Under pressure from viewers as well as movie-industry executives, the country’s theater chains are trying to win back moviegoers—with food. Audiences at a growing number of theaters can order such dishes as chinois chicken salad rolls or limoncello-tossed shrimp. . . . A few years ago, a handful of such theaters existed in the country. Now, the National Association of Theatre Owners estimates that the U.S. plays home to roughly 300 to 400 cinemas with restaurant service out of roughly 5,750 total theaters. Industry analysts predict that number could double over the next few years.
The article notes that the trend has “previously been the realm chiefly of small independent theaters,” but cites some of the major chains, like AMC and Regal, converting a few of their current facilities — allying this move with 3D movies as a way the theaters are fighting against the streaming-video-at-home trend.
Well, Dallas’ Studio Movie Grill was pretty much a pioneer in this area — way back in 1999. It currently has seven theaters in Dallas, Arlington, Plano, Houston and Atlanta. And it’s never mentioned here. I’m not bringing this up to tout the local guys (Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the whole trying-to-hear-the-dialogue-while-my-neighbor-munches-tortilla-chips experience). But hey, they’ve had nearly 12 years working on this business plan. They might have some wisdom to impart.