Food and Beverage revenues of cinema theatres are being as crucial as film revenue; people have started exploring the multiplexes more for food recently. Exhibitors are pushing film goers to have more F&B on their premises at a time when the chorus of people in favour of outside food into cinema halls is growing.
Growth of food and beverages (F&B) revenue for PVR and Inox Leisure was the highest in nine quarters at 25 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively. There are a number of must-try items in order to savu or the absolute food experience in the multiplexes. Whether it's the buttered popcorn, cream donuts, cold coffee, chaat - all this and aerated drinks etc are made in-house for multiplexes like Sathyam Cinemas.
Bhavesh Shah, Head of Innovations and Experience at PVR Cinemas, says “We take the F&B business very seriously, we have a separate Innovation Lab assigned for food experiments.
The amount of effort we invest is huge and that is the result for our success.”
“I travelled all the way to Nebraska in US where they cook the best popcorn in the world. We conversed with the chefs and got the recipes for us. It was a similar way for items like cold coffee and cream donuts. We always keep launching new things,” he elaborates.
Since the customers are very health conscious these days, salads are introduced in the multiplexes now as part of their mid-time snack while watching a movie.
The group has also invented a snack called 'Brookies' which is a mixture of brownie and cookies.
“Regardless of the movie running well or not, a minimum guarantee of good food is always there for the customers when it comes to multiplexes since we have a consistency in cooking,”adds Bhavesh.
Nevertheless, the growth of malls has often been linked to the rise of multiplexes.
The association between multiplexes and malls is symbiotic in nature, as both feed off each other's footfalls. The movie exhibition business is still largely dependent on the kind of films released every Friday, but multiplexes are tweaking their strategy to derive more from consumers.
“How can Chennai multiplexes then make their money? In fact, they make more money out of non-ticketing activities, like food and beverage sales, and in-screen branding. A combo (cola+popcorn) deal in a Chennai multiplex costs nearly double that of the ticket,” says Sreedhar Pillai, film analyst.
It is the mall owners who are wooing the multiplex players in Chennai. Not only do the malls offer multiplexes the best locations, as anchor tenants, multiplexes too contribute heavily in generating footfalls for the mall.Lijone AT, an avid film goer says, “Whatever the film maybe, me and my friends visit the multiplexes only for the popcorns and cold coffee they serve. It has become a regular outing for us during the weekends. Without popcorn it's just incomplete.”
The trend, say experts, is expected to stay in the coming quarters as operators see merit in this strategy.