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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 383 (345)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 383
Page 383

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 383

in planning the unit. First, of course, are the display counters which will hold candy, nuts and other packaged products. There are differences of opinion as to whether these counters should be openfaced, to allow customers to handle the candy, or glass-topped. Consensus of the majority is for the open-face idea. There may be small losses from pilferage, but this is more than offset by the increase in sales. People like to pick and choose their purchases, and many a customer will stand in line to pay for a candy bar in his hand when he will not wait to be served by a busy attendant.

The popcorn machine deserves a prominent place, since popcorn accounts for roughly 50 per cent of the concession dollar across the country. Experience proves that the upright popcorn machine does a better job. It takes up less valuable display space, and it acts as good advertisement for the stand, being seen from any position in the lobby.

Other equipment will be determined by the items carried. Dispensers for Coca-Cola and other beverages are becoming increasingly popular. And the individual operation may well use nut warmers, steam tables for hotdogs, and other specialized equipment. Few of the conventional houses have full soda fountains, but even they are found in situations where traffic and demand warrant.

The basic part of the refreshment booth, then, is the candy counter, with popcorn machine, beverage dispensing units, and other equipment either built in or fitted in. The counters themselves, in addition to providing attractive display for candy, should provide adequate storage space underneath for a peak days supply of boxed candy, popping materials, etc.

It is a good idea, where possible, to have low counters for the children, who are among the top customers of a snack stand.

The backbar, the area behind the counter, is an important part of the modern stand. It can be used to display additional merchandise, to advertise and promote special items, or purely as decoration. In general, it has been found by some managers that mirrored backbars are not desirable because they cause the customer to linger longer, preening, or (children especially) making faces. Decoration of the backbar area should blend with decoration of the stand generally and with the decoration of the entire lobby.

Supplementary Equipment

In addition to the stand itself, supplemental equipment placed throughout the theatre is considered part of the concession service. Many houses have found that multiple-beverage, coin-operated dispensers do good business almost anywhere one puts them. Adjacent to the stand itself, they catch the main stream of traffic, yet cut down on the rush at the counter. In the outer lobby, they stop patrons leaving the theatre. This is particularly important after the snack stand has closed for the evening. On balcony or mezzaine, they pick up additional business from customers who donlt want to walk all the way to the lobby.


MULTIPLE-DRINK beverage dispensers, coin-operated, are valuable additions to refreshment service. Placed out of stand traffic, they make servrce faster, less crowded. Olher popular spots for such machines are mezzanine locations.

Although coin-operated beverage machines are highly productive, some advise the smaller house to steer away from other supplementary equipment because of negligible profit. In general, cigarette machines in or adjacent to the rest rooms are valuable and return a profit, especilly in those houses where smoking is allowed in the balcony.

Operators of larger houses have found that ice cream and candy machines placed on mezzanine and in outer lobby locations return considerable revenue, most of which is plus business.

Other experts, however, believe that too much supplementary vending equip ment takes business away from the concession stand.


Need for Merchandising

Advertising has been defined as pulling the customer toward the product. Merchandising is the business of pushing the product toward the customer.

For obvious reasons, the operator of a conventional theatre usually does not advertise his concession stand outside the theatre itself, although highly effective jobs have been done in many instances with ticketing campaigns. These involve the distribution throughout a community of tickets inviting a customer, for example, to "Have a Coke

. Free . . . from our dispenser next time you visit Suchrand-Such Theatre."

The purchase at a snack bar is what a psychologist would call an uimpulse" purchase. The customer sees or hears or smells something good, gets an impulse to buy it, and does so.

For this reason, active efforts should be made to merchandise the concession stand if it is to do the best possible job. More than 65 per cent of house owners across the country undertake active merchandising of one sort or another in connection with their concession operations.

Merchandising in this sense is a subtle thing, since the stand itself is a secondary item to the average patron. As Shakespeare said in another connection, "The plays the thing." The customer comes to see a Show, and is only inter ested incidentally in buying anything else.

The Stand Sells Itself .

What can be done to get his interest, and to convert it into sales? The physical appearance of the stand itself is the first thing seen by the potential customer. The cleanliness and neatness of the counters, the design, styling, color, decoration of the booth itself, the counter-facing, and the back-bar display aall these have the power to attract or to repel. If the job of designing has been well done, the stand will be a testimonial to the desirability of the items for sale there.


Lighting is an important aspect of good merchandising. Although here again situations will vary, the use of grid diffusers under cold cathode tubing has proved so generally agreeable that it is worth suggesting to newcomers. This system provides a steady, even light over the entire stand, and has an attractive modern look that helps the overall effect. Where possible, supplemental spotlights on special displays have often proved profitable, although they must be handled with care to prevent harmful heating of candy and other merchandise.

Counters should be designed to show off merchandise in the best possible man 345 ..
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 383