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TOPIC: market research for a new project?

market research for a new project? 27 Jan 2006 06:02 #12081

  • Pieman
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We are thinking about opening a cafe/theatre upstairs at our cinema. It would have a small screen and lounge chairs as well as bar tables/stools for informal film screening, such as art house movies for small groups etc. I imagine you wouldn't have more than 30 seats.it would have a cafe area with easy food (such as chicken wings, sushi, coffee and cake type menu)and most likely wine. It is almost like a gold class style theatre, except the bar/cafe is in the theatre.We are a little worried though about how well it would take off..How would you do market research for this type of venture to see if it was viable?? Who would you ask and what type of questions would you ask??
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Re: market research for a new project? 27 Jan 2006 08:10 #12082

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do you have any experience in the restaurant field? there wouldn't be enough money out there for me to embark on this kind of project. even a small venture with easy food (is sushi easy?) will be an unbelievable amount of work. i don't mean to be negative, i just have horrible memories of the restaurant/coffee house my husband and i owned, that i was sure would be a dream come true for us. what is your labor market like? is it easy to find and retain good employees? i didn't answer any of your questions, just putting in my two cents for what it's worth.....i wouldn't want anyone to have the life we had for those few years. also, what kind of licensing fees would you have for alcohol sales? It may be difficult to cover it with only 30 seats.
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Re: market research for a new project? 27 Jan 2006 12:12 #12083

  • lionheart
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As for how you would do research, I'm thinking that this is such a specialized business that you would have a hard time finding data from traditional marketing data sources where you might simply buy a report. You might be able to find data for either the movie side of it or for the cafe side of it, but I doubt that there are any readily available reports for a cafe/theater.

I would think that one possible way to get information would be to find other theaters doing the same thing successfully and then observe them carefully. If they are not in your market area, they may be willing to share what they have learned with a fellow theater operator. It would be better if your model theater and/or mentor would be in Australia so that any unique preferences of the people there could be known. However, if you can't find one there, you might be able to find someone here in America to give you advice. Any one out there willing to share their experience with Pieman? If not, I know there are some people over on the forums at film-tech.com who operate cafe/theaters. Perhaps they might help you.

Some things that people pointed out to me when I was asking about a similar idea are that you need to decide what is the focus of your cafe/theater. Is it movies, or is it food? If it's food, then people may come and cause enough disruption that the film viewing experience might suffer for those more interested in the film. If it's movies, then is your food going to be good enough to really make people want to eat it? And if the food is that good, then people may just come for the food. That will put you back in the category of degraded film viewing conditions.

Of course, if you are going to sell food, then you want to make sure it's good, or there is no point in trying to sell it. If it's not good then your cafe/theater will develop a reputation for having bad or more likely mediocre food. Then if not many customers buy the food, will an auditorium with 30 seats make any sense? Especially with the added costs of equipment and kitchen and wait staff.

Of course, if you can create a good balance between the two aspects of a cafe and a theater, then 30 seats might be plenty. I can imagine the average sales per customer (the per cap) will be pretty darn high. But, the profit margin on cafe food may not be anywhere near what it is for popcorn and soda. However, if you can sell wine, I know that is a high profit item. A couple of glasses of wine for the average customer could really help the profit margin.

You also might want to consider if there are any other art house theaters in your area. And can you get those art films you want to show? With their more limited releases, will they want to give a 30 seat cafe/theater a print? The same question would also apply to more mainstream films. Will they want to give you a print?
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Re: market research for a new project? 27 Jan 2006 20:58 #12084

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Hmm.. all good food for thought. thanks to those who replied. I shall give it some more thinking
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