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1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 386 (348)

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition
1953-54 Theatre Catalog
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 386
Page 386

1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 386

Job requirements should be explained in detail and in advance. Such items as time off, rest periods, cleaning schedules, extra work periods, over-time payments, employee benefits, etc., should be thorougly explored with each new addition to the staff. Rules, once made, should be

strictly enforced. Promises, once delivered, should be as strictly honored.



Although stock carried by a conventional theatre in one section may vary widely from that handled by a house in another, the bulk of the indoor concession business is based on four big sellers, popcorn, candy, beverages, and ice cream. Other items run all the way from French fried potatoes to candied apples, and donlt miss many stops between. Diversity of stock is a matter for local decision, and it depends on local preference.

However, some basic rules will apply wherever a conscientious exhibitor plans to go into the concession business. First of these is to stock only quality merchandise. The opportunity to handle shoddy stuff with a high mark-up may prove tempting, but the wise merchant sells top quality only, relying on volume for his profit.

It is wise to stock adequate Variety in order to give the discriminating patron a degree of choice, but there is danger inherent in buying for varietyls sake. Too many times the fringe merchandise stays on the shelf until it grows old and stale while the public empties carton after carton of accepted brands. As a general rule, it is wise to

TRAINING of new personnel is important job of stand manager. In addition, frequent stuff meetings to hear problems, explain policies and procedures pay oft in increased performance and morale.

stock less popular items in small quantity and to change the selection from time to time.

Regular checks on sales by items will give you an indication on which brands move fast and which roost on your shelves. It is wise to discontinue unpopular merchandise as soon as it proves to be slow-moving.

This is not by any means to suggest that new merchandise should not be tried when it appears on the market. Confection items, beverages, and ice cream products were all new at some time. When a reputable supplier introdues new merchandise, it is good business to give it a trial in limited or reasonable quantity. As a matter of fact, new brands of candy, for example, seem to do better in theatres than at other outlets. Some, brands are sold in theatres only. Here again, a check on how well the new item Sells is valuable in determining its permanent place on the display rack. Good new products can be gotten off to highly profitable starts with extra effort in the way of special displays, sign reminders, etc., that will mean extra money in your cash drawer.


As mentioned earlier, popcorn accounts for roughly 50 per cent of the concesv sion dollar. More than 96 per cent of all theatres in the United States sell popcorn. The few holdouts are found generally among the super-deluxe down town first-runs. Even here, however, the percentage of houses selling popcorn is extremely high.

Of theatres replying to a recent survey, more than 80 per cent do their own popping in machines set up in the concession stands. Almost 20 per cent pop their corn elsewhere and keep it in warmers at the stand. Only two per cent buy packaged corn pre-popped and sell it cold. ,

Local tire ordinances are still responsible for some of the few outlets pope ping their corn away from the point of sale. In other cases, circuits operating more than one theatre in a given community pop corn in a central location, and deliver it to warmers in their houses. In some of the larger, 1000-seat-and-up houses, the press of patronage at Show breaks makes it advantageous to prepop the corn outside the theatre to insure an adequate supply for peak periods.

Boxes Versus Bugs

A recent survey showed almost a draw in the controversial issue of boxes versus bags for popcorn sales. Slightly more than 45 per cent of the respondents to a survey sell their corn in bags, with 40 per cent preferring boxes. Some 15 per cent offer it both ways.

Although the five cent bag of popcorn is still available in 10 per cent of the theatres, the largest seller, and the staple package in this item, is the 10 cent size. The 15 cent package, where offered, has usually been an alternative to the smaller 10 cent bag. Observers report, however, that there appears to be a definite trend in favor of the 15 cent. and larger, size package.


A trend in the popcorn business to watch with interest is the growth in popularity of butter-corn. This item is just about what the name implies, popcorn served in a box or waxed bag with a liberal supply of melted butter poured over the top. Prices charged for buttercorn are higher than for conventional popcorn, of course, usually 20 cents where two teaspoons-full, or servings, of butter are added, and 25 cents with three servings.

On the basis of experience so far, buttercorn appears to be a valuable addition to the lineup of items offered by the larger, roomier concession stand. Its preparation requires addition of a butter warmer to other stand equipment, and. of course, facilities for keeping the butter, or margarine, cold and fresh overnight must be available. The product seems to appeal primarily to teen-agers and younger children, and where offered should be advertised and merchandised to catch attention.

Pushing Popcorn

Popcorn is one item that scarcely needs pushing in the conventional theatre. The fragrant aroma of popping corn, the intriguing sizzle of a kettle about to flip its lid, and the sight of the white and golden balls of fluff bouncing around a spanking-clean machine add up to perfect merchandising, and do most of the selling necessary where popcorn is concerned. For this reason, it is extremely good business to have the pop THEATRE CATALOG 1953-54
1953-54 Theatre Catalog, 11th Edition, Page 386