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Concession Stand

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by lieperjp, Jun 15, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    The search function has failed me.

    I'm thinking about trying to get a C-Stand going for our fall musical, and I was wondering if any of you have tips?

    I have lots of experience with concession stands, having worked them for four years and run my high school's for just under three years. The only problem I forsee is no kitchen space, and the lobby used for the theatre (which is in the exact center of a classroom building at my college) is not very large (capacity: 45ish.)

    Here's what I'm thinking:
    --Bottled Soda (or pop, if you prefer, or even Coke,) Juice, and Water
    --Coffee (in a cup WITH LIDS)
    --Hard Candies and such that won't melt onto seats, the floors, etc. such as M&M's, Skittles, Licorice, etc.

    I was wondering mainly if anyone has any "special" items they sell. It will be hard to convince the powers that be to spend money, but hey, I might as well try to raise a little bit of money. Basically, I'm looking for stuff I can sell for under $1.50... I know I can get the soda, water, and juice from the Pepsi Distributor, which I can re-sell for about $1.25 (that should be about a $0.45 profit on average) and I can get the coffee for free (or close) from the cafeteria and sell for $1.00 and make $0.90 profit. Candy I can get from a nearby Sam's Club and sell for $1.00 and make between $0.30 and $0.70 per item.

    Also, I really would like to do popcorn as well but that would require leasing (or purchasing) a popper, even though I could sell a box of it for $1.25 and make $0.90 profit. Popcorn is also messy, but easy to clean up (except if it gets ground into the carpet runners on the lower seating aisles.)
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2008
  2. rosabelle334

    rosabelle334 Member

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    During intermission our school's Make-A-Wish Club runs the consession stand. They sell all the things you mentioned, but they also sell flowers. It'd probably be a good idea to sell flowers (something easy like carnations) as well, for those last-minute congratulations. ^.^
     
  3. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    I am personally ok with items being sold in a "crush bar" fashion, you leave the theatre, go into the stand, get something durring intermission, and nothing makes it back in. I think it is extremely distracting to have people munching on food during a show, fine for a movie, but not for the stage. That being said, if you can get them to let you take stuff into your theatre, fine, but I would highly suggest you keep everything in the lobby. If you can have liquor sales, you can make some insane money, but I have a feeling that you can't.
     
  4. zapthatmonster

    zapthatmonster Member

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    Wholesale small sizes of snack foods like chips/twinkies/cookies. We don't allow food in the auditorium so you have to eat it before or during intermission. Coffee with sugar and cream in small cups. Soda cans, and bottled water. Buy nonperishables so they can stick around for a few shows.

    Dpends on the audience, though. Most theatres just sell coffee, water, and cookies and maybe alcohol.
     
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    We would never be allowed to sell alcohol, so that's out...

    The carnations are a good idea!
     
  6. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    No soda in bottles, cans only.
    (so it can be consumed before entry)
     
  7. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Please call it something other than C-Stand.
     
  8. gafftapegreenia

    gafftapegreenia CBMod CB Mods

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    One think to do is go to Costco and get roses by the dozen. They are cheap and sell.
     
  9. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Oh, come on, vendors specifically sell stuff for "C-Stands and Vending Machines..."

    I don't think lights would like bags of chips... maybe their operators...
     
  10. tweetersaway

    tweetersaway Member

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    If you're into trying popcorn, you can make a huge profit. I'd reccomend asking a local theater if you can buy big bags of popcorn. The movie theater I work at sells large bags(20 - 30 gallons or so) of popcorn to private organizations for 5 dollars each. Just a thought. I'd never let popcorn in our theater, but if you're ok with the clean up, it's a great way to raise money.
     
  11. Thefoxygranpa

    Thefoxygranpa Active Member

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    Popcorn

    That is one of the biggest items that will make you profit. We bought a $150 popcorn popper and it has paid for itself many, many, many times over. Although I only work for a 80 seat blackbox, I will sell easily at least 30 boxes at $2 each show.

