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TOPIC: concession prices

concession prices 17 Jun 2011 15:50 #36507

  • Supie
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I have a small town 3 screen that does about 70% of the annual business between June 15 and Labor Day.
I constantly hear in the summer from downstate people that my concession prices are really low compared to there hometown theatre.

Popcorn starts at 3.50 for 46 ounce.. Drinks are 2 - 2.50 & 3.00 for 22 oz 32 oz and 44 oz

Candy (theater size) I pay about 1 to 1.25 for and sell for 1.75 to 2 bucks..

Is that enough ? I've got a grocery store right across the street so I ccan't gouge them.

How do the big buys get $4.00 for a Junior Mint?

Appreciate feedback
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Re: concession prices 17 Jun 2011 17:00 #36508

  • dsschoenborn
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Your not competing with a grocery store. You have to cover costs plus clean up and overhead. Your candy is too low for how much it is costing you. You really need to get better prices on your cost.
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Re: concession prices 17 Jun 2011 17:06 #36509

  • revrobor
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I would take what the people say about your prices as a compliment. Don't worry about whether you are charging as much as others. If it is profitable for you then that's fine. Higher prices will cause people to buy less and you would probably end up making no more and causing ill will. It's not a matter of "keeping up with the Joneses" by charging what they are charging but of making YOUR customers happy. The last small town single screener I managed had an extremely profitable concessions and we sold our largest corn (148 oz) for $3.00. It cost me about a dime to put it together.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: concession prices 17 Jun 2011 17:07 #36510

  • leeler
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agreed. your markup on candy is too small, imho

However, I get theater sized candy cheaper then what you've been charged, closer to 90 cents a box. I charge $2 for it so I am getting a decent if not huge markup. I'd shop around for a cheaper candy supplier. With your candy being cheaper then your pop or popcorn you're essentially steering your customers to lower markup items.

drinks and popcorn are roughly what I charge although I have a 32 oz size for $2 and a 16 oz pop for $1.50
"What a crazy business"
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Re: concession prices 04 Jul 2011 02:45 #36607

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I believe your prices are fine, but you need to find a cheaper candy supplier. I too pay and charge what Leeler does.

AND

I do think you compete with the rest. Hard to charge $2.50 or $3 for what is very available for $1 at numerous locations. I have 2 locations within 1/4 mile selling the same theater candies I do for only $1. If you do not think we compete, make sure you look in your trash cans!
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Re: concession prices 07 Jul 2011 06:41 #36624

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I'm not so sure I agree with the competition bit, though I will say up front that I'm running a 3-screen drive-in with no stores in the immediate area.

The 90 cent box candies sounds about right, cost-wise. If you can't get it from your supplier, swallow your pride and go to Wal-Mart. They have a lot of the stuff we sell, and you can buy it in bulk for about 90 cents a box.

The only other businesses I consider when setting my prices are other theatres in my market. The 20 cent bottle of water you can get from the wholesaler in case-lots is sold for $1.25 at the 7-11, $2.75 at many theatres and $3.25 at the major sports stadiums around here.

The same box of Red Vines that you see in theatres for $2 to $3.75 in theatres is found in Wal-Marts and drug stores for 80 cents.

That $35 steak you get at the fancy restaurant is pretty close to what you can buy from Safeway for $7.50.

With respect to others here, I have done my share of experimentation with substantially undercutting like businesses in some markets I've worked in over the past 40+ years. In no case have I had discount pricing bring in enough additional business to cover the difference.

As has been said here, theatre pricing is driven by what it costs to generate the customer experience. Charge what you think is fair and what you feel generates a profit level that satisfies you... and don't apologize for it. Except for cases where real gouging is taking place, most of the public really does understand how these things work.
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Re: concession prices 07 Jul 2011 14:11 #36625

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well, said, rodeojack. I just took over operations of a six screen that is charging some pretty outrageous (at least in my mind) prices on concessions.

$4 for bottled water? $3.75 for candy?

seems high to me but the per caps are higher there then they are in my single screen discount theater. Hard to argue with that....

This isn't to say we won't be looking at prices for everything we sell in both locations on a continual basis, but each theater has its plusses and minuses and when it is all said and done you take a look at what works and what doesn't and make adjustments, based on experience. Isn't that what it's all about?
"What a crazy business"
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Re: concession prices 07 Jul 2011 16:40 #36627

  • dsschoenborn
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All great comments here.

