Home » Theatre chain has just the ticket for sales
Marcus Theatres’ feature presentation is a new ‘Grab and Go!’ display that entices movie goers and boosts the bottom line.
Movie-goers at the Marcus Theatre in Sturtevant, Wis., are met with an expansive lobby that overflows with elegance - a grand piano anchors the scene, dim mood lighting hangs from the ceiling in a multi-circle design and plush furniture dots the landscape.
But after they get their tickets to the show and pass through the old-fashioned lobby, they reach a concession stand notable for its slew of new concepts. Cotton candy hangs on a stand on the counter, the confections are displayed on impulse-like racks in front of the traditional glass candy case and White Castle hamburgers are on the menu.
Although popcorn and soda - which account for more than half of vending sales for Marcus Theatres - are the traditional money makers for theater chains, owners are starting to see how much potential profit there is in other items.
Movie goers have had a long love affair with holding a box of candy while watching the latest films.
“Everybody knows that movie theater candy is better than any other candy,” notes Jim Janssen, a district director for the chain.
Bob Menefee, Marcus Theaters Cooperation’s vice president of advertising, marketing, concession, says candy makes up about 10 to 15% of his chains’ vending sales - a figure that’s been modestly growing over the last few years.
Tastes have also evolved though. Former favorites such as Snow Caps and Good and Plenty don’t have the draw that they used too, having been edged out by candies such as Skittles and Sour Patch Kids, which, are among their top sellers. Some traditional movie treats such as Twizzlers still hold their own though and also are among the top 10 sellers as well.
Menefee explains that the famous movie theater boxes for treats are based partly on the fact that movie-goers usually want to share their candy, and bite-sized pieces make that easier. At the same time, traditional candy bars tend to be coated with something that melts very quickly. Also, many patrons like to mix their candy with their popcorn, and the smaller pieces are more conducive to that.
As for the package itself, Menefee says it’s intentional as well.
“The larger size, that was all about separation from the retail grocer,” he explains. “There was a way to separate ourselves [and] there was also a way to check carry-ins... and we were also able to increase the average sales transaction by selling a larger item.”