Bring in your Starbucks

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This Washington Post article reminded me how much I personally dislike (but professionally understand) the practice of most movie theaters of not letting you enter with your own food and drink:

Gary Rappaport... bought the shopping center at Worldgate in Reston four years ago, just before Loews filed for bankruptcy protection and announced plans to shutter the nine-screen theater that anchored Rappaport's project.

Rappaport considered his options: For $1 million, he could renovate the theater, putting in larger, plusher seats and a new sound system... It was an easy call. Now Rappaport isn't just a developer, he's a movie theater operator, hiring Phoenix Theatres LLC of Knoxville, Tenn., to help manage the venture.

"I've got a good stable place, it's a good experience, it's clean, it's well run, it's more community-oriented," Rappaport said. And though he says he doesn't make as much money as a chain-operated theater, having the movies benefits his whole development. He trains his staff to sell concessions hard ("Do you want candy with that?"), but he'll also let patrons bring in lattes from the nearby Starbucks, something a megaplex would never allow because it has to sell its own drinks to stay in business.

"Economically, my structure is different. I'm the tenant and the landlord," Rappaport said.

The critical difference is not that he owns the movie theater land or building, but that Mr. Rappaport rents to Starbucks and others the right to sell drinks right outside of his theater. Mr. R has found a kinder, gentler way of internalizing the "externality" of higher demand for food and drink around a movie theater.

The reviews of Phoenix 9 Worldgate are excellent. They even have those popular monthly bring-your-baby movie times.

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This page contains a single entry by Kevin published on August 22, 2004 2:20 PM.

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