It is a fact with figures that the multiplexes across India are generating a substantial portion of their total revenues from the Food and Beverage segment within the cinema halls. With PVR making 27% of their total revenues from the FnB segment, Inox is making 22% as per data released for the financial year ended March 31, 2018.
However, lets take the example of the PVR Cinemas in Udaipur. Being a major client draw at the Forum Celebration Mall, the cinema boasts of plenty of food counters where the movie goer has a variety of options to choose from – be it at exorbitant prices.
Surprisingly, inspite of such a grand of draw of customers to the multiplex and substantial rush at the food counters, especially the popcorn points, our attention has been drawn to the misgivings from certain customers as to the modus operandi of the counters.
After repeat complaints, one customer drew our attention to a specific chain of events that took place at PVR a couple of weeks ago. He was at the movies with his family and the kids demanded Popcorn during the interval. A heavy rush forms at the counters and unfortunately, inspite of there being 4 counters, only 2 were kept open.
On ordering a large bucket of Popcorn, he noticed that the bucket was large, while the Popcorn was not filled properly…the quantity was that of a small bucket.
There is option of just LARGE POPCORN & REGULAR POPCORN, however, PVR also creates a POPCORN BUCKET as a special deal of the day to misguide people. Our reader (name withheld on request) noticed that the counter boys were not giving the correct amount of Popcorn in the buckets.
On ordering a POPCORN BUCKET, he noticed that the bucket was not filled properly. On complaint the counter boy explained that due to shortage of medium buckets, large buckets were being used – “Sorry we do not have POPCORN BUCKET, so we are using large buckets. On this when he checked his bill & found that the counter boy charged him for LARGE BUCKET only, on objection the counter boy quietly gave him ₹20 & tried to justify. This was not finished, the supervisor interfered & replaced the BUCKET saying that ok we give u original BUCKET & he again gave a new bucket which was smaller compared to original BUCKET which PVR gives & on complaining again the supervisor said that we have changed the size of bucket. As the movie had resumed post the interval and the kids were restless, the conversation ended there and then.
So overall there exists a possibility of clear misguiding to consumers. This problem is not a one off problem, but has been brought to notice a number of times. In June 2018, a group of MNS activists stormed PVR at Pune and beat up the staff after receiving complains of high and exorbitant rates being charged for food items. The price of a large bucket of Popcorn at PVR is more that the price of a ticket. The Bombay High Court reprimanded the State Government then for allowing citizens to be overcharged by these multiplex food joints. The Court termed the price of such items as exorbitant.
Coming back to Udaipur, the PVR had four counters and only two were active at peak interval time when the rush is there. This is probably done to ensure that the customers are given their orders in a jiffy and they hurry back for the movie without even bothering to check if the order is as per what they have paid.
The other aspect is that of Water Bottles. A Rs 20 mineral water bottle in the market is charged at Rs 60. Movie goers should take a very simple turn and be allowed to carry their own water bottles inside and refill at the water counter free of charge, rather than pay Rs 60, which may rather be paid to a poor man begging on the roads or probably to a destitute child who can have a full meal with that money.
Food and beverages (F&B) sales contribute about 25% of the revenue at two of India’s leading multiplex chains. PVR and Inox grossed 22% and 27% respectively in terms of FnB being a percentage of total revenue, in 2018. In the first quarter of this financial year, PVR earned Rs 202.7 crore from FnB sales, which is a 23% jump of the corresponding quarter last year. This high margin segment, as per Inox statement released for 2017-18, the revenue of the chain from FnB was Rs 306 crore, whereas the cost was only about Rs 74 crore. An exorbitant margin of 400%!! Hence, after box office collections, food and beverages is the second biggest source of revenue for multiplex chains. Inspite of such margins, the joints cheat their clients.
Government regulations are a must, but before that some sanity in us movie goers can curb our own expenses.Source Courtesy: Live Mint ; Hasan Aftab