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TOPIC: Theatre Pubs

Theatre Pubs 19 May 2002 16:08 #27825

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Myself and two other are considering opening a theatre pub in our city. Theatre Pubs are very popular in Portland, OR., however, in our neighboring city there are none. We have a population of nearly 200,000, and feel that people would prefer to experience the Theatre Pub on our side of the river. Is there anyone who has had experience with theatre pubs? Should we look for closed theatre's(if any), retail space, etc... Any information would be much appreciated.
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Re: Theatre Pubs 19 May 2002 17:35 #27826

  • Ken Layton
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Go to Kelso, Wash. and visit the Kelso Theater Pub. Very nicely run operation and the food is good. They got their projection equipment from Scott Hicks' AMERICAN CINEMA EQUIPMENT in Portland, Oregon.
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Re: Theatre Pubs 19 May 2002 20:03 #27827

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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, helvetica">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Ken Layton:
Go to Kelso, Wash. and visit the Kelso Theater Pub. Very nicely run operation and the food is good. They got their projection equipment from Scott Hicks' AMERICAN CINEMA EQUIPMENT in Portland, Oregon.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Ken,

Thanks for the info. I am already making arrangements to visit the Kelso Theater Pub. Have you had any other experiences with these Theater Pubs. It seems a if one needs to offer more entertainment choices within the Pub to appeal to a broader audience. An example I've seen is Comedy Shows, Themed events, cafes, etc.. Anything else you may be able to add?
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Re: Theatre Pubs 19 May 2002 20:21 #27828

  • Ken Layton
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Kelso also has stage hypnotists, boxing on the big screen tv, and rock bands.
Also stop by 919 S.W Taylor, Suite 900 in Portland and talk to Tom Moyer, Sr (Tom Moyer Luxury Theaters). I'm sure with all his years in the theater business he could give you plenty of advise.



[This message has been edited by Ken Layton (edited May 19, 2002).]
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Re: Theatre Pubs 07 Jun 2002 10:16 #27829

  • poppajoe
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I'm thinking that theatre pub is probably the wrong title for this type of establishment. If your going into all the extra entertainment, which isn't a bad thing, maybe we should think of something more discriptive of what your offering. Something that says we're about more then just movies.
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Re: Theatre Pubs 16 Jun 2002 14:33 #27830

  • Mike
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The thing to remember is this: if you do a theatre/ pub or call it whatever you want: you are in the restaurant business and people who eat are lots more critical and scapegoat blame oriented about food than they are about movies. People never blame me when a movie sucks. But give them a crappy burger and they won't blame Hollywood. So: the movies will take care of themselves: you better focus on the food.

Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: Theatre Pubs 24 Jun 2002 09:39 #27831

  • Seeker
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Mike,

My concept for a cafe-style seating theater is to offer unique food items and unique seating, but stay away from preparing meals and grill items like hamburgers. I think it makes sense to minimize food preparation while offering, in addition to traditional theater snacks, unique concession foods. Perhaps a fryer for potato skins and french fries would be the only cooking equipment.

Do you think this makes sense?
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Re: Theatre Pubs 24 Jun 2002 12:37 #27832

  • BECKWITH1
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I have no prior experience in the food industry. But I think that I speak for all of us. We are all on the lookout for something that will sell at our concession stand in enough numbers to justify its existence, but will not cost more than we can sell it for, won't take too long to prepare and doesn't bring the health inspectors down on our heads unduly.

We don't sell hot dogs because of the waste and the health department in our area. We know from our competitors experience that they don't sell well enough to justify all the wasted hot dogs. They had a freezer full of used? hot dogs to be inspected by the health department before disposal and hadn't passed a health inspection in memory because of them. This makes cooked foods a problem unless the sales are great. We don't think that our customer base expects to find cooked food at any theater and so they probably wouldn't buy enough to justify the extra effort.

Tha doesn't mean that we only sell popcorn and pop though. We sell nachos, cookies, snack mixes, herbal teas, hot chocolate, hot cider, cappuccino, coffee, punches, juice boxes, water, etc. Thinking about cotton candy.

Keep an open mind but be careful about adding new menu items.
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Re: Theatre Pubs 25 Jun 2002 09:07 #27833

  • Seeker
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BECKWITH1,

I'm totally with you on the hot dogs. I've seen them on display at theaters all my life and it's hard to think of anything less appetizing. Well, maybe that McRib sandwich at McDonald's.....

My original thought on avoiding cooking (does heating cheese topping for nachos or toasting bagels count?) was to keep the labor intensity for food service low and avoid buying and maintaining specialized cooking equipment. Your motivation of remaining exempt from health doept. "restaurant" regulations also makes sense.

I'm thinking of locally baked goods, specialty coffees and teas, and perhaps even those Dippin' Dots that everyone seems to hate on this forum (I've never had them, but my nephews and nieces all seem to like them).

Can you think of food items which sell well to the various age groups in your market? I especially need items which "thrifty" seniors will buy as we have a significant elderly population in my community.

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Re: Theatre Pubs 25 Jun 2002 12:12 #27834

  • BECKWITH1
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Thifty seniors are tough. Figure on a per cap of $1.00 or so. You can sell them coffee, tea and small boxes of popcorn - ours is priced at $1.00 per box - no butter because it runs through the cheap #1 box we use. They will also spend .75 on a traditional candy like a Hershey bar. Sometimes they will even spring for a $2 box of candy such as Sno-caps, Dots, Jujubees etc.

We actually have a restaurant license Level 2 for this year so we can do anything, but we don't because of the regulation involved. When we had our regular inspection it was with someone that has been there are few years and knows that we are no trouble. I understand that a new inspector is now on the loose who is looking for trouble.

We have opted for the portion packs of nachos and cheese because we think that they solve our concerns best. So we don't heat cheese in a big vat, just in our popcorn warmer which has become a nachos and cheese warmer. Individual servings are a little more expensive than the bulk cheese, but we don't worry about waste, spoilage etc. We also don't sell enough of them to want to move into the bulk sizes. We keep a good watch on our backstock which can go out of date rapidly if you buy too much at a time.

Bagel toasting will qualify as food handling and will up your level of cooking with the Health Department depending upon whether you start with frozen or not and whether you toast ahead or only on order. i.e. what do you do with the unsold bagels? Essentially we do packaged food whenever possible which puts us in the regulated area of a convenience store or drugstore here from the Health Dept. point of view. Not a high level threat to the health of the public.

Watch those "locally baked goods." They need to be made by someone licensed and inspected by the Health Dept.

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Re: Theatre Pubs 25 Jun 2002 15:15 #27835

  • sevstar
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I have often wondered where soft pretzels fit in. Handled food or not? I have yet to see them for sale in any area theatre other than a drive-in. Cotton Candy, would that be considered handled food?

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Re: Theatre Pubs 19 Jul 2002 00:23 #27836

  • Mill
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Be carefull, Last year I was at working for a theatre in San Antonio and they decided to bring booze in as an item. (margaritas etc...) Reasons being movie concessions is usually a one time purchase not over and over again and down south, among others. Man was there ever a stink about it though. MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving)(which interestingly enough the president was a MAN!) had all the TV and news if front of the theatre, community groups picketed, boycotts ran, it was a mess!
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Re: Theatre Pubs 24 Jul 2002 00:27 #27837

  • Obyagain
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J-any luck for your quest of a theatre pub in vancouver. Let us know if you still need help. I would recommend visiting the Laurelhurst in Portland and talking with the owners.
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