Spanish cinema group Yelmo Cines has been fined €30,000 for not allowing clients to bring in food and drinks from outside
Yes, it IS possible enter the cinema with popcorn or drinks you purchased outside. This lingering doubt has at last been resolved by Kontsumobide (the Basque Consumer Institute), which has fined Yelmo Cines 30,000 euros after a complaint from the Spanish consumer organisation Facua, for preventing its customers from doing so.
The institute concluded in its ruling that the main activity of a movie theatre is the projection of films. This implies that businessmen in the sector will not be able to use this excuse to prohibit entry with food and drink from outside when, in addition, according to Facua, food can be purchased within the premises itself.
According to Facua, they have also taken Yelmo Cines in the Community of Madrid to court for this same reason. The association has filed “an injunction action in the first instance courts of Madrid, considering that the chain thereby incurs an abusive clause with which it limits the rights of consumers .”
Explainer: Why food and drinks so expensive in movie theatres
The cost of food and drinks in cinemas is influenced by various factors, and it’s important to consider the economics of running a movie theater. Here are some reasons why food and drinks in cinemas tend to be relatively expensive:
- Operating Costs: Running a movie theater involves significant operating costs, including rent, utilities, staffing, and maintenance. The revenue generated from ticket sales alone may not be sufficient to cover these expenses. As a result, theaters often rely on concession sales, including food and drinks, to make a profit.
- Revenue Sharing: Movie studios typically take a large percentage of ticket sales during the initial weeks of a film’s release. This leaves theaters with a smaller share of the ticket revenue. To compensate, theaters often increase prices for concessions, where they have more control over pricing and profit margins.
- Limited Revenue Streams: Theaters have limited sources of revenue, with most of their income coming from ticket and concession sales. This makes the pricing of concessions critical for the financial sustainability of the business.
- Quality and Variety: Cinemas often strive to provide a certain level of quality and variety in their concession offerings. This may include premium snacks, gourmet options, and a diverse selection of beverages. These higher-quality items may come with higher production and procurement costs, contributing to the overall price.
- Captive Audience: Moviegoers are a captive audience, meaning they have limited choices for purchasing food and drinks while inside the theater. This lack of competition allows theaters to set prices at a level that maximizes their revenue.
- Experience Enhancement: Cinemas aim to enhance the overall movie-watching experience for their customers. Offering a range of food and drink options is part of this strategy. However, these additional amenities and conveniences can contribute to higher prices.
- Maintenance of Facilities: Theaters invest in maintaining clean and comfortable facilities, and the revenue from concession sales helps cover these costs. The cleanliness and ambiance of a theater can contribute significantly to the overall movie-going experience.
While the prices of food and drinks in cinemas may seem high, it’s essential to recognize that theatre’s often depend on these sales to stay in business. Some cinemas may also offer loyalty programs or discounts to help alleviate the cost burden for frequent patrons.