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TOPIC: Outside Food & Beverages

Outside Food & Beverages 30 Apr 2000 18:13 #2142

  • RoxyVaudeville
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I'm curious as to the policy of other exhibitors regarding the bringing of outside food or beverages into the theatre.

Most theatres in our area have a sign somwhere near the entrance, either at the box office or ticket taker's post that informs patrons that those items are not permitted to be brought into the theatre. I wonder if they actually enforce the policy or just have it there as a suggestion.

I have had just such a sign now for almost twenty years, but you wouldn't know it as people always continue to bring in large amounts of stuff. Most of what is found in the theatre after the show was hidden from us on the way in. That seems to suggest that they are aware of the policy and deliberatley bring it in any way.

My inforcement of the policy depends on the type of crowd and my mood. Sometimes I actually stop people, while other times I just say: "In the future, please remember that food, beverages and packages are not permitted to be brought into the theatre". Obviouly, the later goes over better with the customer. However, I know of numberous patrons that I have told that to many many times.

It wouldn't bother me so much if those who brought items in would use the trash receptacles on the way out, but in most cases those are the items left on the floor. Maybe they are afraid that they will be seen bring the contraband out.

I have often wondered if I should just look the other way, and not enforce the policy at all.(It is my theatre, so I wouldn't be breaking any directives from the home office)
What do you do if anything?
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 08:38 #2143

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We have a "No Outside Food or Drink" policy but I rarely enforce it. In fact, if someone asks for coffee (which we don't sell) I just tell them to go to the coffee shop around the corner and bring it in. The same with donuts or anything else we don't sell at the concession stand. The only time I ever had to lay down the law was when someone tried to bring in a large pizza. They actually got upset and walked out when I told them no. If they had offered me a slice I might have let them in


Colin Wiseley
Lyric Theatre
Blacksburg VA www.thelyric.com

[This message has been edited by cwiseley (edited May 01, 2000).]
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 10:06 #2144

  • Mike
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We too have the same policy and even show a trailer "Please! No outside food or bevs!" But we turn a blind eye to anything that's carried in... including McD and pizza boxes as we're in a small town and I figure that we'll always get them at some point. There is something sort of sacred right of passage about sneaking stuff into the movies.
I have to confess that on occasion I will stop and buy what I want , sometimes even dinner!!!!, before heading to another theatre. I don't think of it the same as bringing a bottle of wine into a resturant.
Michael Hurley
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 10:16 #2145

  • Avalon
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I have several signs that read:
"If you bring in your own food and drink, please haul out your trash. I don't want to be disposing of packaging for stuff you bought somewhere else. That's just sick and wrong."

First off, it makes makes it less of a big deal all the way around. It allows the "air popped" set to bring in their stuff without a problem and the "double espresso" folks a chance to get wired during the show. We are surrounded by many fine restaurants, so we always have room in our fridge for people's left-overs. I have had regulars try to bring in the McFast Food bags -- which is where i draw the line (The smell of that offends the other customers -- not to mention me). But, almost always, when people bring in a sandwich or their own brand of soda, they buy something at the snack bar.
By stopping the "War On Outside Food", we have one less thing to worry about and the people that do "indulge" almost always are responsible. Granted, I have about the strangest theater in the NW . . . .
Paul Turner
Avalon Cinema
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 11:00 #2146

  • nancypu
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I'm with Roxy on this. If we just didn't have to clean up after them. Sat nite some of our regulars from another country who own a restaurent in the same plaza as us, tried to come in on a child free pass to Flintstones. They were furious that I wouldn't let them. After they left, we cleaned up drinks, candy and something else they had brought in. So it doesn't matter how mad they were at me. We can stand at concessions and see the parking lot very well. It amazes me the number of people that will stand by their car directly in front of us and stuff pop in they pockets or bags. It doesn't bother me to tell them they can't bring it in. <G>
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 18:02 #2147

  • MovieGuy
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Our entrance doors are clearly lettered...NO OUTSIDE FOOD OR BEVERAGES ALLOWED IN THIS THEATRE. I enforce this policy, some of my assistants are lax at it. But, we are working on that. Every item that sneaks in is lost revenue. You can't operate your theatre on the pitiful ticket revenues, unless your skimming. I have caught people bringing in items (in plain view of staff) and have them either leave it at the concession counter or return it to the cars. With kids wearing cargo pants, its very easy to spot bags, boxes, bottles and cans. We confiscate them. If they want it back, they can pick it up on the way out. same goes for backpacks and skateboards. We still have a problem with some people sneaking in alcohol. I will not think twice at calling our local police. Three weeks ago someone brought in a fifth of vodka with their kid to see TIGGER. Sorry about the rambling on, but multiple the number of people and carried in items and see how much revenue you lose. They may bicker, but the major chain down the road doesn't allow it either. Speaking about carryins....I had a couple bring their 4 year old in to see TIGGER and were upset that they had to pay for a childs ticket, claiming he wouldn't know whats going on.Plus, they tried to bring in their own 20 oz bottles of soda. My response was "Hmmm, I guess you should have left him at home if You wanted to see the film." I'm not a meanie, I work for a major supermarket and have heard every story in the book. Its amazing what people will say and do.
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 01 May 2000 23:19 #2148

  • RoxyVaudeville
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MovieGuy:

Now you have hit on another sore point. The number of parents that think their kids should be admitted for free is amazing. Many think that anyone under 5 should be free. Most think that those under 2 should be free. Some even think that anyone under 12 should be free. (What do they think this is...a drive-In?)

