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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 385 (347)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 385
Page 385

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 385

THE IDEAL attendant is the most important asset a concession stand can have. Here's one . . . pleasant. alert, friendly. clean and eager to serve.

If a customer is undecided, an alert attendant is quick with a pleasant suggestion. She takes and fills orders promptly, and thanks the customer for his business. She makes change accurately, counting it out to eliminate mistakes. If there is any complaint, she hears it patiently, with understanding. She rights any wrongs within her authority, calls the manager, and explains any other. When repeating a customer complaint to the manager, she gives the customer the benefit of any doubts, realizing that losing a customer is a stiff price to pay for winning an argument.

These are basic requirements. They form the foundation of good selling, of good public relations at the concession counter. There are other things that can be done by stand attendants to boost sales and to win friends for the theatre.

First, of course, is salesmanship. A good sales person knows her stock, by experience. She is prepared to use inviting, descriptive language to dress up a suggestion. HHot popcorn" sells better than ftpopcornf for example. ttlce-cold Coca-Colaly is much more appealing than "Coca-Cola." t

if a customer asks for an item that is not in stock, the smart attendant steers the sale to another item rather than lose it entirely. With the interest of the owner in mind, the alert attendant can utrade-up" her merchandise by pushing items with top profit and by Suggesting additional purchases. She can also help with the problem of what to stock by reporting to the management repeat request for items not carried.

Stud MeeHngs

it is never wise to assume that an attendant will know all that is required of her just because she has worked in some other house. It is a certainty that new personnel will need training and guidance. That is the responsibility of the stand manager, and should be undeiw taken with courtesy and understanding. A person well trained in the policies


and practices of successful operation is a plus value on the profit side of the concession book.

Along that line, an occasional meeting of all refreshment stand personnel is invaluable in upping the quality of service. At such a get-together, standards can be discussed, opinions expreSSed, and complaints aired. Demonstrations of technique will be important to new members of the staff and as refreshers to the veterans. Explanation of how to handle and care for stand equipment will pay big dividends. In general, employee morale will improve when each member of the team feels that he is part of an overall plan, and that the plan has purpose and meaning.

Sources of Personnel

Now for the big question. Where does this ideal attendant come from? There are three sources from which most house operators draw their concessions people: young girls, older women, and high school boys. There are advantages, and attendant disadvantages, in each type.

The young girl, particularly when she has poise and attractive good-looks, is a definite advantage to any selling operation. If she combines charm and a pleasant personality with her comeliness, she makes an ideal attendant. She can do a good job of selling, and can usually be hired for a reasonable salary. Unfortunately, she is not usually as interested in the job as she might be, and marriage plans or a family can easily upset her attention to duty.

Smart, alert high school boys are good attendants, particularly when picked with a purpose. House managers who approach the problem with the help and advice of school authorities, picking their boys from among the smart students with need or desire for income, usually do well. Boys have easy aptitude with the concession equipment, are quick and accurate with stock, and, if properly selected, have believable sales personalities. On the debit side, they are frequently more playful than attentive to duty, sometimes unsympathetic to

younger customers, or sometimes disrespectful to older patrons. A smart boy's devotion to the life of a snack bar attendant is likely to be short-lived, and turnover is rapid in such cases.

Perhaps the most ideal solution to the personnel problem at the theatre concession stand is the older, settled woman. If she has a matronly charm, a warm and pleasant personality, and a comfortable smile, she is likely to fill the bill perfectly. She will, in most cases, take her job seriously, and give every effort to doing it well. She will not be subject to the whim and lures that pull younger people away from steady employment. She will be conscientious, will feel at home with people of all ages, and is likely to be a happy, helpful employee for a far longer period of time than anyone else available.

Pay practices will vary, of course, from situation to situation. In general, a base hourly wage is considered the best starting point, with the possibility of weekly bonuses as a valued incentive to better work. Although some managers base such a bonus on gross sales, others prefer a Scents per personl, base, since gross sales are affected by other factors than stand personnel. An increase in admissions, for example, will usually cause an increase in gross at the candy stand, and some operators feel that the sales person does not deserve a bonus on this kind of increase.

In circuit operations, sales contests between concession departments of different houses have proved effective. Where these are used successfully, it is necessary to have several prizes worth working for, to issue frequent reports of progress, and to make certain that most employees have a chance of winning something. Otherwise, interest in the contest will be rapidly lost.

Good employer-employee policy in the concession business follows the same pattern found in any successful operation.

SUPPLY OF clean. fresh, attractive uniforms is the responsibility of the stand owner. Uniforms should go to laundry on regular schedules.
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 385