Now Playing: Movie Theater Dining Gets an Upgrade

November 2017

“Dinner and a movie” is getting a new definition as movie theaters continue to enhance their food options. Once limited to soda, popcorn and candy, dining selections at theaters are becoming more elaborate and on trend. Are restaurant-quality movie theater meals poised to steal share from your operation? Read on to learn more.

Traditionally, movie theaters generate more profit from food sales than ticket sales—movie theater foods can have a profit margin of up to 85%. When moviegoers are hungry, they have no choice but to pay for the food options available.

Movie- and TV-streaming platforms such as Netflix and Hulu allow consumers to be entertained from the comfort of their own homes. This has caused movie theater attendance to decrease rapidly in recent years. In response, movie theater operators are expanding and enhancing their menus to create a more attractive destination for consumers.

Some of the tactics they are using include introducing chef-inspired, premium food items; healthier menus; and a greater selection of alcoholic beverages for patrons to enjoy. AMC Theatres is in the process of refreshing its menu to be closer to that of a casual or fast-casual restaurant. Its current options include a chicken quinoa bowl and a burger topped with bacon, brie cheese, caramelized onions, arugula and fig jam, among others. AMC’s new Feature Fare menu offers chicken and waffle sandwiches, cheeseburger sliders and even charcuterie plates.

As movie theaters revamp their menus, there are lots of ways you can continue to drive traffic to your operation. If installing a silver screen in your front of house is out of the question, try offering pre-movie dinner specials or fun LTOs based on popular movie titles.

Stay up to date with what’s happening throughout the foodservice landscape. Check our Resource Center to follow the latest trends and more.


Smith, Michael. Beyond popcorn and candy: Movie theaters expanding menus to enhance experience and revenues, Tulsa World, August 2017.

Shropshire, Corilyn. Dinner and a movie? Theaters will serve up drinks and dessert, too, Chicago Tribune, June 2017.

Lacsamana, Pauline. Movie Theaters Compete With Restaurants by Increasing Food Quality, The Daily Meal, December 2016.

Glazer, Fern. Movie theaters focus on food, Nation’s Restaurant News, November 2016.

Thorn, Bret. AMC Theatres makes food a major attraction, Nation’s Restaurant News, April 2017.

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