31 May 2011

Went to the movies last night

(1) They have some of those ATM-like devices for ordering and printing tickets, without having to wait in line to see one of the people behind the ticket window. I do not understand why any theater of this size (20 screens) would still bother with human-run ticket booths. I would rip ticket counters out entirely and replace them with a wall of ticket machines.

Maybe you leave one human ticker seller for the luddites, but the margins for a theater owner are pretty slim. This seems like a no-brainer profit enhancer to me. What am I missing?

(2) I would also sell drinks and popcorn through the ticket machines. It would be like ordering sandwiches at a Wawa. Punch in what you want, pay for it in a single transaction with your ticket, and collect a receipt with your order number. Then proceed to the concession stand to pick up your salty goodies.

This way I don't need to wait in line twice, or spend time paying twice. The theater owner doesn't have to pay credit card fees twice, pay someone to wait on me twice, have people skipping buying snacks because they don't want to wait twice. Plus he would need fewer man hours of labor, nd the hours he did use would be more productive, since many employees would have only to prepare orders, not take them and process payment as well.


  1. Conjecture: Paying for the food waaaay over by the door would eliminate impulse buys at the snack stand.

    I don't know how much trade there is impulse, but judging by how my kids acted when they were little I'd say about 120% of it is.

  2. This is exactly how movie theaters operate here in Mississauga, Ontario. Not yet in the States?

  3. Brian: I wouldn't eliminate the traditional concession stands, just add the option to buy snacks with a ticket. Maybe people would be less likely to trade up to jumbo size if they didn't see the actual food staring at them? Perhaps.

    Ilkka: That is definitely not how we do things down here. I'm jealous of your advanced Canadian theater operations.

  4. Thanks for sharing your experience. This is great to know about your feeling..actually, It is the only way movie theaters operate here in Mississauga, Ontario..