Audiences for live performances come from diverse demographics, so marketing to them can be a challenge. But as far as lobby concessions go, there are some things you can try to encourage more sales before the show and during intermission. Use these ideas to decide on a plan for your venue.
- Try offering more substantial items for those who may have missed a meal. If people are rushing from work to get to the show, they may not have time to eat dinner beforehand and will appreciate filling options at your concession stand. Pizza slices and hot dogs are easy additions that will satisfy appetites. All you need is a warmer or steamer, and you can offer single-serve chili sauces with hot dog condiments so you don’t have to worry about a dispenser.
- Set up a few standing tables in your lobby before the show. For early arrivers, make it easier to eat their dinner in the lobby before heading to their seats. When there’s no concern about how to carry and hold their food and drinks, people are more likely to purchase extra snacks. These tables can then be removed after the show starts, or after intermission is over.
- Make your packaging convenient for carrying and eating in the theater. There’s a reason prepackaged snacks make great concession stand foods: not only will these options be easier for your customers, they also help you reduce waste and save money. Of course, you’ll want to make sure there is an announcement before curtain reminding guests to unwrap candies and foods before the show begins.
- Sell easy-to-eat foods that won’t disrupt the show. While nachos can be great for snacking in the lobby, no one wants to listen to someone crunching chips during the performance. Offer foods that will be easy and quiet to munch on in the dark: soft pretzels are a good savory option, and for sweet treats, you can offer your own house-made fudge.
- Offer a deal on beverages with the purchase of souvenir cups. Reusable souvenir cups appeal to customers who want less waste and shorter waits. For a slightly higher price, they can purchase a souvenir cup and then return to the concession stand for free or discounted refills. If space allows, you can even create a separate line for souvenir cup refills so that patrons can skip the long food lines.
- Position extra staff at satellite stations for popular performances. Before the show and during intermission, make it easier for patrons to get their snacks quickly. Additional stations selling only beverages or simple snacks will help reduce wait times at your main concession stand and will cut back on missed sales due to long lines.
- Create an indicator of how much time remains during intermission so guests feel comfortable that they won’t miss any of the second act. As restroom and concession lines grow, audiences often feel pressured to skip the snacks or merchandise table during intermission to make it back to their seats before the lights are lowered. While it isn’t traditional, a digital countdown clock displayed in the lobby can set attendees at ease, so they know they have time to grab a snack or drink before Act II begins.