The F&B segment has long been a money churner for India's mediaplex industry. After all, even the humble popcorn tub costs much more than the movie ticket itself in many a multiplex in the metros - and any cinema goer will attest to this fact.
But the Telangana government has refused to put up with this state of affairs any longer. According to a News18 report, the state government has warned multiplexes and cinema halls of strict consequences if they are found selling packaged goods to customers at a price point above the MRP, or the maximum retail price.
"Selling more than MRP is illegal. Unpacked items like popcorn, ice creams should not [be] sold in small, medium, big or jumbo forms. Each and every item weight, measure should clearly be visible and also on the boards," the news portal quoted the Controller of Legal Metrology Department Akun Sabharwal as saying.
Sabharwal has reportedly already met with multiplexes and cinema theatre owners as well as members from the canteen association and ordered them to sell eatables and water as per MRP in their premises, the same price at which they are retailed outside.
Moreover, the department has made it compulsory to print the price on the goods from September 1. "Price and weight stickers are allowed till 24th of this month," Sabharwal added. According to him, any theatres or multiplexes found violating these new rules will be booked and slapped with a heavy penalty.
If you find any movie halls violating these rules, you can report them by calling on 180042500333 (toll-free) or sending a WhatsApp text to 7330774444.
The report added that this development follows raids by the department, following up on several complaints that it had received from the public about the mark-ups on F&B products in movie halls.
Telangana, incidentally, is the second state to crackdown on such practices in as many weeks. According to the news portal, the Maharashtra government announced last Friday that multiplexes will no longer be able to stop the public from carrying their own food inside the halls. Maharashtra Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ravindra Chavan had made this announcement in Nagpur, where the State legislative assembly is currently in session. "The Home department will decide within six weeks, a policy on taking action against such multiplexes and malls," he added in the floor of the House.
That's great news for cinema buffs, not so much for movie hall owners. Because multiplexes reportedly earn a whopping 75 per cent gross margin on F&B sales.