Next time you’re at the movies, forget ordering popcorn and Milk Duds. Instead, you can indulge in everything from steak burritos to chicken Caesar salads to fancy cocktails.
The latest trend in movie theaters is the “dine-in” experience. Instead of going to dinner someplace else before your movie – you have dinner and a movie at the theater. It’s ben around for a few years – but it’s growing trend.
Here’s how it works, generally speaking:
You put your order in before showtime, and your food is usually served at your seat during the previews or opening credits – so that it doesn’t interfere with the movie. If the waiter forgot the salsa for your burrito – some theaters have a call-button, like on an airplane. Or a little flag you raise at your seat.
Some cinemas have a set menu – like sandwiches, salads and fish-and-chips. And other theaters prepare unique menus to match the theme of movies. For example, we read about one dine-in theater showing “Django Unchained,” and they served Dynamite Shrimp and Grits. Another theater served “Girl on Fire” margaritas during “The Hunger Games.”
So, why are so many meal-and-movie multiplexes opening up? It’s a huge moneymaking move.
The theaters may have to build new kitchens and hire waiters, but they’re making a killing selling more food options. That’s because with dine-in theaters, they don’t need to sell every ticket in the house to make a profit. In fact, a 12-screen theater can be profitable even if they only have a handful of customers who order food. At most traditional theaters if a customer gets snacks they make about a $4 profit, per person. But at a dine-in theater, the per-customer profit is nearly 5 times that.