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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Soda cups - one size fits all?

   
Author Topic: Soda cups - one size fits all?
Mark Strube
Master Film Handler

Posts: 305
From: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Registered: Feb 2007


 - posted 07-08-2018 07:12 PM      Profile for Mark Strube   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Strube   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I work for a small theater company that is determined to go down to a single self-serve soda size. Something about decreasing waste and saving cost on ordering. Currently we have the standard small, medium, and large with a 50 cents price difference between all.

Has anyone tried this? Pros? Cons? Thoughts? I've never heard of any company doing this. I'm of the opinion that customers like to have options, even if the price difference isn't huge.

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Dustin Grush
Film Handler

Posts: 6
From: Johnstown, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2018


 - posted 07-08-2018 07:25 PM      Profile for Dustin Grush   Email Dustin Grush   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Years ago we went from S M L fountain sodas to 20oz bottles only. Not only did our inventory decrease, ie. no more soda cups, our selection was able to increase dramatically. Few customers complained at first and now its just accepted. I was also able to decrease the staff on a busy night by one person, or repurpose them to a different area if needed, since no one needed to pour sodas anymore. We also eliminated the need for ice. The line moves faster since no one needs to wait for soda anymore. We are paying more per ounce of soda, but the cost is offset by the savings in the other areas. The soda company supplies and maintains the coolers as well, so there was no cost there.

So, while this is somewhat different than what you're asking, it is a one size fits all solution that we are happy with.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12314
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-08-2018 08:23 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We actually have four sizes of cups, one of which is used in our kid trays.

If you decide to go to one-size, just make sure it's a pretty big size and charge accordingly. A lot of people like to have a drink that'll last them through the movie.

I personally would hate a cans or bottles concept, because I like ice in my drink so it stays cold. I'm not sure you would save enough on labor, cups and lids to offset the extra cost of the bottles or cans.... considering that you can build a 32oz cup soda for less than 20 cents. Depends on what you sell your bottles/cans for, I guess.

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1894
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 07-08-2018 11:35 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've found that I actually sell more popcorn and drinks now that I have bottles instead of cups.

People are more likely to buy something when there's no line-up.

And the clean-up is certainly a lot faster after the show.

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Mark Strube
Master Film Handler

Posts: 305
From: Milwaukee, WI, United States
Registered: Feb 2007


 - posted 07-09-2018 04:15 PM      Profile for Mark Strube   Author's Homepage   Email Mark Strube   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Regarding the bottles... this is served from the concession stand, not machines, correct? You don't get complaints from customers who prefer the enormous sized soda cup so that they don't have to leave the movie for a refill? Do those customers just buy 2? Did you notice an increase or decrease in soda sales? (I wonder if more people are sneaking stuff in as well.) Do you still offer combo deals with the bottles?

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Frank Cox
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1894
From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
Registered: Apr 2011


 - posted 07-09-2018 04:41 PM      Profile for Frank Cox   Author's Homepage   Email Frank Cox   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This is my concession area:

 -

And yes, some people buy two bottles each.

I sell more drinks and popcorn now because the line-up is much shorter when nobody has to wait for drinks to be poured (and the foam to go down, and so on). Now the longest wait is for popcorn to be shovelled into a container, and that doesn't take long.

I keep straws behind the counter and give one to the very odd customer who wants one; maybe one straw gets handed out for every hundred bottles sold.

I also have some cups-lids-straws that I sell for 50 cents each for the (also rare) person who wants a cup to divide the drink between their two kids or something. I sell maybe one or two cups every week so one case of cups will probably last me the next twenty years.

I never offered combo deals so I don't have them now either.

Based on the trash that I pick up and sweep up after the show, there aren't any more (or any less) people sneaking stuff in than before.

The only thing about this is that you have to watch the expiry dates on the bottles since they are a lot shorter than the expiry dates on the tanks. I've started ordering less product but more often than I used to for just that reason.

