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AMC Theatres

Driving Popcorn Sales and Higher Profits

Americans love going to the movies. So much so that it’s the top leisure activity for adults in the U.S. But much of the revenue generated from ticket sales goes to the film studios, so for theaters to turn a profit, it’s all about food and beverage sales—the more popcorn a theater sells, the more money it makes. 

AMC determined that two job families, concession stand workers and theater general managers, had the most impact on concession sales. So its biggest challenge was twofold.  First, AMC needed to hire concession stand workers with exceptional customer service (friendly, fast and with an acute attention to detail) to increase profits. And second, the company needed to retain these key employees by developing general managers who excelled at engaging their teams. 

AMC turned to us to uncover the attributes and characteristics of a good concession stand employee. We used our broad range of assessment tools to determine the capacity, capability and cultural fit of AMC’s best employees—uncovering a blueprint for top performers. AMC used this blueprint to predict performance in candidates and make better hiring decisions.

Next, through an employee engagement survey, AMC was able to measure engagement throughout its organization and pinpoint a key job family—theater general managers. The survey results helped isolate AMC’s general managers who excelled at engaging their employees. Through in-depth talent profiles and insight interviews, we determined that these managers were successful because they were delegators who empowered their management team and spent more time on recruiting, coaching and training their teams. 

Using engagement survey data, AMC could then segment its leaders throughout the organization. We compared the top-performing managers against the lowest performers and found the best were much more likely to drive high levels of guest service and increase concession sales. In fact, the top-performing managers ran theaters that generated $300,000 more annually in concession sales. Knowing this powerful statistic, AMC began effectively enabling and replicating its best leaders.

So, what was the big payoff for AMC? Over five years, theaters run by managers who most closely aligned with this “fit” strategy saw employee engagement scores increase 6.2 percent, turnover rates dropped 43 percent and profit per customer increased by 1.2 percent, which translated into millions of increased net income. In this time period, overall theater profits rose to the highest in the industry—increasing performance of the business and return on investment. 

We understand that every company’s story is different because every business is different. But every story begins with uncovering unique business challenges so we can, in turn, deliver unique business outcomes—outcomes that matter to your organization. The truth is, no other company can bring survey, assessment and leadership development solutions together in this way and successfully measure progress—giving you a higher return on investment.

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AMC Entertainment delivers distinctive and affordable movie-going experiences in more than 340 theaters with about 5,000 screens across the United States and Canada. In any given week, the company’s theaters constitute almost half of the top 50 highest-grossing theaters in the U.S., including the top three. Website: