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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Concessions p/c

Author Topic: Concessions p/c
Zach Zagar
Film Handler

Posts: 45
From: Jefferson City, MO
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 07-10-2000 10:39 PM      Profile for Zach Zagar   Author's Homepage   Email Zach Zagar   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The whole ticket/concession prices topic brings up an interesting topic, for me, at least...


As a manager its one of my toughest puzzles to solve. What are some recommendations for raising a p/c? I operate the only movie theater in the same town as Purdue University, and well, college kids don't want to spend too much money (its rather annoying, you know?). They're not in to any suggestive selling that you throw at them. My prices, are "average". We vary from 0.95 to 2.00 in candy, and our popcorn and drink prices aren't bad. We also feature "Reel Deals".

Some may not think a 1.7 p/c is bad, however, it is the lowest in my chain (Goodrich).

What are some of the secrets to the successes so to speak?


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Dustin Mitchell
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1865
From: Mondovi, WI, USA
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 07-10-2000 10:50 PM      Profile for Dustin Mitchell   Email Dustin Mitchell   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
College kids love nachos. They're less profitable than popcorn, but more popular with that generation. If you don't have nachos add them. Maybe even consider a meal deal featuring nachos.

Our per cap goes from a 1.60 to 2.20. The 1.60 is very rare and always prompts a manager meeting. We've had it as high as 2.40 during Toy Story 2, and that was without combos. Supposedly the new 20 plex in Oakdale, Mn is getting a per-cap of 2.80.

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Brad Miller

Posts: 17695
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 07-11-2000 04:26 AM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
Scheduling and staffing will drive your per capita up without changing anything else if done properly.

Customers will pass on the stand if they see the line is long. Make sure you don't have two big movies starting at the same time and spread everything out well. Also, staff intelligently. I've seen theaters with 8 concessionists on a Wednesday night and 12 on the weekend! Something just doesn't add up there...and they wonder why their per cap is better on the weekdays. They could run with 6 concessionists during the weekdays and have 17 on the weekend while spending the SAME amount in payroll. Makes me want to go up to the manager and, well...I shouldn't say.

Another great selling tip is to pop DURING THE RUSHES. The smell of popcorn does wonders for boosting sales. Also, don't be stingy with the oil! I found if I boosted the "recommended amount" of oil just a tad, the popcorn tasted FAR better and customers knew it (of course, no one could figure out why our popcorn was the best in town). There's nothing worse than old, stale and tasteless popcorn.

On drinks, my biggest pet peeve is people NOT FILLING THE CUP! Sure it's full when they pull it away from the nozzle, but wait 15 seconds and pop that lid off and suddenly you realize you paid for a large, but only got a medium. That definitely turns people off. Coke and popcorn are the two highest profit items in the stand. Go ahead and fill 'em to the brim. It's more appetizing as customers see others leaving the stand with something that not only looks good, but has the smell in the air.

(By the way, for "stations"...always fill the drinks first, get the popcorn and other goodies, then return to "top off" the drinks. It saves the most time if done in that order and speeds up the line.)

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Tom Ferreira
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 203
From: Conway, NH, USA
Registered: Jun 99

 - posted 07-11-2000 07:32 AM      Profile for Tom Ferreira   Email Tom Ferreira   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
My per cap runs a solid $2.15 to $2.30 every week. Brad is right on his suggestions, but there are also a lot of intangibles that enter into it.
There are absolutely no decent restaurants in my town-a few fast food places, but really nothing that a family can sit down and have a decent, inexpensive meal. So dinner and a movie turns into a movie and a snack here. I'm willing to bet that a theatre in a mall surrounded by a food court would have a horrible per capita.
The first thing you see when you walk into our lobby, even before the box office, is the concession stand. It's a brilliant design, that I wish I could take credit for. A well lit, CLEAN stand is very attractive to the public, and leads to impulse sales. An attractive presentation of corn, nacho, a brightly lit candy case, soda flavors clearly displayed, all contribute to the cause.
I also helps to have neat, presentable staff behind the counter. I'm never too thrilled about eating at a place where the food is prepared and served by some slob with pink hair and pierced eyes that looks like he just stepped out of a mosh pit(or rehab). Friendly staff who can fill an order quickly and accurately is definitely an asset.

