Hoyts Belconnen Cracking Down on Contraband Consumables

By 29 December, 2012 86

Now for the important debates of the day!

My wife and I were recently refused entry to Hoyts Belconnen for the heinous crime of carrying delicious take-away Muffin Break coffees into the cinemas.  Apparently the condition of not allowing any food or drink from external sources has always been a policy of the cinema -  but has only been enforced over the last month, and of course there is no extra signage or such explaining the sudden change in heart.

My pleas that the caffeine was required to stay awake during Mr Jackson’s latest masterpiece were unceremoniously ignored by the teenage attendant, and subsequently the teenage manager, leading to a refund and a quick drive into Civic Dendy where we received no such rubbish.

Whilst I respect the business owners rights to enforce whatever policy they dream up what do Rioters think about this in the age of digital delivery?  At the very least let this post serve to give you warning to brush up your food-smuggling skills/techniques or save up for that 80 inch tele in JB.

Please login to post your comments
86 Responses to Hoyts Belconnen Cracking Down on Contraband Consumables
#1
Slashor12:39 pm, 29 Dec 12

Surely that is counter-productive to actually selling tickets. I wonder how much the make on ticket sales vs concession item sales.

#2
FoMoCo12:41 pm, 29 Dec 12

I and a couple of friends were also stopped the other day for the same thing. We were all rather amazed that after going there for the last 15 years (or however long it has been open) they now decide to enforce it…. I guess it is time to migrate to Dendy or start a smuggling trade…

#3
johnboy12:42 pm, 29 Dec 12

cinemas make almost nothing on ticket sales, so the real wonder is it took Hoyts Belconnen this long to notice.

#4
pink little birdie12:49 pm, 29 Dec 12

I thought you weren’t allowed to take hot drinks in to cinemas and that’s been enforced for years.

#5
MrPC1:02 pm, 29 Dec 12

I wonder if this counts as third line forcing.

#6
arescarti421:18 pm, 29 Dec 12

Awesome, now whenever I go to the movies with friends it’ll be a contest to see who can successfully smuggle in the most kebabs and fried chicken in their pockets/under their hats. That sort of thing is no fun when you know they’ll just let you in.

johnboy said :

cinemas make almost nothing on ticket sales, so the real wonder is it took Hoyts Belconnen this long to notice.

I find this interesting, surely once the cinema has paid their rent and licenced the film, the cost of providing screenings to people is almost zero.

#7
johnboy1:22 pm, 29 Dec 12

Nope, the distributor pays the cinema an amount to display each session of the film (back in the day about 30 tickets worth).

All the money from the box office goes to the distributor.

Selling popcorn is always where the real money is for the cinema.

(Actually in one chain I worked for in the UK the real money to the parent company was an Irish subsidiary selling cleaning chemicals to the cinema at a 1,000% markup which repatriated the takings to low-tax Ireland. Cinemas are not a simple business, but selling your popcorn and not letting you bring in any other crap which may be hard to clean, or annoying to other patrons, is a bit of a no brainer.)

#8
arescarti421:29 pm, 29 Dec 12

johnboy said :

Nope, the distributor pays the cinema an amount to display each session of the film (back in the day about 30 tickets worth).

All the money from the box office goes to the distributor.

Selling popcorn is always where the real money is for the cinema.

(Actually in one chain I worked for in the UK the real money to the parent company was an Irish subsidiary selling cleaning chemicals to the cinema at a 1,000% markup which repatriated the takings to low-tax Ireland. Cinemas are not a simple business, but selling your popcorn and not letting you bring in any other crap which may be hard to clean, or annoying to other patrons, is a bit of a no brainer.)

Fascinating.

#9
lostinbias1:30 pm, 29 Dec 12

Curse those employees for upholding policy. Would I be correct in assuming that you brought up their youth in your original post (“teenage attendant, and subsequently the teenage manager”) in order to express and/or stir up disapproval (“How could someone so young be a manager blah blah blah life experience blah”)?

I’m so sick of young people in the workforce being unfairly judged by the public at large. Yes, I’ve worked with some young people who are good for nothing, but I’ve worked with some who are very dedicated and skilled as well, and it’s the same with older people. Being quite young in the scheme of things I’ve dealt with older people who seem to assume that I will not provide a decent service or will screw up somewhere.

On the subject of this consumables policy, I thought it was always the case, and on the rare occasion I go to the cinema I will hide my contraband junk somehow.

#10
LSWCHP1:35 pm, 29 Dec 12

I’ve been watching pictures at Hoyts Belco for 20+ years, and I’ve never once purchased any of their mind-bogglingly overpriced popcorn or soft drinks. I always take the kids down to K-Mart or Coles to stock up on a couple of bags of lollies and some drinks, which are easily concealed in backpacks or deep hoodie pockets.

They can do what they like, but I’m not going to be gouged by them. If they start body searching everybody, we’ll just forget the junk food when we go to the flicks. When they charge reasonable prices for the treats then I’ll be prepared to pay for them.

