Restaurant reviews

Cinema food – overpriced and lacking innovation

Having grown up loving the magic of cinema and the joy of devouring the normal treats that accompany a cinema visit, I have always retained a sense of fondness for trips to the ‘pictures’. That is, until now sadly, as the cost of a ticket soars and the cost of edible accompaniments continues to rocket.

Going to watch a release of the latest blockbuster, The Hobbit, last week, I knew that I would be paying more than my wage per hour for the privilege of a ticket, drink and some stale popcorn.

Whilst I understand that cinemas have previously recognised that there is an issue relating to this, with one chain previously employing Heston Blumenthal on a short term assignment to bring some fun back to the cinema experience, the lack of progress in general in improving the stale and flavourless popcorn on offer is ridiculous.

I understand that margins and profits are very important to those running cinemas but given the huge profit they make on the soft drinks, alcohol, and popcorn, you would at least hope that they could re-invest some of that cash in offering us exciting options, rather than just a slight twist on a hot dog or brand name tortilla chips offered as part of an overpriced ‘nacho’ experience.

In this respect, I’m reminded of the experiences I have had at North American sports stadiums, where there is always a huge range of snacks on offer and always a ‘local’ favourite that creates some excitement without leaving you feel like you have been robbed blind.

My final point of the magic being drained from the cinema experience is a harking back to my childhood, when I used to get a ridiculous amount of pick and mix sweets, devour them, and then feel sick for th next two hours. All of this for under a fiver.

Nowadays when you take a pick and mix box up to the counter the staff actually have to warn you in advance that it is going to leave you out of pocket and that you might want to reconsider your options (this actually happened to us at Vue – even the staff at the snacks counter agreed it is daylight robbery!)

There is one positive note to end on for Leeds folk though. Cottage Road cinema in Headingly is not only a comfy, exceptionally good value cinema, but it also offers some really lovely food options and sells decent alcohol at a ridiculously low price. The Cottage Road model is perhaps the route that the big chains need to go down if we are to get some of the magic of the cinema trip back in our lives.

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