$4 for water is the norm for a stadium and amusment parks but I have a hard time charging more that $2 for water. My competition charges twice what I do for a lot of similar items and has lines at the concession but I still keep mine in line with what most have mentioned here. I guess I need to check candy prices again but I was getting mine in the $0.70 range but I also buy in quantity because I have the storeage room to hold 50+ cases at a time.
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Re: concession prices 09 Jul 2011 04:27 #36631

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dsschoenborn wrote:
All great comments here.

$4 for water is the norm for a stadium and amusment parks but I have a hard time charging more that $2 for water. My competition charges twice what I do for a lot of similar items and has lines at the concession but I still keep mine in line with what most have mentioned here. I guess I need to check candy prices again but I was getting mine in the $0.70 range but I also buy in quantity because I have the storeage room to hold 50+ cases at a time.


OK, then here's the obvious question.

If your competition charges twice what you do and has a line (and more profit), what is it about your place that prevents you from doing the same thing... aside from the psychological side of it?

Drive-ins are notorious for charging possibly way too little. For reasons I don't fully understand, most of us have always been less than indoor theatres, even though we offer two films and a very different experience.

In my area, some drive-ins are starting to catch up. Nobody is hitting the public for the $10+ that the chains are at (or near), but I'm seeing $8.50 and $9's now. Still, I hear about drive-ins that are running carloads or per-cap prices in the $5 or $6 range. Unfortunately, it's these places that, I think, are most likely not to survive digital. I'd be very surprised to hear that even one of them has made enough to put the cost of a digital installation in the bank.
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Re: concession prices 10 Jul 2011 14:38 #36645

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As far as the candy subject goes, I have never really worried too much about selling tons of it. Popcorn and soda are the most profitable items, so they remain the most important. Candy should just be considered an "add on" sale. That being said, I think making a dollar to 1.50 profit per candy item is good enough. Most candy seems to cost about 90 cents, so $2.50-$3.00 is about the max I would go.
leeler- regarding the concession prices at the theatre you just took over being considerably higher than your discount single screen, you would also have to take into consideration that expenses will be much higher at that theatre than your single.
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Re: concession prices 10 Jul 2011 16:28 #36647

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your right, they sure are higher. but having said that it gets loads more people through too (as it should)
"What a crazy business"
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Re: concession prices 11 Jul 2011 03:51 #36652

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trackfood wrote:
.
leeler- regarding the concession prices at the theatre you just took over being considerably higher than your discount single screen, you would also have to take into consideration that expenses will be much higher at that theatre than your single.

What? Heck no. That is why singles are so hard to make work because they are so hard to profit from. Unless you are talking about an absolute dollar figure, but that would not be a vaild way to do it.

For me: I ahve a Dollar General in my shipping center 150 feet away. Selling.....concession size candy for $1. Another 2 blocks away is a grocery store. Selling.....you guessed it concession candy for $1. Now 10 years ago these places did not sell these size of candies.

You hear quite a bit from the public that they go to movies less often because of the cost. For us, our business plan is to get people to the theater more often and to us from our competition because of our lower prices.

If you can sleep comfortably charging $3 for that $.15 water, go for it. I am sure no one notices.
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Re: concession prices 18 Jul 2011 16:12 #36680

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We have a large family demo and I think our lower prices get them to come here more often and stop at the concession stand more. We have customers who come in almost weekly and buy everytime they come. That is why I think I can under charge my competition and keep them coming in a lot more. Even people who can afford anything comment to me on how much it cost at the compitition concession stand.
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Re: concession prices 29 Jul 2011 16:54 #36751

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In my small town I've gone in and bought ALL of the 1.00 concession size candy and sold it at the theater...it is good as a "fill-in" supplier, and it's no longer competition if the stores have none to sell!!
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Re: concession prices 29 Jul 2011 19:00 #36752

  • AllenD
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sals wrote:
In my small town I've gone in and bought ALL of the 1.00 concession size candy and sold it at the theater...it is good as a "fill-in" supplier, and it's no longer competition if the stores have none to sell!!

1. Do you mark the candy up?
2. The local stores don't restock the $1.00 concession size candy so you don't have it ALL?
AllenD
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