Retaining its top performers and its most successful locations, SMG has emerged stronger, more efficient, and more committed to lead in-theater dining in a post-pandemic era
Like many fellow exhibitors, Studio Movie Grill (“SMG”) closed all locations in March 2020 at the peak of Covid-19, and in support of all health and safety precautions taken by state and federal authorities. In the weeks following, SMG re-opened its kitchens for takeout and delivery, and introduced several crisis innovation programs to expand its technology stack, optimize its menu, and service its theaters. The in-theater dining concept was conceived 25 years ago by SMG, and the brand remains committed to leading the segment in a post-pandemic theatrical era. Having learned from pre-pandemic mistakes, SMG has reinvented itself with a simplified approach to sales, service, and the stakeholder model. This strategy earned SMG its highest Net Promoter Score in company history last month, resulting in higher per-caps and average checks, and budget performance that has exceeded guidance since February.
“We join fellow exhibitors in celebrating our ability to re-emerge from this past year and grateful to have retained our most successful locations. It’s truly a testament to our teams’ resolve and their love of movie-going to bounce back like they have. We’re staying focused on our core business and modernizing our technology to make the experience more convenient for our guests,” said Ted Croft, SMG’s new CEO. “It’s a key differentiator for us that we were able to remain open and keep our teams busy. We launched SMG’s Takeout and Delivery Program, 540 Pizzas and Calzones, and one of the first private theater rental programs, alongside some critical online and back-of-house technology initiatives.”
Today, SMG is extremely excited to announce the re-opening of its newest location, SMG Chisholm Trail in Fort Worth, TX, which was completed last July as the anchor to The Shops at Chisholm Trail Ranch. Designed as a true entertainment destination, the 40,000 square foot theater houses twelve-screens and will reopen its doors this fall. SMG is also in final negotiations to reopen another of its previous locations in North Carolina, and the brand resumed construction last week at SMG Northpoint in Alpharetta, GA. This newest Prototype 2 location is scheduled to open in November-December 2021.
“To support the demand, SMG recently held nationwide job fairs and quickly rebuilt its local theater teams under Area Directors’ leadership, all of whom remained part of SMG throughout the pandemic,” said Jenna Patrick, VP Human Resources. “SMG’s experienced executive team remains almost entirely intact with a combined 150+ years of theatrical and hospitality experience. The company most recently hired systems and technology veteran, Chris Roberson, to head up its IT Department. Chris was most recently VP, IT for Corner Bakery Café.” Longtime CFO, Ted Croft, returns as SMG’s new CEO while other internal promotions include Brian Hood, Chief Operations Officer and Ted Low, VP Brand & Marketing. Four highly valued female leaders also took rank. Denise Lytle, previously VP, Finance & Accounting/Controller, became SMG’s CFO, Jenna Patrick, VP Human Resources, Sheri Lawrence, VP Learning & Development, and Elizabeth Keeler, Senior Director, Purchasing.
“We’re inviting guests back to the movies, and they are responding. We’re seeing our attendance growing weekly and our market share is stronger than pre-pandemic in our various markets. Guests are appreciating the enhanced experience movie theaters provide over streaming at home, and we are certainly all looking forward to the release of Free Guy, Suicide Squad, and No Time to Die, not to mention “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Spider Man 3” to round out the year,” said Tearlach Hutcheson, VP Film.
About Studio Movie Grill
Conceived in 1993, Studio Movie Grill (“SMG”) modernized the traditional movie-going experience by combining first-run movies with full-service, in-theater dining and now has 212 screens in 7 states. SMG was named to Inc. Magazine’s List of “Fastest Growing Private Companies” three years in a row, placed 13th in Box Office Magazine’s Giants of the Industry and, in 2020, and, in prior years, 50 films put SMG in the top 10 at the Box Office with key titles grossing as high as #5 in box office receipts. Honoring its commitment to Opening Hearts and Minds, One Story at a Time, SMG’s legacy programs include its longtime Special Needs Screenings, which strive to help families. In June 2018, SMG created a unique loyalty program, SMG AccessTM which, as loyal guests earn rewards, has allowed them to join SMG in offering movies and meals to underserved community members. To date, this program has earned over 44,000 movies and meals. For additional information, visit studiomoviegrill.com.