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Russ Kress
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 202
From: Charleston, WV, USA
Registered: May 2000

 - posted 07-11-2000 03:23 PM      Profile for Russ Kress   Author's Homepage   Email Russ Kress   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The concession per-cap is a good tool to judge the performance of your sales staff, but with the expanded selections available in today's theatres, you cannot use it to determine if you are "making more money".

A $2.23 per-cap achieved by selling popcorn, candy and soda is excellent! We all know what these items cost us as raw materials. They are fairly durable so spoilage is not an issue.

If you throw expanded food items into the mix (I'll use cheese sticks w/cocktail sauce as an example) you WILL increase your per-cap. However, you will also increase your food cost which will ultimately have to be subtracted from your bottom line.

Were we to use normal theatre concession mark-ups we would have to price such an item at about $10.00 (LOL).

It is a good thing to offer alternative concession choices to customers (our cheese sticks are $2.25).

In the end, we must remember that the cheese stick purchaser probably didn't buy any popcorn (increased food cost for the same amount that the theatre received).

Who knows? Maybe the cheese stick lovers wouldn't buy anything at all if the cheese sticks were not offered. All I know is that I can't enjoy all the latest developments in film presentation unless I am munching on SOMETHING!

Expanded concession offerings "could" make the difference as to whether your theatre is chosen over another. More likely, it is the fact that you didn't skimp in the projection booth.

It really does not matter what you sell. Unless someone wants to see a movie, they are not likely to be taking the family out to dinner at the theatre.

Concession items should be as diverse as possible without impeeding the two most important virtues of a concession stand.

Quality and SPEED!!!

Did I mention speed? Oh, I did... okay.

If you offer a quality cut prime rib steak, cooked to medium-well perfection, customers WILL want it. They will just want it RIGHT NOW!! (LOL)

(Um, this is why we don't offer it)

Call me old fashioned, but grab your fresh popcorn, a ten gallon soda, maybe some Gummy Bears, and step into the next room (the one with the huge screen).

Yeah, we charged you too much for your snacks, but just look at what we bought with the money!

...and listen too!


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Brad Miller

Posts: 17695
From: Plano, TX (36.2 miles NW of Rockwall)
Registered: May 99

 - posted 07-11-2000 05:15 PM      Profile for Brad Miller   Author's Homepage   Email Brad Miller       Edit/Delete Post 
An EXCELLENT point Russ. I remember a certain theater that sent out "we're better than you" because their per cap was 50 cents higher than ours (which was the best in the district). Of course, we were selling popcorn, soda and standard concession items. They had burgers, hot wings and all sorts of other stuff. In actuality, we were still kicking their butt.

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Carl King
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 199
From: Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada
Registered: Mar 2000

 - posted 07-11-2000 09:24 PM      Profile for Carl King   Email Carl King   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
You will sell more popcorn if you remember the 3S system..SIGHT/SOUND/SMELL. Pop your corn when your patrons are in the lobby so they can see it pop,hear it pop and smell that wonderful smell. I'm the son of a theatre manager. I was 1 yr old when my Dad started in this business and I started working at 17. After 48 years the sight and sound and smell still make me want popcorn so think what it must do to the patrons.

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Bruce McGee
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1776
From: Asheville, NC USA... Nowhere in Particular.
Registered: Aug 1999

 - posted 07-12-2000 02:37 PM      Profile for Bruce McGee   Email Bruce McGee   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Do theaters ever vent the air from the popper area out into the auditorium? Seems that this might be a good way to boost sales, too.

AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH.... Real buttered popcorn. aaahhhhhh.

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