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In-Seat Service: Why Mobile POS is Driving the Latest Cinema Trend

June 05, 2019

Everyone likes to treat themselves to a special experience from time to time. In a nod to the lifestyle customer experience trend, a growing number of cinema operators are now offering a VIP cinema experience, with advance seat selection available online, luxury leather recliners and in-seat food and drink service to movie goers in as many as ten luxury auditoriums under one roof.

In many outlets, patrons are invited to arrive for their showing 15 to 30 minutes early, where they take their assigned seats and place their food and drink orders. This ensures that orders can delivered before the movie starts.

However, as an increasing number of cinema operators look to grow concession revenues, it is becoming more common to serve refreshments during the showing, too. In smaller, boutique venues, operators are reviving the tradition of snack vendors walking the aisles to serve customers - only they don’t carry products with them.

It isn’t just the usual soft drinks, sweets and popcorn that operators offer during showtimes. In-seat service in upscale venues like The Lot now includes alcoholic beverages from the full bar or entrees from the restaurant, all delivered right to your seat. This is something we can expect to see more of in the bigger chains.

Taking service to the customer

Driving this revival and evolution in auditorium service is Mobile POS. With cashless payments and handheld tablets, cinema staff can take service to the customer, adding value to the cinema-going experience as patrons avoid having to leave the theater and face long lines to get refreshments.

There are several reasons why Mobile POS has enabled in-seat service to take hold.

In the past, cash payments meant in-theater snack sales were restricted to intermissions, where long lines would develop anyway. The awkward practice eventually waned. Today, with the speed and convenience of cashless payments, MPOS tablets with an integrated contactless reader allow sales to be processed seat-side in seconds, without customers fumbling for cash or entering a card PIN. The convenience of the technology makes seat-side ordering both simple and unintrusive.

Using MPOS technology, theater staff do not have carry food and beverages on carts, or take paper orders for fulfilment at the bar or concession counter.

Using a standard product information management (PIM) system, staff with an MPOS tablet have food, snacks and beverages at their fingertips, and can process an order for any item with a simple touch. Once the order is placed, staff in the bar, restaurant or snack counter are alerted and orders are efficiently prepared for quick seat-side delivery to the customer. 

Thanks to the speed and convenience of mobile POS, in-seat service can now be offered as a premium experience for cinema-goers. The choice is no longer inconvenient -- leave your seat and face a long line for refreshments or fumble for change to pay the in-theatre vendor. It’s about getting what you want, when you want, delivered right to your seat, simply and seamlessly. And that is what a superior customer experience is all about.

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