My policy is once they hit 12 months they pay childs price. IT'S ONLY $1.50! They can't get a babysitter for that. And of course as most of you know, the reason for charging for the very young is to discourage parents from bringing them in the first place.

For 25 years, I ran my theatre as a dollar house (All Seats-$1.00 at all Times!). People would ask: "Don't you have a childs price?" I trained my cashiers and doorman to say: "Yes we do, what we don't have is an adult price!, everyone gets in for childs price" You should have seen some of the dumb expressions after hearing that!

Most of the comments for free kids under a certain age always comes during Disney films or other kid shows. I even had some that wanted to drop their kids off for free and pick them up later. We would have a theatre full of kids, but no money. They must think we are subsidized by the government or something.

Oh well !

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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 02 May 2000 03:22 #2149

  • Bluewater
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Concessions are vital for a lot of smaller theaters to survive. It's a tough battle to try and keep up with the "biggies". My personal feelings are, if it ain't allowed, don't bring it. Support your theater, especially if it's an indy/small chain venue that does it's job well, has a clean theater, great employees and quality exhibitions. Of course, it's respectful to follow rules no matter what, but to be very frank, I have little pity for huge chains. I follow the rules because that's the type of person I am. If someone wants to bring in outside food, they will find a way however. Of course, if someone walks in with a Joe Blow Grab a Bag of Donuts Gigantor Mega-Pizza in his/her hands, well, heh...

Trash is, from what I have seen, the numero uno problem on this end. I mean, you would think people would be somewhat responsible in how they treat your venue, but it takes all kinds.

As far as "enforcing"...well, if they don't get caught they dont get caught. Hmm. If someone has a Snickers in their pocket or the like, it's not a biggy to me. Coming in with micro-popcorn, 2 litres of pop etc is a bit of a shocker tho...that's when it's time to maybe put the breaks on.


I do tend to lean a lot towards what Colin said though. By that I mean if we don't make it, as long as it isn't something terribly insane, ok. Booze is a no-no, and at a lot of the theaters I have worked at &/or visit, coffee machines have become more and more present, especially in art houses.

BM
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 02 May 2000 08:51 #2150

  • Mike
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The leaving trash in a theatre seems to be another unspoken sacred right & ritual. I remember when they first made soda/beer bottles returnable and how good it felt to leave a bottle somehwere knowing that a kid or somebody in search of a nickle would pick it up in a flash. Not that this is realted! Anyway.... It appears that there is a deep instict to leave garbage in a theatre or why would they do it?
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 02 May 2000 20:31 #2151

  • Bluewater
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I hear you on that Mike. I dunno...it's one of the great theater mysteries.
Perhaps it's because of the colder, almost dungeonlike atmosphere a lot of theaters have. Perhaps it's the usually spartan decoration, leading them to figure they wouldnt be causing any harm. More likely, just young people being young people and/or lazy people being lazy people.


BM
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 16 May 2000 14:21 #2152

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AS a moviegoer I would like to give my side of the issue. I respect any theater that I attend. I can't say that I have never brought outside snacks into a movie but it has always been in the big theaters. Out of respect for the little guy I always buy me snacks inside. They have a hard time getting by and I realize that. Of course I'm an older person. Maybe that has something to do with it?
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 16 May 2000 21:58 #2153

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Thank you pappajoe...we little guys do appreicate that.

However, Tuesday night being my janitors night off, I always clean that night just after the show. Tonight we had 178 people in for Erin Brockovich (One show only) and at least 90% (I'm not kidding) of them were over 50 years old (So am I). The nice thing about the older folks is that they don't leave much trash behind...the bad part is they don't buy much. Per Cap runs only about 50 cents with them. The fact that they don't buy much, doesn't mean they don't eat anything though... many of them bring in small individually wrapped candies, and most of them leave those small wrappers on the floor. Our largest percentage of illegal contraband seems to come in with seniors...and of course they come in on a discount price!

I love the senior audience, but I don't think they realize that they do almost nothing for the profitability of the theatre.
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 17 May 2000 10:03 #2154

  • poppajoe
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I love large buttered popcorn, root beer, and Rasinettes.
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 23 May 2000 16:00 #2155

  • Mike
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by poppajoe:
I love large buttered popcorn, root beer, and Rasinettes.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

And what the heck does that mean?

Michael Hurley
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Re: Outside Food & Beverages 24 May 2000 10:35 #2156

  • poppajoe
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Just to let everyone know my favorites Mike. I don't buy outside you see. Those are the items I usually buy.
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