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1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 534 (519)

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition
1948-49 Theatre Catalog
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 534
Page 534

1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 534

An Independent Circuitis Extra Profits Set-Up

The Management Methods and Systems Which the Large Walter Reade Circuit Found Necessary to a Big Job

While there are many industryites who are still of the belief that the success or failure of a theatre depends on whether the pictures are consistently good or not, there is one hard and fast rule that applies to the operation of the confection department#study the theatre, and operate the department according to the individual needs of the house.

As a result, this was the crux of the problem which arose when the Walter Reade Theatres, one of the eastis largest independent circuits with more than 40 houses in New York and New Jersey, decided to form its own extra profits department.

In June, 1947, the plans became an actuality. It was decided to sell candy, popcorn, Coca-Cola, and novelties, and LeRoy Blumenhein, a manager in one of the cities in which the circuit operates, was selected to head the unit so that his expert knowledge of theatre management could be utilized. It was up to Blumenhein to see that the stands in the various houses were staffed and operated completely by their own employees, with each manager being responsible for the operation in his own theatre, its inventories, merchandising, etc., for which he received a percentage of the gross receipts.

The plan was to have stands in every Reade house, and although all of them were not so equipped at the start, when the schedule was completed each one was fully equipped.

The Reade system calls for the stands to be designed for the individual needs of each theatre, and the sale of items follows the same principle, the product varying according to the theatre and clientele. Thus, while all sell candy, some sell popcorn and some do not. And while some sell Coca-Cola, others do not.

According to figures made available by the circuit, candy represents approximately 57 per cent of the total gross. Popcorn accounts for about 25 per cent, and Coca-Cola for 7.7 per cent. Nuts hit about 2.6 per cent and cigarettes reach about 7.2 per cent. In addition, some stands sell novelties and packaged candy; but these are the exceptions.

Plans for training the attendants were immediately put into effect, and uniforms were provided. The circuit believes that this not only helps in selling the candy, etc, but it also gives a lift to the employees morale. The training system is fundamental, but it has been successful enough to vindicate the belief that it does result in greater sales.

After many discussions, it was also decided that some sort of standardization was necessary in the matter of , names for the department. As a result, all confection stands in the Reade Circuit are now known as thhe Refreshery."


When a large theatre circuit embarks on the business of self-serving its own confection stands, it actually starts a new business with all of the needs for knowledge, policy decisions, systems and hard work, that are attendant to a new business. And the abilities of the men selected to direct all activities is of major importance. To give all of the service, have all of the facilities, accumulate the buying power, and operate as errorlessly as a large concessionairc was the objective of the Walter Reade Circuit, # and here is what they did aboutVit.

, .

The same title was given to the major addition to the confection departmentls activities when the circuits first drive-in in Woodbridge, N. J., opened on Labor Day, 1948. Housed in a building in the center of the drive-in, this unit not only sells popcorn, candy, and soft drinks, but

THE DECISION to operate is made. Walter Reade, In.

also frankfurters, hamburgers, french fried potatoes, coffee, and ice cream. Employees also merchandise foodstuffs by small carts and trays directly to the cars.

All purchasing and all operators are under the direction of Blumenhein and the confection department.

All stands are custom made, put together by local help to meet the needs of the individual house.

Stockrooms are kept clean, dry, and orderly, thus facilitating weekly inventories, and making much easier the keeping of accounts. Because of this, the need for iiS.O.S.*s" for new stock are few and far between.

While the machines that are used are kept clean by attendants, needs for major repairs or servicing are taken care of by the Blumenhein staff.

Summing up, it becomes apparent that the operation of the department must be on a sound, efficient basis. This policy, backed by a plentiful supply of stock is the first element of success.

Mr. Blumenhein has a big job, for its a lot of work to run a business of this magnitude.

behind desk: LoRoy Blumenhein, iormer city man ager who now heads the confections department; and Edwin Gage, general manager. begin blue-printing the myrtod'deim'ls which included that Coke, candy, nuts. and popcorn would be the staples and that the enterpnse W111 need a name. It was months before "The Refreshery" was selected as a title.
1948-49 Theatre Catalog, 7th Edition, Page 534