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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 531 (516)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 531
Page 531

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 531

Theatre Problems in Confection Vending

A Survey of Conditions As They Exist in 1949, and of the Possibilities for Development in the Future

Not long ago, at a meeting of grocery wholesalers, one of the speakers predicted that the general store was on its way back, not solely in the towns and villages but in the large cities of the country.

He made the point that large markets and food centers had come to the conclusion that since people came in great numbers to buy groceries, meats, and vegetables, there was no reason why allied lines such as drugs, electrical appliances, etc., couldnlt be sold at the same time. This, naturally, would lead to the point where, like the general store of old, customers could do most of their shopping at one place at one time.

Chances are that if this speakerls theory were placed before a meeting of theatremen, many would be in accord, for within the ranks of the nations exs hibitors there are those who think that "if there is a profit to be made, lets make it."

They point to a declining market for films, without the price of pictures to the exhibitors going down, and that if theatremen are going to stay in business for profit, it is perfectly logical that they expand their olf-the-screen selling if it does not interfere with the reason why they are in business, selling entertainment.

Here is explored the vital question of just how far a theatre may go in the exploitation of its confection vending without alienating patronage. Also the advantages in having all extra profits facilities serviced by a qualified concessionaire or by theatre management. In addition, some suggestions for boosting the sales of confections through the indirect appeal of cleanliness and availability, are outlined. While extra profits from the sales of refreshments are lauded as legitimate and, when properly managed, an important element in the modern theatre,s financial stability, it is concluded that the show on (he screen is always the theatreis primary business.

Of course, the argument here is as to where the line should be drawn. Currently, there are two schools of thought. One advocates a firemove-the-seats-tomake - way - for - the - confection - departmentll policy while the other adheres to the age-old tradition, that this is show

THE "CONSOLE" of the new Movie-Hour popcorn fountain being distributed by National Theatre Supply stores has been specially designed for theatre or similar mass retail sales. Only counter high with a rather Hat pot and large warmer area, bins are provided for raw corn. salt, boxes. and preheated seasoning oil. Two cash drawers help speed sales should ,two attendants be needed at rush hours.

business, and that when we stop selling entertainment we wont be in business regardless of what profit a confection department makes.

Naturally, there is much to be said for both sides.

What has caused the finew look" in as far as an attitude toward confection vending is concerned in recent years is the reported profits of many of the larger circuits, whose grosses run well into the millions, and although no figures are ever revealed, the profits must run parallel to the volume.

'Naturally, with this kind of an eye opener, no wonder that off-the-screen selling has made such rapid progress. Extra profits of this nature cant beoverlooked by anyone, even the diehards who used to say that fillll never sell popcorn or candyfl

When a new house is built, of course, provision is generally made for an extra profits department that can take care of the patrons, based on the nature of the operating policy and the flow of patron traffic. In such cases, there is never any question of having to eliminate seats to get the most out of the confections.

In the older theatres, however, the problem does arise, and many an exhibe itor has been faced with the problem of removing seats to make his stand more eye appealing and attractive. However, the same theatreman has to answer this question: uWhat will my patrons think if I have a capacity house and they might now be sitting where the stand isi", There are many theatre executives who declare that seats should only be eliminated as a last resort, pointing to the fact that whether a stand is attrace tive or not, a standing patron has a long memory. Circuits and independents who have eliminated seats can probably point to a greater income, but they have no way of knowing whether they have lost business because of loss of good will.

There is another problem which has to be faced by theatremen who seek to get the most out of their extra profits activities, and that is whether they should operate the department themselves or whether they should be served by a concessionaire or similar service.

Here again is one of those tithere-ismuchetoebe-said - for - both - sides" questions.

The concessionairc offers arguments quickly.

Ono prominent concessionaire executive recently had this to say before a group of exhibitors:

iiThe objectives for which we are reaching are: 1. To produce increased revenue to the company from this important department of our theatre open :itions. 2. To render a service to your patrons that will help them to better enjoy their visit to our theatre. 3. To so

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 531