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GM holding house?

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by LX23, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. LX23

    LX23 Member

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    Our theatre always opens late, also returns from intermission late, because the GM holds the doors for the few people left in the lobby buying their beer and such when the rest of the house has been seated for like 10 or even 20 mins!
    He says he'll always hold the doors for any amount of time so that he doesn't miss out on money from drinks! even if it's just a few drinks! It's very annoying!
    And our theatre is getting a bad rep for it! now people purposly show up late because they know we wont start on time!

    Anyone else have this problem? or similar?
     
  2. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    How late are we talking, 3 minutes or 20?
     
  3. LX23

    LX23 Member

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    we usually hold 10 minutes. so our "15 minute" intermissions are normally 25! it's rather frustrating! and not for just the techs, the performers too!
     
  4. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    Kind of depends on the situation with concessions. If they are selling concessions and there's a long line, the people at the end of the line should be given SOME amount of time to consume their drinks and such before being asked to throw them away upon entering the theater. If its not the case and everyone has been served and people are going back for "seconds", then there's a problem. The snackbar/concession area should close up about 2/3 of the way thru intermission in an ideal situation. Continuing to sell and holding the house for people who had ample time to get something at concessions is just tacky.
     
  5. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    If it takes to long to get food (If you have a 15 minute long line for a 15 minute intermission) your problem lies with that and not your GM. Find a way to expand your Concession Stand - a simple way to do this is to set up tables and get some refrigerators and sell your two or three top selling items there. (Beer, Water, cookies or something like that) This shifts some of the bulk to an "express" lane.

    Also, something to do that is common is to have only a few "lines" open with a dedicated person as cashier on each line. This cashier should do nothing but take orders and give change. The other people should be getting the food. I don't know how elaborate your concession stand is, but one food person for every two cashiers is ideal. Or have "stations" and have two people handling all beer, two handling non-alcoholic drinks, and others on food. This is more efficient and also more sanitary, as germs from the money are less likely to spread to the food.

    If you're worried about losing profit, raise prices. Less people will purchase food but you will make more money off it.
     
  6. LX23

    LX23 Member

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    thanks for the tips. I like the closing the concession 2/3 way through, but the GM and "powers that be" would never go for that. also, the audience is allowed drinks in the theatre, the GM feels this sells more because people won't feel rushed to finish. He has a strange way of looking at things.
    anyway, I think the idea of having "runners" to get the items and dedicated cashiers is a good one! I'm sure i'll have a chance to mention that. maybe next time the techs need to go behind the bar to help get the line through faster! (insert head hitting wall here).
     
  7. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Yup, after running a successful high school concession stand for four years you figure out what works the best during rush times...
     
  8. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    I'm just checking, but make sure anyone serving alcohol is 18 years of age or older. Anyone actually "pouring" alcohol needs to be 21+ (laws may vary in your state, however).
     
  9. avkid

    avkid Not a New User Fight Leukemia

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    While we are on the subject, also check out TIPS.
    TIPS for Concessions
     
  10. LX23

    LX23 Member

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    well, I live in Canada. so they don't need to be 21, but yes they are all over 18, most of them have been bar tenders for 5 or more years at various bars/night clubs.
     
  11. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    What state are you in? In WI, MN, and MI (I think) it's 18 to be bartender. I have several friends younger than me who bartend... Including my roomate last year.
     
  12. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    I'm actually curious how many places open right on time - and where you are located. Out here in the west I don't think I've ever been to a show that opened on time, and as a rule of thumb I usually start my shows 7 minutes late to catch stragglers. If I start on the dot, we have doors banging for the first bit of the show, and as a public institution I can't make people wait for a blackout or intermission. But that's Arizona, where everything tends to be a little laid back.

    Personally I'll hold intermission late only if the women's restroom still has a line.
     
  13. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    We usually hold the show for 2-3 minutes unless there's no line at the ticket booths - rare.

    Intermission is usually on time as we don't sell concessions during it and we have four bathrooms to pick from... At most it starts one minute late unless something backstage is messed up.
     
  14. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    California. The laws may have changed since I was in that industry, but I think it's still this way. 18 to serve, 21 to pour (bartend).
     
  15. HCP1

    HCP1 Member

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    When I managed the bar for a regional theatre, we sold drink vouchers before the show. The bar kept the order tkt and the patron kept the voucher. A few minutes before intermission the drinks were poured (mostly beer wine and soda, a few cocktails) and the patrons simply picked up their drinks. This gave the bartender something to do pre-show when sales were typically light. Eventually we just did away with the voucher and labeled the drinks by writing what it was on the beverage napkin - they were picked up on the honor system (monitored by the bartender). We served more product and fewer patrons had to throw out 1/2 a glass of beer because the HM was flashing the lights just as they were being served.

    I also liked this because it gave the bartender more time to scrutinize folks and check for ID, etc.

    Also, volunteers sold coffee, cookies, etc. at a separate counter.
     
  16. icewolf08

    icewolf08 CBMod CB Mods

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    First of all, going back to the OPs concerns, I don't know the rules offhand, but it may be worth checking the AEA rulebook if you are an Equity theatre (or whatever the Canadian actors union is). Union rules may actually limit how long an intermission can be held.

    I don't know about our intermissions, but I know that we always start our shows 2 minutes late, as we call places at 7:30 or 8:00, which gives the actors 2 minutes to places. If our FOH people ask to hold the house then we tack on to that. So a 2 minute hold would put curtain not at 7:32 but 7:34.

    As for concessions, you probably need more people at more stands to serve all the patrons faster.
     
  17. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Equity does not have an intermission rule. They do however have a call length limit, so if you are being pushed past your 3.5 hours or somthing like that it that could bite ya. Also, remember those drinks help pay for your paycheck.
    Posted via Mobile Device
     
  18. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    You're probably thinking "what can I do to put on a good show" and he's thinking "how can I make more money." Seems like this is something management needs to discuss and create some new solutions.
     

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