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AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

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AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Old 12-02-09, 11:11 AM
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AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

This story got more comments on the KC Star Web site yesterday than any other one. Guess that shows, as one indignant commenter noted, our priorities in this country.

http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1603153.html

AMC lays down the law: No more outside snacks
By JOYCE SMITH and STEVE EVERLY
The Kansas City Star
It’s fade-to-black for bringing your own snacks into AMC theaters.

“Not allowing guests to bring (snacks) in is consistent with many other entertainment venues, whether concerts, live theater, sporting events,” said Justin Scott, spokesman for Kansas City-based AMC Entertainment Inc.

AMC said that after reviewing its policy on concessions, it began testing the “no outside food” rule in October and is now rolling it out nationwide.

“We had always allowed guests to bring in whatever they want even though people didn’t think we did,” Scott said.

He wouldn’t elaborate on why AMC made the change, but the theater chain has seen declining revenues as people cut back their movie attendance during the recession or use cheaper and more convenient alternatives such as Netflix and Redbox.

AMC’s revenue from concessions, which makes up a big part of a theater’s profits, has also dropped.

Scott wouldn’t comment on customer response to the new policy.

On Monday at AMC’s BarryWoods 24 theaters, Julie McGohan of St. Joseph said she typically brings a candy bar but would stop if that wasn’t permitted.

Then another member of her party opened up a purse and pulled out a big box of Milk Duds.

“We’re going to have to start bringing bigger purses,” she said.

Another patron, Brigid Derby, said AMC food and drinks were too expensive and that given the economy, it was outrageous to stop customers from bringing in snacks to save some money.

But, she said, she’s still going to the movies.

“We need a little escapism and can it find in the movie experience. We’re going to keep on keeping on.”

As part of rethinking its concession policy, AMC also said it was revamping its concession menu to offer more choices and value. Its Olathe theaters feature everything from French toast to Thai coconut chicken tenders.

The National Association of Theatre Owners in Washington, D.C., declined to comment on outside food policies except to call them “company-by-company decisions.”

Dickinson Theaters in Overland Park also declined to comment on its policy.

Butch Rigby said he has a no-outside-food rule at his two area Screenland theaters and called AMC’s new policy “reasonable.”

“You are not really paying for the movie when you buy a ticket. A certain percentage goes to the studio, and then we have to pay for the double-high ceilings, the digital equipment,” he said.

“Yes, it is more expensive to buy a candy bar in a movie theater, but you are paying for the experience. We do most of our profits, if not all, on concessions. You wouldn’t take an entree into a restaurant.”

Still, he said, the two Screenlands try to be competitive on the price of their concessions, even for alcoholic beverages.

Tivoli Cinemas in Westport is surrounded by eateries and coffee shops, so it takes a “laissez faire” approach to outside food.

“My policy is: I would like for you to buy it from us, but am I going to alienate people by being strict about it?” said owner Jerry Harrington. “We don’t sell coffee, so if they want to bring it in that’s OK, or they say, ‘We just had dinner; can we bring this in?’ OK.”

“I like people and want them to like us.”

Brian Mossman, a partner in the Fine Arts Theatre Group, which owns three area theaters and has three more under development, said a no-outside-food policy is clearly posted at the ticket windows.

However, the theaters will offer to store drinks in coolers, and they let patrons take in bottled water, asking only that they take the empty bottles with them after the show.

“Sandwiches, foods, anything we don’t sell, we don’t want to pick it up later,” Mossman said.

“And everyone’s cost is going up, probably one reason (AMC) is cracking down on it.”

So will the new restrictions be more bomb or blockbuster?

“When people are used to doing something and then you try to go back and change it, it’s difficult,” Mossman said.

* * * * * * *

As my comment states, this is one reason I don't go to movies anymore. They can keep their "experience" of being ripped off.

Last edited by Vibiana; 12-02-09 at 01:14 PM. Reason: to fix link, because I am a big, honking moron. Vibs
Old 12-02-09, 11:15 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Bottle of vitamin water at the grocery store next to my local AMC theater - $1.02

Bottle of the very same vitamin water at the AMC snack bar - $5.25

AMC can go fuck themselves.
Old 12-02-09, 11:15 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Just smuggle food in. What are they going to do, pad people down for outside snacks?
Old 12-02-09, 11:16 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by VinVega View Post
Just smuggle food in. What are they going to do, pad people down for outside snacks?
"AMC Cavity Searches," next up on Geraldo.
Old 12-02-09, 11:18 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by chuckd21 View Post
Bottle of vitamin water at the grocery store next to my local AMC theater - $1.02

Bottle of the very same vitamin water at the AMC snack bar - $5.25

AMC can go fuck themselves.
I wish people would learn to understand a very simple concept.

Higher Prices ≠ Higher Profits
Old 12-02-09, 11:20 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

wow... I always bring in theater boxes of candy into the theater... as they would be less likely to tell if i brought it in from outside. I generally fill up on liquids before heading into the movie too
Old 12-02-09, 11:21 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Weird, I never even knew that they previously allowed food, I've always smuggled in with a jacket and cargo pants filled with stuff, guess nothing will change.
Old 12-02-09, 11:22 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
I wish people would learn to understand a very simple concept.

Higher Prices ≠ Higher Profits
But not if people stop buying. Sell more at low price, or a few at high price?

I went to a Regal theater over the weekend. $8 large popcorn, $4 small drink. $7 Matinee ticket. I'm starting to dislike the 'theater experience' in its current state.
Old 12-02-09, 11:26 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Mr. Pibbs + red vines = crazy delicious!
Old 12-02-09, 11:27 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Last time I went to a movie there was a woman in front of me who had a fifth of Chivas in her purse.
Old 12-02-09, 11:40 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

I have a big coat that i use to sneak in pop and snacks.

