For those not lucky enough to live in the parts of the country where cocktails are sold at theatres, the AMC Theatres beverage program is a revelation. The entertainment group captured this year’s VIBE Vista Award for “Best Overall” beverage program for multi-unit chain.
AMC supports its overall strategic aim for comfort and convenience with a selection of wine, beer, cocktails, and adult alcohol-free drinks to elevate consumer perception, increase beverage sales, and inspire visits. Many AMC theatres feature dine-in casual restaurants where a guest can order a beverage on-premise or have their order delivered to their movie seat. Other locations have bars (MacGuffins Bar & Lounge) where guests can consume beverages either at the bar or during their movie. AMC has experienced tremendous growth over the past 12 months, opening 40 new MacGuffins at existing theatres and 3 new locations.
AMC has partnered with leading suppliers including several premium celebrity brands: they currently sell more Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka than any other theatre, restaurant or bar in the world. AMC also offers Francis Ford Coppola and Drew Barrymore wines, Justin Timberlake’s Sauza 901 tequila, and 50 Cent endorsed EFFEN Vodka.
Prices for cocktails, beer, alcohol-free selections, and wines by the glass range from $4.79 to $15.29, which suits all budgets. Guests typically consume less alcohol at AMC theatres but desire a higher quality product, including premium and ultra-premium brands. AMC makes it easy for guests to choose how premium their selection will be, and the highest price points are steadily growing year-over-year. Wine sales have also been increasing, with a larger percentage of overall beverage sales coming from this one category.
AMC’s marketing strategy encompasses materials, promotions, contests, social media, and more, all designed to elevate the guest experience, increase beverage sales, and inspire new and repeat visits. Bartenders and hand-crafted cocktails are highlighted throughout the menu to further differentiate AMC’s beverage program from several competitors that use machines and mixes instead. Movie theme nods in the menu help guests pair the perfect beverage with their movie choice of adventure, drama, comedy, and other film genres.
Digital menu boards at concession stands use video interrupters to feature movie drink promotions, LTOs, and photos of MacGuffins to bring exposure to the bars. Guests over the age of 21 can opt in to receive emails via AMCtheatres.com for new movie feature drink promotions and LTOs. During special movie engagements, specialty cocktail promotions help increase beverage sales and keep guests excited with a constant array of new selections. New service strategies are tested often, such as the delivery of a second cocktail 45 minutes after a movie begins. A 10% bar sales increase was experienced during the test period and most theatres are now utilizing this service program.
When the movie Fifty Shades of Grey opened last February, AMC introduced Forbidden Fruit and Sweet Seduction specialty cocktails as a movie feature drink promotion. The cocktails were showcased in posters and table-top displays used in theatre lobbies, restaurants and MacGuffins Bars & Lounges. A playful and fun commercial featuring the cocktails was shown prior to the movie to add excitement and intrigue. AMC sold over 44,000 of the movie feature drinks during the 6-week promotion and experienced 5% year-over-year same store bar sales growth. The cocktails were the most expensive drinks at the time and yet they became best sellers during the promo.
Welcoming 4 times the number of guests than all the major sports games played in the United States combined, AMC works hard to provide a great movie-going experience, and thanks to an extraordinary overall beverage program and 40 new bar openings this past year, AMC has experienced a 55.4% total bar year-over-year revenue growth and a 10.0% same bar year-over-year increase in overall beverage sales through September 2015. Wine and spirits sales are also up with 34.6% and 20.5% increases respectively, with the largest percentage of growth in the top tier offerings.