Admiral Twin asks theatergoers not to bring in food, drinks
BY MICHAEL SMITH World Scene Writer
Friday, July 13, 2012
7/13/12 at 4:52 AM
Related story: Families make movie memories.
It's impossible to not notice the ice chests lined up along the rows of cars at the Admiral Twin Drive-in. Almost as difficult to miss is the sign at the front entrance: No outside food or drink allowed.
The days of drive-in patrons bringing a portable charcoaler to the Admiral Twin for a pre-show cookout appear to be over, but guests are still warming to the new policy of leaving the cooler at home.
Co-owner Blake Smith appreciates the goodwill he's enjoying in reopening the drive-in, and he is yet to strictly enforce the policy. He's hoping people will get the message.
"There are a lot of people coming out, and now I've just got to get a few more out of their cars and going to the concession stand to do their part," Smith said.
He spent more than $700,000 reopening the drive-in, and he has a mortgage to service. Like all theater owners - who don't have to worry about families carrying large meals into the auditorium - Smith makes most of his money from concessions.
"I really don't want this to sound bitter, but when a family pulls up and they've got six pizzas from Little Caesar's with them, and everybody's already got a drink from QuikTrip, they're beating the system," he said. "I'm just asking that people do their part and get out of their car to at least buy some drinks or popcorn or something else.
"People said they wanted the drive-in to come back, and subsidizing fast-food places along Admiral Drive are not the way to keep the Admiral Twin going."
Those attending will find it hard to break the culture of bringing snacks and sodas to the drive-in. Chadd Williams, a recent patron attending for the fourth time in three weeks and one of six family members and friends in his group, had a definite opinion on the policy being strictly enforced.
"I'll hide it," Williams said of his take-in food. "That's my honest answer. I don't think they'll be too strict, because they would lose business. This (experience) is affordable, and we love coming out here.
"But something like $3 for a bottle of water is not so affordable."
Smith said he realizes that feeding a large family their dinner from concession-stand food would be expensive, but the point is that the customers buy something from the menu - not everything.
"That extra couple of dollars is what might make the difference" in avoiding some other policy change, Smith said - like raising admission prices, which currently top out at $7 per adult for a double-feature."It's not a threat, it's just reality. Just your kids buying a Popsicle could make the difference. We have the cheapest concessions in town, and it's a very simple situation: We have to sell more.
"Hey, try our new chicken tenders and fries or the onion rings. They're great."
Original Print Headline: Concessions sales vital for new Admiral Twin
Michael Smith 918-581-8479