Originally Posted by Vibiana View Post
"AMC Cavity Searches," next up on Geraldo.
That might be kinda fun
Old 12-02-09, 11:43 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

I rarely go to the theater, but I couldn't tell you the last time I had food in one. I can go two hours without eating...
Old 12-02-09, 11:50 AM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

The large popcorn usually has free refills. Even if you don't want to refill during the movie, you still could refill before or after the movie.
Old 12-02-09, 12:03 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

When I was a teenager cleaning theaters we used to find all sorts of items after a show.

- soda bottles
- empty KFC chicken tubs
- beer cans
- cigarette butts
- used condoms
- a paper bag containing bags of crack and $800
Old 12-02-09, 12:07 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
I wish people would learn to understand a very simple concept.

Higher Prices ≠ Higher Profits
This matters how?

Here's another equation for you:

Higher Prices = More Expensive

And did you ignore this?:
We do most of our profits, if not all, on concessions.
This seems like a failing business model. Your main product makes you almost no profit. Your supplemental products make all your profit, but are priced at 2-5x the price they are available from elsewhere. So you resort to rules that make your customers either lie to you or be unhappy with the situation. The value added is the "experience" of seeing a movie in the theater. Meanwhile the guy in front of you is checking his iPhone every 10 minutes because he just heard Maria is finally going to ask Josh out, and he just has to know if she had the guts to actually do it. The last movie I saw in the theater was Sin City.
Old 12-02-09, 12:24 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by Cheato View Post
This matters how?
It matters because they think they're losing money on concessions with people bringing in their own food. I can't remember the last time I spent a cent at a movie theater on anything other than my ticket.

A movie lasts about two hours. I think I can go two hours without eating food or drink. Soda/snacks at a movie theatre are nothing more than impulse buys.

If I'm waiting to check out at a grocery store and I see a pack of gum for a dollar, I'll usually add it to my basket. If that pack of gum cost $5, no fucking way am I buying it. When I go to the theatres and see that a small thing of nachos and a coke will cost me an additional $10, there's no reason why I'd ever make that ridiculous purchase. If a small thing of nachos and a coke were $4 or less, I'd look at that as a more reasonably priced impulse buy and I'd probably actually make that purchase more often than not.

It seems to me that if a movie theatre wants to make more profits on concessions, that lowering their prices could actually make a difference.
Old 12-02-09, 12:30 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

I have a theater backpack...LOL...I carry in popcorn, drinks and candy all the time....
Old 12-02-09, 12:34 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
I wish people would learn to understand a very simple concept.

Higher Prices ≠ Higher Profits
I think someone doesn't understand cost accounting.
Old 12-02-09, 12:34 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

“We had always allowed guests to bring in whatever they want even though people didn’t think we did,” Scott said
Weird, I watched an AMC employee bitch out a customer drinking a bottle of water back in 1995. I'm not even sure if they offered bottled water back then at AMC.

Anyway, reasonable policy but you can't stop people from bringing their own food in purses or big coats or whatever. A no backpack policy could be implemented, maybe.
Old 12-02-09, 12:40 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
... Higher Prices ≠ Higher Profits
How did you make the "not equal" sign? And let me tell you about my friend's family. They have four kids and all four are accustomed to getting whatever food they want. When they go to the theater, each one has to have their own soda and their own popcorn, and maybe a candy bar. It costs well over $100 by the time all is said and done for the six of them to go see a movie. The few times I go with my family (and I may be going in the near future to see Avatar), I get the "two soda and one popcorn" deal, my wife and I share a soda and the two kids share a soda. All four of us share the popcorn. Free refills...

And I remember in the '70s, my family would pop popcorn (before microwave pocorn) and put it into a paper grocery bag, then take that bag with us to the theater. Now I very rarely go to theaters (maybe once every year or two) though I do catch the drive-in a few times per year. And of course at the drive-in anything goes, I bring in coolers full of soda, chips, candybars, bags of microwave popcorn, etc.
Old 12-02-09, 12:45 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by RoyalTea View Post
good explanation cut for space
Now I understand. In the original post, you said "some people." I thought you were talking about "some people in this thread," but you were talking about "some people who own/run theaters."

I agree with you.

However, this kind of pricing, especially if you see it rising, is usually indicative of a failing company. They don't make enough profit, so they raise prices, trying to make more profit, but wind up selling less, so they respond by raising prices again. They figure that the idiots paying $4.50 for a Snickers will pay $4.99. What they fail to realize is that even within the IQ range of "idiot," there are still some consumers who will resist that price change.
Old 12-02-09, 01:07 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

I don't like to drink while I'm watching a movie in the theater because I always end up having to piss. So then I either have to get up and miss a bit of the movie, or sit there uncomfortably. And I don't like to eat without a drink, so I pretty much never spend any money on food in a theater. It also helps that I hate popcorn.

However, any time I have eaten it's always been something I snuck in myself. I didn't think outside food was allowed in ANY theater.
Old 12-02-09, 01:11 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Why is this news? I've been going to movie theaters for decades and I've never been in one that allowed outside food and drink.
Old 12-02-09, 01:15 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

http://www.kansascity.com/637/story/1603153.html

I just fixed the link, because I am a big, honking moron. The comments are comedy gold, particularly the one by the guy who says you'll take his Mike and Ikes when you pry his cold, dead fingers from them.
Old 12-02-09, 01:17 PM
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Re: AMC Theaters puts the kibosh on bringing in outside snacks

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
Why is this news? I've been going to movie theaters for decades and I've never been in one that allowed outside food and drink.
Me too. Yet I bring outside food in all the time.

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