#11
DrKoresh2:51 pm, 29 Dec 12

LSWCHP said :

When they charge reasonable prices for the treats then I’ll be prepared to pay for them.

Couldn’t agree more. Surely they’re losing out on potential profits simply because of how over-priced their snacks are. If they stuck to the RRP I’d be willing to bet that they’d start seeing more cash coming in.

#12
rosscoact3:18 pm, 29 Dec 12

When I was in the cinema industry in the 1990s, the distributors took 55% in the first week then a sliding scale down to 30% with a minimum fee of $150 per week.

Once a year (show weekend which was the slowest weekend of the year) we sold tickets for old films for $2 and would pack the cinema over and over again. Distributors got minimum but we made a motza on the concessions.

BTW, the cost of the packaging for popcorn is higher than the cost of ingredients. Profit is in the region of 600% and drinks are similar.

We would have liked to stop people from bringing in outside food because as JB says, you still have to clean up the filth that people leave behind. The only strict rules were no glass and no hot food. The former for safety reasons, the latter because for everyone else in the cinema it stinks.

#13
gospeedygo3:34 pm, 29 Dec 12

lostinbias said :

Curse those employees for upholding policy. Would I be correct in assuming that you brought up their youth in your original post (“teenage attendant, and subsequently the teenage manager”) in order to express and/or stir up disapproval (“How could someone so young be a manager blah blah blah life experience blah”)?

Totally agree.

I was witness to the same policy enforcement as the OP and (to me at least) it looks like a really hard thing to have to tell people when you’re their only avenue of recourse right there and then. I can easily see people getting quite angry over this too.

The young usher, when I was there, was reasonably professional and obviously just trying to do his job and I suspect the manager had similarly lowly powers under the shining almighty head office.

(For the record, I hate this policy)

#14
screaming banshee4:03 pm, 29 Dec 12

MrPC said :

I wonder if this counts as third line forcing.

No, because the cinema and candy bar are a single entity. They are not preventing you from purchasing the goods, just consuming them on their premises.

#15
goggles134:56 pm, 29 Dec 12

as others have said, the cinemas make their money from the concession items. therefore, the policy of refusing entry is valid. however, the cinemas would make more money if they were less greedy and charged less for the concession items.

#16
justin heywood5:03 pm, 29 Dec 12

johnboy said :

cinemas make almost nothing on ticket sales,

Interesting. But if I was to see The Hobbit (2D) tomorrow at 6.00 PM at Hoyts Belconnen will cost me $17.00. Dendy appears to be $18.00.

The same movie at the same time at Limelight will cost me $11.00. Is Limelight losing money on the ticket but hoping to make it up on the popcorn?

Any ideas?

#17
wildturkeycanoe5:27 pm, 29 Dec 12

My wife did the same the other day, packed up a heap of goodies just to be told that they can’t be taken into the cinema. Many people had to leave their stuff outside the theater in a box. Too bad if they got stolen before the curtain dropped. Here are some interesting conversation starters in relation to this issue.
1. If you have allergies to certain foods which the candy bar doesn’t cater for, can you take your own pre-prepared snacks?
2. Water – can you take your own in a flask or sports drink bottle because you need the fluorine from tap water for healthy teeth?
3. How far can they legally search your bags/handbags/pockets to identify the contraband?
4. Will sporting venues begin to take this approach with things such as NRL games, cricket matches, football and the like?
5. Should schools also adopt this in order to keep our canteens in operation?
Apart from the fact my wife and 3 kids had to move seats because Hoytts sold the same seats to another customer who ordered online [same seat numbers, verified by the usher, even though the manager said it wasn't possible to double book a seat] and ended up under the blast of air conditioning, causing headaches and chills without any more than a simple “sorry”, I am over the big screen thing. I’ll wait for the DVD or early release on Foxtel. That way I can eat and drink what I want, pause if I need to go to the toilet and rewind if I missed something.

#18
paservank6:22 pm, 29 Dec 12

As long as you are taking in the same kind of food and drinks they already sell it should be fine – if they kick up a stink just mention anti-competition complaints to the ACCC.

As for coffee (just take an iced coffee instead) and hot foods, you could probably argue your way in but you’d have to be a bit of a douchebag to subject your fellow movie-goers to it. It’s the olfactory version of people checking their phones during a movie – not actually that big a deal, but I still want to rip your eyeballs out via your arse!

#19
pptvb6:33 pm, 29 Dec 12

pink little birdie said :

I thought you weren’t allowed to take hot drinks in to cinemas and that’s been enforced for years.

Me too

#20
hotwaterservice7:09 pm, 29 Dec 12

If they charged reasonable but still profitable prices this would not be an issue … price gouging at their front counter is their self inflicted cause of the food smuggling! Will not stop me … good luck searching me if you dare! 8-)

#21
Instant Mash7:10 pm, 29 Dec 12

I’ve always done it and had no trouble.

I think it’s fair that they do this, but putting up signage would save them a lot of trouble.

#22
rosscoact7:12 pm, 29 Dec 12

The business of a cinema is to sell tickets to films and food and drink items to be consumed at the film. As such the owner is entitled to refuse to allow a person to buy food elsewhere and consume it on premises.

