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TOPIC: Sneaking in treats revisited

Sneaking in treats revisited 20 Mar 2002 00:41 #25745

  • BurneyFalls
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Did anyone happen to see Randy Cohen, the self professed "ethicist", on Good Morning America this morning when he told the world it is okay to sneak in snacks when attending the movie theatre. Immediately after that comment he told a teenager in the audience it is okay to run a red light if you're out in the middle of nowhere and nobody is approaching the intersection.

I have never written to a network before, but I did today. I was appalled that someone who claims to be an expert on morals and ethics would say either of those things. Wondered if anyone else saw the segment and what they thought.

Here's a link: http://abcnews.go.com/sections/GMA/GoodMorningAmerica/GMA020319Excerpt_randy_cohen.html
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 22 Mar 2002 09:48 #25746

  • Barry Floyd
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This was a topic that was brought up at the U.D.I.T.O.A. (United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association) conference in Orlanda in February. Drive-ins have hard enough time to make it in the exhibition business, and losing revenue to lost food sales can litterally put you out of business.

Some of the owners were saying that, "At the end of the night while I was picking up the lot, I was picking up more trash from McDonalds, Pizza Hut, etc. - than I was from my own concession stand". What other venue that charges admission to gain access allows you to bring in your own food? You wouldn't stand in line at the local indoor theatre with your Pizza Hut box and expect to be let in.. would you? Why should the drive-in be any different?

One approach that several drive-ins across the country have done is to sell an "Outside Food Permit".

If the patron wishes to stop by the local pizza joint or fast food place and bring their own food into the theatre, they MUST purchase an outside food permit in addition to their regular admission price. Most of the permits average between $3.00 - $4.00, and if the patrons are educated to WHY the theatre must do this, then it's usually not a bid deal. The ones who refuse.... don't get in.

We will more than likely do this type of arrangement when we open.

Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 22 Mar 2002 14:13 #25747

  • D. Bird
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How many are doing this Barry? I've never seen it, though I do hear the odd owner ask for "snack-bar support" along with the reasons why in the pre-show address or on phone messages. Are you talking $4. per car? Does $1. per person sound better? Interesting. Though we always eat a late lunch, and plan on dinner at the drive-in, generally hit $15-25. easy...
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 23 Mar 2002 07:13 #25748

Currently I know of two drive-in theatres in the United States that are doing this. One charges $3.00 for an outside food and beverage permit, the other $5.00.

Once a patron buys the permit, it is good for one evening and for only their car. They can bring in outside food and beverage but they may not share it with people in other cars. I know the owners of both these theatres and so far it is working well for them. There was resistance at first from some patrons, but keep in mind that these are the people who often think that theatre owners get to keep all the money they take in at the box office. After an educational period and with proper enforcement, the patrons at both drive-ins have come to accept the concept.

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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 27 Mar 2002 09:36 #25749

  • Barry Floyd
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I thought it was a great idea, but it must be hard to enforce.

I kept both "hand-outs" of the sample "Outside Food Permits" to use as a future reference if we decide to implement a policy similar to this.

I think if we institute the policy from day #1 it will generally be more accepted - as opposed to "let them bring what they want for a month or so and then start charging for outside food".

One of the drive-in owners at the conference spoke of his admission price change policy mid-way through the season last year, from "car-load pricing" to "per-person". He said in order for him to meet the needs of his film distributors, he really had no choice. He said his patrons complained and complained for months.

On the "Outside Food Permit" issue, how much would be "too much" to charge? Is $3.00 enough? Would $5.00 be pushing it? How much could you get away with before your patrons began protesting with their wallets?
Barry Floyd
Floyd Entertainment Group
Lebanon, Tennessee

Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, Tennessee
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 27 Mar 2002 11:01 #25750

  • poppajoe
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Gee Barry, I think that there are some variables that have to be addressed here. Although I don't think a 5.00 dollar fee would be too high, you couldn't charge a car with two people in it and a car with six people in it the same price. I would be in favor of some kind of break down. I know, that would make to remember. But I think that would be the fairest way to handle the issue.
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 27 Mar 2002 12:50 #25751

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We have a casual "no outside food and drink" policy here at the Rialto. My aversion to negative signs out wieghed my desire for enforcing the rule. When I see someone bringing in outside food and drink, I gently remind them that it is rude and has been a rule in the movie theatre industry forever. I don't take it away or get pissy.

Some people just can't $4 for a popcorn and $3 for a drink. I would rather have their admission than nothing at all. Remember, only 1/3 of the people buy concessions and there is nothing you can do to get the other 2/3s to fork out for concessions. Even if you lowered your prices to below supermarket levels, they would still think you were ripping them off.
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Re: Sneaking in treats revisited 27 Mar 2002 14:30 #25752

  • D. Bird
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It's a tough one, I fully understand the economics of drive-ins, been trying to zone land to build one, but the tough issue is that you are allowing someone to bring in their own car, their own property. I never bring in outside food, spend $20. at least inside, only ever bring in bottled water. I think that whether you have a policy or not, the best thing you can do is offer a wide range of items, keep quality high, have a "value" menu for the cheapskates, over all do "snacks right" and offer more than they can get elsewhere.
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