How to Make Concession Sales at Your Cinema More Efficient

December 13, 2023
The DX Team
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Selling concessions at your cinema is part of creating memorable experiences for your guests. Sometimes, it’s a key part of what makes going to the movies something to look forward to. 

But selling concessions isn’t always as straightforward as you’d want it to be. It involves a lot of moving parts — from managing the inventory to optimizing pricing, and ensuring speedy service, just to name a few. 

These challenges can make or break your concession sales, affecting both your bottom line and the overall experience for your moviegoers. 

So in this article, we’re looking at how to make your concessions sales process more efficient.

Diversify and contextualise your concessions offering 

People are willing to spend more money for a memorable experience than they are for simply having popcorn during the screening. It’s the package and the theme behind it that makes the difference.

So how can you transform the perception of concessions from a cost-value concern to an integral part of the cinematic experience? 

One effective strategy is to tap into the emotional connection that film snacks produce. Like bringing back nostalgic flavours with your audience’s favourite childhood treats or following the latest #foodie trends to create fun, gourmet experiences at the seat.

Another way is to make concessions part of the story by creating themed combos that match the movie they're watching — here’s one fun example from the Wonka (2023) premiere. You can also offer extra perks like free merch or candy discounts with specific combos. 

Yet another tactic is to go the extra mile and design special events that bring film and food together — just like Bryne Kino does with their culinary film nights, matching a foreign film with a foreign dining experience (think Italian film and pizza).

No matter your approach, what’s important is to keep in mind that your concessions offering is part of your cinema brand — and that’s something audiences will care for and remember. 

It might not seem efficient at first glance, but it becomes efficient because it helps create demand and loyal customers.

Have one integrated sales system for tickets & concessions

If we talk about efficiency in terms of process, then think about your current setup and buying experience and how that would change with one sales system for everything.

From a cinema operator's standpoint, this eliminates the need for separate payment systems - one for tickets and one for concessions - and avoids the hassle of switching between two management platforms. 

For moviegoers, having a single touchpoint for both tickets and concessions is much more convenient as they don’t have to stand in two separate lines or choose to skip the concessions line in the first place.

That’s how we designed the DX platform. With our POS, you get consolidated ticket and concessions sales at the cinema, which leads to improved overall efficiency and saves you and your moviegoers a lot of valuable time. 

Preview of our POS features — DX platform

Additionally, we’re set to incorporate bar codes and a bar code reader in the near future. This feature will streamline the process of managing multiple concession items and reduce sales processing time.

Pre-sell concessions through your cinema website 

Some of your guests will prefer to have the full experience booked in advance - for convenience purposes.

By allowing moviegoers to purchase tickets online and simultaneously place orders for their preferred combos or candy, you not only save them time at the cinema but also eliminate the need for additional staff to manage on-site queues.

To manage this even more efficiently, assign specific staff to handle concession sales for those in line and have dedicated staff to prepare orders that come through the website. This way, you’ll speed up the process and optimize the customer experience and operational workflow.

Know what items are in your inventory, at all times

Selling concessions efficiently means having the right infrastructure to manage your inventory efficiently.

You don’t want to run out of the most popular items before a busy weekend or get incomplete stocks for your special combos at premiere night. And, as most cinema managers know, this one is difficult to track.

That’s why it’s important to have a good cinema management system that allows you to monitor all menu items separately, so you have an accurate view of all sold products at all times. It’s what we’ve set out to achieve in the DX solution.

What’s more, we know it’s business-critical to understand the average pick-up rate or the average spend per ticket at your cinema, so we’re currently testing a kiosk dashboard to support your decision-making process with such insights at hand.

The final scope? Help our clients understand what products perform best in connection to what films or days — to raise revenue on the kiosk operations side.

The old way of selling concessions doesn’t do the trick anymore

The cinema experience is evolving, not just because technology is everywhere but also because moviegoers have more and more expectations when it comes to it.

So to meet those expectations, you need both creativity and the right tools at your disposal. It’s not just about popcorn, but how to streamline kiosk operations while delivering a fun time with:

  • A diversified offering of tastes. You should think of exclusive candy and snacks for your cinema 
  • A thematic approach to concessions, building onto the cinematic universe
  • A user experience that is fast and easy

With our cinema management solution, we aim to help cinema managers consolidate operations into one easily manageable system — controlling the full cinema journey. 

Check out our POS and online ticketing features to learn more about what we can do for you.

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