Same as buying food at Maccas and trying to eat it at KFC.

As far as Limelight goes, they are hoping to get more people in, nothing more. 45% of $11 is $4.95 per person that Limelight keeps as opposed to $7.65 for Hoyts. However, Hoyts probably have a higher percentage of discounted tickets than Limelight.

#23
JimCharles7:29 pm, 29 Dec 12

wildturkeycanoe said :

4. Will sporting venues begin to take this approach with things such as NRL games, cricket matches, football and the like?
5. Should schools also adopt this in order to keep our canteens in operation?
Apart from the fact my wife and 3 kids had to move seats because Hoytts sold the same seats to another customer who ordered online [same seat numbers, verified by the usher, even though the manager said it wasn't possible to double book a seat] and ended up under the blast of air conditioning, causing headaches and chills without any more than a simple “sorry”, I am over the big screen thing. I’ll wait for the DVD or early release on Foxtel. That way I can eat and drink what I want, pause if I need to go to the toilet and rewind if I missed something.

Do they not do this anyway at sporting events over here? Back in the UK i stopped buying stuff years ago because of the searches and gits taking soft drinks off kids (because the bottle can be thrown as a weapon, although they were selling their own inside) , huge markups and Test cricket got rid of food hampers years ago with external beer packs gone years and years before that.
The money they can make is massive.

I don’t know what happens in schools here but when a few schools banned kids from bringing chips and chocolate and also removed them from the canteen (Jamie Oliver), they had parents rushing to school at lunchtime shoving McDonald’s burgers through the fence because they thought their kids were gong to starve.

#24
Hellno7:45 pm, 29 Dec 12

I have had no trouble over the years, but have always waited for the day when I may be challenged. I always go to the cinema via the supermarket – they are in the middle of shopping malls after all, so my defence if ever questioned would be that I am carrying my shopping with me. I’d get a bit upset if anyone wanted to search my shopping bags.

#25
G.R.R7:46 pm, 29 Dec 12

They didn’t allow coffee in so you drove into civic? Why not just finish the coffees and walk in?

#26
Mr Waffle7:56 pm, 29 Dec 12

JimCharles said :

Apart from the fact my wife and 3 kids had to move seats because Hoytts sold the same seats to another customer who ordered online [same seat numbers, verified by the usher, even though the manager said it wasn't possible to double book a seat]

So it DOES happen! I went to go see Total Recall and booked a ticket online, seat K-13 or something. When I get there I see someone sitting in that seat. I didn’t make a fuss because it was an almost empty cinema, I just sat a few seats away. A dude came along just before the movie started and said to the guy sitting in K-13 that it was his seat, showed the ticket, and the person in it apologised and moved… the same seat I’d bought online… I didn’t bother making a fuss over it since there was plenty of other places to sit, but I’ve always wondered if it was a once-off.

#27
poetix8:13 pm, 29 Dec 12

Most films (at least non-Peter Jackson ones) are no more than about two hours (choc-tops). You really should be able to go that long without a snack. Of course, if it’s a kiddies’ film for a birthday or something, it’s a bit different.

Eat before and/or after!

#28
Panhead8:23 pm, 29 Dec 12

I was a teenage usher at Hoyts for 3 years. Hot food and drinks are the worst to clean up and they make everything smell. Sure you wont spill your coffee but someone will and it will fester and smell, same with your hot food. You know what a cheese burger that has festered for a few sessions smells like after someone has left it behind and in the rushed 5 minutes we have to clean a cinema that has been ravaged by 100 or so people we missed it.

Think a cinema policy is stupid? I will tell you why it isn’t.

#29
mareva9:15 pm, 29 Dec 12

I am going to start by making a few assumptions about OP.

OP is white, middle-aged, male (obviously), and almost certainly works for the APS.

I actually laughed (in my mind) when I read that you, OP, got a damn refund for your damn tickets because your damn coffee was taken off you which is the most basic damn cinema policy of all time. Don’t take in food from outside, plus don’t take in hot drinks.

Maybe OP you should quit your job at the Department of Bullshit and go work at Hoyts and instigate some bottom-up change, i.e. eradicating all the most basic and sensical public health and safety policies they have practiced for many years. Maybe you can start by drafting a policy paper about it.

No I don’t work for Hoyts, I’ve never worked for a damn cinema but OP your classic Canberra asshole attitude has really pissed me off.

#30
Dacquiri10:01 pm, 29 Dec 12

As for the hot drinks: Dendy actually does a not too terrible line in hot coffee, which you are free to take into the movie with you (at least we’ve never been stopped). And we always take our own treats (hidden in handbag or pockets), refusing to pay rip-off prices. It was even better when you could buy stuff at Franklin’s in Belco Mall before the movie…

Advertisement
GET PREMIUM MEMBERSHIP
Advertisement

Halloween in Australia?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

IMAGES OF CANBERRA

Advertisement
Sponsors
Advertisement
Copyright © 2014 Riot ACT Holdings Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.