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TOPIC: Water policy

Water policy 20 Nov 2019 21:55 #44446

  • BusyBee
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What's your water policy? We sell SO MUCH bottled water. We give 12 oz paper cups of ice water for free. What people want is a 44 oz water and are outraged that it's not free. We sell any size cup of ice water for the same price as soda. I worry that offering free or cheap larger cups of water will actually put a sizable dent in our concessions per cap.

Personally, I'm making an effort to reduce plastic waste in my life, so I'm conflicted about this.
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Water policy 21 Nov 2019 09:22 #44447

  • lionheart
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When I first opened (11 years ago), I would give away small courtesy cups of ice water upon request. It was not a frequent request. Then a customer said I shouldn't give it to them for free and wanted to pay full price, which was only $1.00 at the time for the small size cup. I settled on letting them pay 25 cents just to cover the cost of the cup and the electricity to make the ice. If someone wanted a medium, it was 50 cents, and $1.00 for a large.

When my soda prices went up to $1.50 for a small and so forth, I didn't change my prices on the tap water. It was such a small portion of my sales, that it didn't matter much, but I know that I'm always unhappy if a restaurant charges me for tap water. I never had a complaint that it wasn't free at my theater.

As time passes and more and more people drink water instead of soda, one would hope that these water drinkers would buy bottled water from the concession, but if they are like me, they are concerned about the adverse health effects of bottled water (BPA's, etc.). And why pay so much for bottled water, when possibly healthier tap water is free or less expensive?

These days, I will not buy soda for health reasons and due to the cost. If I knew that water will cost as much as soda, I would probably do without any drink from the concession, perhaps without any purchase at all. I might feel guilty sneaking in my own snacks, but I wouldn't feet a bit guilty bringing in my own water. So, overpricing water might cost you other sales.

I don't think you need to give out any drink for free if you have a water fountain. We did have one. If you don't, then you can provide the very smallest cups for free and charge a reduced amount for larger sizes. As a customer, that would seem fair to me. If your customer doesn't see it that way, then it's easy enough to point out that yes your water costs you very little, but the cups, electricity, ice maker, labor, etc. all costs you plenty, not to mention the cost of the whole building that makes the entire operation possible. They don't call it overhead for nothing.
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