19 March 2019

There never used to be much choice when it came to point of sale. For customers and operators alike, POS meant a fixed register in a fixed location. Long checkout lines were the inevitable downside at the busiest times.

In cinemas, there has always been an element of double jeopardy here. Cinemas have traditionally operated multiple points of sale for different purposes. With the ticket counter on one side of the lobby and snack concessions on the other, customers who just wanted to sit down and enjoy some popcorn and a drink typically endured two separate lines before getting in to the auditorium. All in all, it was not conducive to creating an outstanding experience that would draw movie-goers back.

Developments in POS technology have been critical in helping cinemas streamline sales in order to improve service. And now, with POS solutions diversifying into multiple channels, cinemas finally have the tools to solve the multi-line conundrum with a blend of POS solutions. Traditional fixed POS points are being supplemented with self-order kiosks and tablet-based mobile POS solutions.

Creating great experiences

Self-service kiosks can help cinemas drive revenues from concessions by imitating the rapid, seamless service pioneered in quick-service restaurants. Kiosks mean customers can buy tickets and food and drink in a single transaction. Kiosks also separate order and payment from service, which helps to drive efficiency. When you pay for your food and drink, it is instantly added to the order queue, enabling staff to focus on preparation rather than handling money or processing a transaction. Not only does this speed service, it enables cinemas to dedicate more resources to food and drink preparation, extending their range of food offerings. Today, upscale cinemas are expanding service to include hot meals and even wine or cocktails.

Great experiences depend on service, and you only get truly great service when there is the human element. Self-order kiosks free up staff to focus on delivering that outstanding experience, but you still need that element of interaction. That is why staffed POS channels will always have a role. Mobile POS will also grow in importance because it allows person-to-person service interactions to be extended into new opportunities. Give a staff member a tablet with a card reader and they can go anywhere in the theater to take a food or drink order.

Seat-side service is making a return in “premium-experience” cinemas, with waitstaff using tablets to take orders, process payments and then bring snacks and drinks to the customer’s seat as they watch the film. The cinema of the future is about creating new opportunities, providing choices to customers that enhance the experience and delivering new services that drive revenues and encourage repeat business.

The AURES team will be at CinemaCon in Las Vegas from 1-4 April, demonstrating our range of POS solutions for cinemas.