Raising the bar: Dine-In and VIP cinemas enhance the movie experience


Technology is threatening movie theatres. IT has created an on-demand world allowing consumers to instantly stream movies in the comfort of their own home. Consumers can download movies anywhere at any time on tablets, laptops and even mobile phones. Why pay more and fight crowds at the movie theatre when you can do this anywhere for potentially less money?

Unless movie theatres raise the bar, their very existence may be in question.
The latest trends in the movie theatre industry are creating more options and luxuries for the consumer; the entire experience touches every aspect of customer interaction with the cinema.

The “Dine In” and “VIP” segments have seen significant growth over the last year. New locations are being opened as well as major renovations to existing locations. A large number of chains envision improvements and the pace of expansions is picking up.
Reserved seating and leather recliners, once a novelty, are showing signs of becoming the norm. Reserved seating sold either online or with mobile devices through an app is becoming so popular, theatre chains are now offering their own apps. Leveraging this technology improves efficiency for theatres and begins the process of turning consumers into patrons. The patron is assured of a seat assignment that meets their preference and they can avoid the rush of patrons who wait in long lines to get tickets and select seats.
Site ticket sales for this segment tend to be located inside the lobby, providing a more sheltered and welcoming setting for patrons. Some exhibitors have enhanced the experience with a hotel-style concierge desk to assist guests.

Theatres are proudly displaying their chef name on the front doors of their establishments and expanding their concession offerings by providing food and beverage options on par with five-star restaurants. This custom had previously been reserved only for the highest-quality venues. Fresh made-from-scratch food provides higher-quality and better-tasting selections. Though the usual fare of burgers, pizza and beer are still there, signature creations for both food and beverages are becoming more prevalent in this segment.

One of the challenges created from the dine-in environment has been providing quality service in a dark theatre. However, the advent of technology allows food orders to be taken inside the theatre on handheld devices and sent to the kitchen, reducing the amount of time from order to service. Patrons can summon servers at the press of a button, allowing them to receive quality service. This technology results in service that surpasses most five-star restaurants.

The landscape is changing in the theatre industry due to technology, but with the use of technology there will be room for growth and expansion for decades to come.

Chris Pollak is director of sales for Embedded Processor Designs, manufacturer of service-call systems designed specifically for the dine-in and VIP theatres.