Flix Brewhouse is besting the competition with a microbrewery at every location.
Going to the movies is a treat. But popcorn palaces of the world, watch out: this market is evolving, and evolving fast. Flix Brewhouse has found a unique way to provide amazing food and hand-crafted beverages with the world’s greatest movies.
No longer does a movie and a bucket of butter-drenched popcorn satisfy the masses. Consumers want more from their night-out experiences. Luckily, companies like Flix Entertainment, parent of the Flix Brewhouse brand, deliver in a big way.
The company officially opened its first location in Round Rock, Texas, in 2011. Allan Reagan, now Flix CEO, operates the shopping center in which the original theater is located. He was looking for an anchor tenant for the center, and knew a dine-in cinema could bring in big traffic.
A joint venture with a franchised cinema-dining operator didn’t work out, but after designing a “best in breed” concept, Reagan had the gusto to start his own. But not just an ordinary movie theater: he already had an interest in a popular local brewpub and months earlier had bought at auction a bankrupt craft brewery in West Texas, sight unseen. The rest, as they say, is history.
Flix Brewhouse was and still is the only first-run movie theater in the nation that produces its own beer at scale on premises.
“People are looking for two major components in an experience: authenticity and connectedness. Flix delivers both,” shared Greg Johnson, Director of Marketing for Flix. “We can tap into the community—pun intended. When people can enjoy similar things and share a story, it elevates everything. We’ve created something special.”
“We’ve seen a resurgence of entertainment concepts doing well,” Matthew Baizer, COO, added. “The old dinner and a movie has been replaced by dinner at the movies. It’s time efficient, easier on the wallet, and sets us apart from the popcorn palaces.”
Movie Inspired Food
One of the unique things about this sector is its ability to bring together people of all ages from all walks of life. It poses a challenge, too: how can Flix Brewhouse be everything for everyone?
“It won’t surprise you that certain films attract certain crowds. We have a different mix of people in our theater every night,” said Johnson. “But we’ve found that as long as our food is flavor forward, and as long as we offer high-quality experiences, it’s going to resonate. Kids love us, we’re a date night destination, and a girls-night-out favorite. We host many corporate events as well.”
Of course, Flix Brewhouse offers the traditional popcorn, candy, and sodas moviegoers have loved for generations. But it also serves delicious full meals, and everything in between. From wraps and salads to pizzas, burgers, and, yes, a brunch, Flix Brewhouse is a one-stop solution for every movie-going occasion.
Certain films provide great opportunities to temporarily alter the menu. The release of Black Panther allowed the creation of Wakanda Wings, a flavorful jerk chicken introduced to the menu at the end of February. February also brought a showing of Pulp Fiction, giving the chefs the opportunity to create a milkshake/IPA menu item.
Early on, Flix hired the founding executive chef of California Pizza Kitchen.
“It was important for us to bring in a chef who could develop a menu that’s scalable. It’s important to be quick, but quality is important to us. It’s a delicate balance,” Baizer said.
But let’s get to the good stuff. Each location has a seven-barrel brewery that produces 1,500-2,000 kegs a year. Six core beers can be found at every location. A Brewer’s Council brings four or five recipes of their own to the market every few months, creating a specific brew for each region. Like the unique menu items for movies, Flix Brewhouse often pairs a beer with a movie, elevating the entire experience.
A Culture for Star Employees
Flix Entertainment’s business model is solid, but it wouldn’t be successful without dedicated team members from dishwashers to VPs. And now, with a huge expansion plan in the works, it’s more important than ever for the company to find like-minded individuals.
“Our mission every day is to be the gold standard in out-of-home entertainment. We hire people who value the same things we value, where the culture just fits. We find people who care,” shared Baizer.
The organization’s need for staff is growing. Three new locations are currently under construction to open in 2018. Four more are slated for 2019, and the dance card for 2020 is filling fast. The company currently employs 800 people, and by the end of 2018 expects that number to almost double. Of about 700 new team positions in 2018, 30 will be salaried jobs.
A big focus for the company’s progressive culture is allowing its team members—salaried or not—the ability and opportunity to move up.
“Our people are eligible for a raise the first day they start. It’s achievement-based compensation. If you learn certain parts of the business, you unlock an hourly increase. If you work in the kitchen and learn the pantry and pizza station, it’s a raise. There are similar options for management,” Baizer said.
The New Cinema Model
As other movie theaters around the country begin to adapt similar models, how will Flix Brewhouse continue to set itself apart?
“It’s just about being true to who we are. We’re not sitting here looking over our shoulder,” said Johnson. “It’s been seven years, each better than the last.”
Flix Brewhouse, based in Round Rock, Texas, is growing. Flix is not your average theater. It is the creation of restaurateurs bringing new perspectives to the movie business. A best of breed cinema-eatery-microbrewery concept built for the 21st century, Flix exhibits first run blockbuster movies (including 3-D) while serving you fresh, delicious food and craft beer brewed in-house. We are America’s Cinema Brewery—the ONLY first-run movie theatre in the world to incorporate a fully functioning microbrewery. By combining these concepts, Flix delivers to your theater seat three of America’s great loves—craft beer, great food, and the latest movies! Our stadium seating “dining rooms” are outfitted with the latest high-def digital projection and sound technologies, wall-to-wall curved screens and feature our revolutionary Easy Glider moveable table tops. We brew up to 12 of our own beers on-premises and offer up to 30 other regional craft beers on tap for guests to enjoy, as well as a variety of wines and ciders. We will also offer a full bar in certain locations. Flix is open seven days a week to the public and you don’t need a ticket to come in and grab a bite to eat or have a locally brewed beer anytime you want.