    I also second the idea of cans, the profit margin is better for cans than using your distributer.
     
  12. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    We have a fairly successful concession stand in our theater. We do soda, water, wine and cookies. One trick I learned from another theater is to get a small microwave and heat up the chocolate cookies just before intermission - the smell nearly doubles your sales. They are easy to eat during the break. We keep our portions on poured beverages small so that they can be finished quickly and that allows us to sell at a lower fee, but still enough to make a profit. We made enough last year for 12 wireless mics. and new woofers.
     
  13. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    This is almost the same menu that we have for our concession stand. Cookies are great, Easy to consume, cheap to acquire even if you are buying the dough and baking them during the first act. We get our wine and Beer Donated from a couple of local distributers and wineries. Things to stay away from, Candy & Popcorn. his of course depends greatly on what you concessions policy is. We allow Concessions back into the theatre, but we sell our drinks in those short but wide plastic cups. Anything like candy, that is in a wrapper, or popcorn, will turn into a distraction for the actors, and remember they are human too, how'd you like to have to sing while smelling yummy, buttery popcorn. If stuff is going to have to stay in the lobby then you're probably ok selling whatever. Be sure to check with your operations folks to make sure they are going to freak when they awalk in and find popcorn bags all over the place.
    In short anything that you can sell, that you don't have to buy is a great idea. cookies, brownies, pasties. When you sell cokes, put it in a glass, do not sell someone a coke for .50 cents, sell them a cup of coke for .50 cents, then sell the next guy the other half of that can in a cup for 50 cents. Remember folks are used to prices at the Movie theatre.
     
  14. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Well, I was speaking with another person about it (the "Producer" for our fall musical) and he thinks candy (such as M&M's) are too "everyday" or too "movie theater" for live theatre. Theatre is considered "high class" whereas M&M's are not. I disagree.
     
  15. Van

    Van CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    Hey, M&M's Melt in your mouth not in your hand. That sounds pretty High Class to me
     
  16. Les

    Les Well-Known Member

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    Popcorn is great for movie theatres but I don't know if I would recommend it for live theatre. The only way I would allow it is under the condition that the audience would not be allowed to bring it in after intermission. Not only does it make a mess, but who wants to listen to people digging through a paper popcorn bag and crunching on the stuff during a play? We tried it once in high school and vowed never to do it again.

    Canned drinks are good for their size, but you might try looking for those little 12oz. bottles they sell now. Cookies seem to be popular for live theatre in both community and educational settings.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2008
  17. Spikesgirl

    Spikesgirl Active Member

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    Buttery popcorn is also tough on the theater seats. The techs are more likely to have popcorn, but that's up in the booth and away from the actors. The only time we do serve popcorn is on movie night - a thank you night for volunteers. Volunteers tend to be a little more careful, since they know they will have to clean the theater afterwards!

    M&M's are low class? Our musical director keeps a bowl of them in the pit for the orchestra. I'll have to mention that to him. We found that cookies sell very well and don't make too much of a mess. The only thing we allow back into the theater, at this time, is bottled water.
     
  18. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    I don't think candy is low class... I think if I would sell popcorn it would be in the deli-style paper boats. That way, a few people could share a quick, light, and cheap snack and they can't take it back into the theatre if the ushers are watching.
     
  19. bdkdesigns

    bdkdesigns Active Member Fight Leukemia

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    We also sell soda, water, cookies, and a limited selection of candy. We also make enough to fund a lot of $500-$1000 scholarships. It also is clearly labeled on the stand that all money goes towards the scholarships so I think people are more prone to buy something when they see that.
     
  20. tech2000

    tech2000 Active Member

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    Popcorn doesn't seem like it is very easy to clean up in a lot of cases, but it can generate money. You just have to figure out which is more important to you.
    During my high school's shows, we sell bottled water, pop, cookies/brownies, chips, etc. But in our last spring show we did the musical "**** Yankees", so we sold hotdogs. It actually wasn't very messy because the audience members ate the hotdogs before reentering the theater.
     

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