At the opera last night we pre-ordered a glass of wine for the first intermission. We paid before the opera and the glass was at the prearranged place after Act 1. We’ve done this many times in Germany and increasingly in the U.S. Why do the opera houses do this?
Competitive pressure is absent—they have a monopoly on drink/food at intermission. Despite this absence, providing this opportunity raises the house’s profits. Without the usual long wait at intermission, more customers will buy food/drink—so revenue increases. This policy puts less pressure on workers—they don’t have to rush during intermission to serve people; in the long run this reduces the wage the opera house has to pay for equal-skilled labor—costs are reduced. Everybody wins—and I’m surprised this policy isn’t more widespread.