Higher Education: NAC partners with ShowEast on an exciting concessions curriculum

Snack Corner

The National Association of Concessionaires continues to broaden its scope of educational practices in partnership with ShowEast 2017. While NAC has been a longtime partner of ShowEast and its programming, this year it will offer a complete kaleidoscope of concessions and foodservice innovations.

The NAC classes will focus on increasing revenue streams through promotional experiences, and the evolution of foodservice offerings in cinemas. There will be samples of South American promotional tools for theatre circuits, specific examples of conversions from concession areas to kitchens by leaders in smaller-market cinemas, design considerations for those wanting to know how to make those conversions, and lessons on turning inventory into cash. The lineup will include professionals from South America, Florida, Colorado and the Mid-South. This year’s educational programing will be the most diverse in recent years and will approach the dynamics that many are challenged with in today’s milieu. NAC has collaborated with the leadership of ShowEast by creating a task force led by Jeff Waaland of Golden Link, Shelly Olesen of C. Cretors and Company, Jeff Scudillo of Promotion-in-Motion and Dan Borschke of NAC to provide the highest level of statistics and information for attendees.

Borschke, NAC executive VP, is proud to support this effort: “We pride ourselves in being education trendsetters for the industry. We are excited that our latest foray into academic achievement will take place at ShowEast in Miami when NAC presents ShowEast University. This two-day effort will provide state-of-the-art learning opportunities and up-to-the-minute trends and experiences.” The event will be moderated by the author of this column, in my capacity as NAC director of education.

NAC has formulated many similar offerings and has found success at CineAsia, where it has grown its audience threefold with this formula of diverse representations, proving that the cinema foodservice experience is global in nature.

Denise Needham, chief sales officer at SurveyMe, will lead off the classes with results from their collection of data regarding purchasing habits of U.S. moviegoers. This data is compelling and quite extensive and offers a clear vision of what the American audience is contributing and expecting. This presentation will portray the differences in millennials, baby-boomers and Gen Z buyers. Needham invites attendees to “learn who provides your most reliable income, who your ‘rock stars’ are and how to entice millennials to the concession stand. Attendees will receive an exclusive 70-page breakdown of our results.”

Moris Guterman, managing director of Ping Solutions South America, will follow in the curriculum with a report on the value of premium vessel options and retail integration. Guterman has seen exponential growth in smaller markets by blending concessions with collectibles. He will detail the upcoming film releases and the catalog of premiums that can enhance the moviegoing experience for the guest.

The real-time experience will be advanced by the VP of Cineplanet, Rafael Nieves, who will can provide specific data related to his incorporation of premium vessels, toppers and promotional activities.

The first day of classes will conclude with a presentation by NAC, “Turning Inventory into Cash.” This lecture will demonstrate that every item in the foodservice arena has a cash value. While the theatre manager sees that cups and popcorn bags have retail transformation, the process goes far beyond those tools. Details of personnel, equipment and time management also can be considered inventory and require management. This classroom-style seminar hopes to remind participants that every facet of the concession operation has monetary implications and the responsibility of the manager does not stop at sellable elements.

Day two of the University will begin with the importance of proper kitchen design and layout. With increasing demands for extended foodservice and adult beverages, theatre owners, architects and managers are being challenged to convert current space into food production commissaries. Shawn Sandt, national sales director at Proctor Companies, will direct a symposium on best practices when considering the best options for making the conversion. He will provide ratios on production space versus service areas and the square footage needed to offer adequate areas for consumption of such “nuevo noshes.” The principal intention is to allow for functionality and flow for the best operational efficiency.

Luis Ginestra, food and beverage director at Silverspot Cinemas, will testify about the challenges of converting from a concession stand to restaurant service. He will describe the trials, experiences and requirements it consumes when making these modifications. At the same time, he can confirm the satisfying results that come from the transition. Ginestra will offer specific advice and considerations before the renovation begins.

One of the more popular sessions will be led by Tom Branch, Southeast national accounts manager, Sierra Nevada. Branch will offer insights on the growth of craft beers in the cinema marketplace and allow for questions for those that attend regarding how brews are influencing the purchase of carbonated malt beverages. There might even be a sampling of products for the attendees and a beer pairing with a variety of cheeses.

The University semester will conclude with a presentation on creating “The Professional Promotion.” This class will be led by the moderator and NAC director of education. The emphasis will be on the three P’s when producing a productive promotion. With all the latest premiums and collectible vessels, every operator should have the best organization platform to allow for the best possible opportunity for success.

This year the slate is full of valuable information, from producing increased sales to managing the evolution of food and beverage services in cinemas. ShowEast and NAC once again offer exciting possibilities for theatre managers to gain more educational development in the continued search for higher profitability.

Larry Etter is senior vice president at Malco Theatres and director of education at the National Association of Concessionaires.