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TOPIC: Long-Distance Operations

Long-Distance Operations 14 Dec 2006 10:03 #25243

  • 01mommy
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Hello All! There's a 6-8 screen theater inside my college town mall that's been closed for about 2 years (a megaplex was built adjacent to the mall, perhaps by the same company). At any rate, I was interested in opening a subrun/artsy theater in its place. It's a city of about 35,000, with two mid-size colleges within 20 minutes that offer daily shuttles to the mall. The problem is I live in Florida 9 months of the year (I'm a teacher but one of my homes is in Maryland). Do you think it's at all feasible considering I won't be there the majority of the time? I don't think good management would be an issue, my alma mater has an excellent HRM program and I think I could also present numerous opportunities for internships and employment. Obviously, I'm not looking to get rich, but I think the concept would be a welcome change in the community (most of the college professionals are residents and there is money in the area in terms of income). I've seen some of the work schedules you all have and just wanted some opinions from seasoned vets of the industry.
Thanks!

sorry for the typo!

[This message has been edited by 01mommy (edited December 14, 2006).]
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Re: Long-Distance Operations 14 Dec 2006 20:33 #25244

  • Dexxa
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It's do abli guess, As long as the manager you hire know's what hes doing and that he can send the required paper work to you that need's to be done,

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Re: Long-Distance Operations 15 Dec 2006 05:25 #25245

  • jimor
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Unless you know the manager you hire and also trust him as a dearest brother, I would arrange for close surveillance! You would have a lot to lose with a clever operator.

For starters, you would have to have someone local audit the paperwork at least every three months -- just 'for accurate accounting, don't you know' with the manager fully knowing of such financial oversight before you hire him, and written out in his signed Job Description. You would set up bank accounts such that statements, etc., were mailed to your out-of-town location during relevant months and then back to your local address when you return, automatically (a Post Office Box may be safer than your home address!). Don't rely upon a local lawyer or accountant to receive and faithfully retain all your documents; no matter how much you pay them, they are imperfect too and you are, after all, just one of their clients. ALWAYS send them only photocopies of needed documents that have first come to you; that way you can check off documents that should appear by certain dates, and also control just who knows how much about YOUR business. There is usually no reason for your lawyer to have your box office reports, for example, nor for your accountant to have deeds and private employee papers.

You would allow a local petty cash account into which only you made deposits, but anything over a certain amount would come from a separate account to which only you had access. Banks do NOT check signatures, so do NOT depend upon a 'Dual-Signature' check arrangement to protect you.

The thing here is to detect someone keeping two sets of books, which is one of the oldest tricks in the book. Maybe arranging for a separate and secret electronic report from your ticket vending machine would help in this area as well as similar at concession terminals, along with the following measures.

I would also set up a web site, perhaps by out-of-town experts, (with password access only) with camera views of many places in the cinema, much the way day care places have such views on-line to view their children in real time. Some of your cameras would be obvious as in the lobby and auditoriums; others would be concealed as in the boxoffices, manager's office, above entrance/exit doors and cash areas, and rear areas. A hidden sequencer/switcher would give you a variety of views, or you could switch to any one camera as needed. A hard disk video recorder could be arranged to record all cameras for playback by remote control at your command. Peephole and infrared or night-vision options would be wise to consider, since it would not be long before employees discovered some cameras and simply turned off the lights while doing the dirty.

Is all of this cheap and easy? Hardly. But do you want to be played the fool after months and things are settled into a calm routine? The temptation to steal from an owner a thousand miles away would be enormous, and employees may well regard the place as a sexual playground for which YOU would be legally and financially liable, should something happen.

"When the cat's away, the mice will play" is a truism as old as people, so be ready. You may luck out and get great people, and if so, wonderful. But with most people these days having neither God nor consequent morals, I would go into this with my eyes open if I were you. Best Wishes. --Jim

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited December 15, 2006).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: Long-Distance Operations 15 Dec 2006 09:47 #25246

  • dsschoenborn
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I was going to suggested camera's as well. Most deceit DVR's offer the ability to log in remotely and watch the camera's. I looked around for almost a year and have one I can look at from home and I only live 5 min away. I know other owners who do the same thing and say its great.

I have not advertised to the staff that I can do this but my friends have. They have a bar & food place and they make it a point to tell an employee every now and then what they saw and complement them on good work as well as offer improvements.

A remote run business is not that uncommon. I was at a winery in Ohio whose owner lives in NY City but comes on site quit often to take care of issues.

[This message has been edited by dsschoenborn (edited December 18, 2006).]
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Re: Long-Distance Operations 15 Dec 2006 16:38 #25247

  • 01mommy
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Thanks for the feedback, especially jimor. Surveillance is definitely a requirement, and with most discount tickets along the east coast costing less than $150 round trip, coming on site at least monthly is doable.
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Re: Long-Distance Operations 15 Dec 2006 20:21 #25248

You do need to take an active role at the coalface.

The staff should not get the impression that you don't care.

You need to get a feeling for your audience - if you don't know what they want, you can't give it to them, so they won't keep coming.
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Re: Long-Distance Operations 17 Dec 2006 23:25 #25249

  • jacker5
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Absentee ownership is never good! Bottom line is no matter how much you think you can trust a person there is always that temptation to take for themselve.
Even if you are making a profit why should they get more than what they shoudl but they do. I know a few people that thought,"Oh were doing good but noticed they should be doing great." they set up cameras and sure enough there most trusted employess were steeling and were caught on tape.
Now this was just an hour away and he came every week to check on thingsand in 6 monhts the loss was high!
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