Musk. Besides, this isn’t a typical trademark application. According to investor Steven Kamali to Automotive News, these types of trademarks are used for brands that plan on franchising. 

So already there appear to be larger plans than a little drive-in next to a charging station. “Sophisticated investors often secure the intellectual property by filing for a trademark,” said Kamali, who founded Hospitality House, a food and beverage agency, and The Chef Agency, an executive search firm for the food industry. “It helps deter others from impeding on their mark and ultimately competing with them. It also signals that they anticipate large-scale growth with the proposed brand and concept.”

Elon Musk’s brother owns a restaurant group operating in three states

CyberLand underground roller coaster
CyberLand underground roller coaster | Leasefetcher

And there is a Musk family tie-in. Elon Musk’s brother Kimball owns a restaurant group operating in three states. Kimball was also on the board of Chipotle Mexican Grill. So what inexperience in the restaurant business Elon provides, his brother is entrenched in. 

It may take a while before Musk’s vision of a restaurant/charging station becomes reality. Business and building permits take time in places like Santa Monica. But you can already see how something as disparate as building cars and opening restaurants ties together when Musk is pulling the strings.

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