The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Cinemark tests new online concessions

A new Internet feature has cut waiting time for movie buffs once again.

For moviegoers who were exceptionally anxious to see recent hits like 8 Mile and Jackass: the Movie, Web sites like www.fandango.com and www.moviefone.com allow customers to forego the long, opening night lines and purchase their tickets ahead of time.

But even though the tickets are set and ready to go, moviegoers still have to wait for snacks. What’s a movie without popcorn or candy? To many, food is a crucial, part of the movie-going experience. Yet many dread waiting in the long lines and fishing out the necessary cash.

Cinemark has a solution to the problem and has developed a new system for purchasing concessions online. Customers of Tinseltown USA in Plano are the first in the nation to test it out.

Upon visiting the Cinemark Web site, www.cinemark.com, and locating the Tinseltown homepage, customers find a button that says, “Click here to purchase concessions only.” With the exception of candy, customers can pick from a small selection of hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and drinks. The concept might evoke images of stale popcorn and flat soda set aside in a dark corner waiting for the anticipated “online” customer, but Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Cinemark in Plano Terrell Falk says otherwise.

Once concessions are ordered, the customer is given a confirmation number that they have to present, so freshness should not be an issue. The Web site only offers a few items so far, but there are definitely plans to expand the menu.

“It’s working exceptionally smoothly; technologically and operationally,” Falk said. “We’re testing it out. We’re the only theater so far that is doing this, so it’s only a trial system.”

Granted, not many people are ordering snacks online, but Falk thinks it’s great for business. The entire system – ticket and concession ordering online – is an immense help to the theater.

“It allows us to be prepared by giving us numbers ahead of time,” Falk said. “That way, we can be properly staffed according to the number of customers we know that we’re going to have.”

There isn’t a big marketing push so far, and the company hopes customers spread the news through word of mouth. With the early success of this trial system, Falk believes that it will continue and subsequently spread to theaters nationwide.

So those who are excited about the upcoming Harry Potter sequel can test it out to see whether it magically takes their concession-stand worries away.

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