The customers seem to like the bottles now that they're used to them. I got a lot of questions and skepticism from the customers when I first got bottles, but that's gone away now and everyone seems to be happy. Especially with the shorter waits for service. [beer]

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Dustin Grush
Film Handler

Posts: 6
From: Johnstown, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2018


 - posted 07-09-2018 10:48 PM      Profile for Dustin Grush   Email Dustin Grush   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I have to agree with Frank on this one. Sodas was always the line stopper and our per capita's went up after the switch, although we also changed a few other things around the same time. I certainly don't think it made anything go down.

Our cost for a 32oz soda was no where near the above price. It was closer to $0.95 when we stopped selling them, basically what we were paying for a 20oz bottle at that time. We were stuck with pre mix and bagged ice as we had (still have) "poor water pressure" for a bib system, although that may have been their excuse for not wanting to upgrade a seasonal business. We had no room for an ice maker and the heat wouldn't have been conducive to making much ice in the summer anyways. We also were able to gain some counter space in the switch which i filled with additional candy varieties.

The expiry dates are a problem here sometimes and I also make more smaller orders to keep track. I sure wish they would make that print larger, it seems to get smaller every year, or maybe its my eyes.

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Terry Monohan
Master Film Handler

Posts: 261
From: San Francisco CA USA
Registered: May 2014


 - posted 07-11-2018 09:45 AM      Profile for Terry Monohan   Email Terry Monohan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I never get a bottle drink in a theatre. I need ICE with my drink to keep cold during a long movie. If you just serve a bottle beverage and some one wants ice you still have to give them a cup of ice and that takes time to fix. Most bottle drinks are never cold enough for me as the candy counter or self serve people are always opening the semi cold plastic bottle case. If a theatre owner has no ice I decline a drink. Many of my movie friends are like me also.

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Dennis Benjamin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1405
From: Denton, MD
Registered: Feb 2002


 - posted 07-11-2018 11:31 AM      Profile for Dennis Benjamin   Author's Homepage   Email Dennis Benjamin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our company has self serve soda machines at our locations.

Originally, we offered one size of soda. But of course people complained that the cup was too big.

Now we have gone back to the 3 different sizes.

Do you know the number one advantage to having the three sizes? THE UPSELL.

Upselling popcorn and soda is one of the best ways to increase revenue at your concession stand.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

Posts: 12314
From: Forsyth, Montana
Registered: Jun 99


 - posted 07-11-2018 03:27 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We used to have "Small, medium, large, jumbo." From another theater, I got the idea to change that to "Kiddie, small, medium, large" (but no changes to the cup sizes).

You guessed it - the sales of the new "kiddie" size dropped dramatically, but all three larger sizes went up, because most adults don't want to buy something called "kiddie," and a lot of them want a larger drink but don't want to order something called "jumbo."

Not long after that, we added the kids tray combo to our lineup, so now we don't even sell a "kiddie" soda anymore -- virtually every kid gets a kiddie tray.

I can see where the one-size-fits-all option would give trouble for kids, especially, just because a cup that's big enough to please all the adults is going to be too hard for a kid to handle without dropping/spilling.

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Dave Bird
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 723
From: Perth, Ontario, Canada
Registered: Jun 2000


 - posted 07-13-2018 03:44 PM      Profile for Dave Bird   Author's Homepage   Email Dave Bird   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Our drinks are self-serve BEFORE the cash in the (cafeteria style) line, don't seem to have any complaints. We used to sell bottles but I hated handling the inventory personally. We don't offer refills, though I'm still curious as to how the bean-counters figure it's a good idea (and they surely must).

Recently was fascinated at a local regional fast-food chicken and rib joint up here (St-Hubert's) where they offered unlimited serve yourself soda, with only one size of cup provided, a 16-oz "small" cup. I'd just be guessing as to why, but my bet is that people love the idea of self-serv refills but the small size tends to limit what they'll take. People likely feel like gluttons going back a third or fourth time (and I sure wouldn't let the kids do it).

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