Joco 913

AMC Town Center theaters get a seven-figure face-lift

Movie theaters are facing increased competition for consumers’ entertainment dollars — not only from other forms of entertainment, but also where consumers choose to watch movies.

But a seven-figure renovation of the 18-year-old AMC Town Center 20 in Leawood is designed to get consumers off the couch and into the theaters by “elevating the experience.”

The complex now has an AMC Prime theater, which is AMC’s large screen format featuring rumble seats so moviegoers feel every blast on the screen. It also still has an IMAX theater across the hall, one of the few IMAX screens in the metro.

There’s a new concession area called The Marketplace with a grab-and-go candy section, and a counter where customers can order pizza, loaded hot dogs and loaded nachos, chicken tenders, seasoned waffle fries, cream cheese jalapeno poppers, and caramel popcorn, as well as smoothies, shaken lemonades, lattes, frozen yogurt, shakes and malts, and more.

Customers pay at a central checkout with several stations to speed up the process and they can fill up their drink cups at one of several Coca-Cola Freestyle machines.

MacGuffins (a movie term for a plot device) is the theater’s new bar serving beer, wine and cocktails.

The theaters also have new dual-power plush recliners, except for the IMAX which has plush rockers. The new seats take theater occupancy down by 40 to 50 percent per theater, but AMC has seen an 80 percent increase in ticket sales, on average, said Ryan Noonan, spokesman for AMC.

“More guests are coming more often,” he said.

AMC Town Center 20, at 11701 Nall Ave., has continued to operate through the renovations.

It is near AMC’s new Leawood headquarters in Park Place at 11500 Ash St. AMC has 345 locations — for a total of 4,976 screens — across the country. It has put in recliners in about 36 theaters.

Legends Outlets gets two “first to market” tenants

sweetFrog, a premium frozen yogurt franchise, plans a mid-May opening in the Legends Outlets Kansas City.

Customers will get to make their own soft-serve creation, choosing from 21 different flavors each day — some favorites that will always be on the menu, other rotating out — and more than 60 toppings. It also will offer nonfat, low-fat, sugar free and sorbet options and most choices also are gluten-free.

The Daily Meal, a website covering food and drink topics, recently named sweetFrog “America’s Best Frozen Yogurt.” Among the 50 flavors are angel food cake, apple pie, coffee house blend, cake batter, eggnog, french toast, gingerbread, maple bacon doughnut, and salted caramel corn. Toppings include cookie dough, cheesecake bites, walnuts, and lime sauce.

sweetFrog, of Richmond, Va., was founded in 2009 and has more than 325 locations in the U.S. and internationally. According to the company, the “frog” in the name stands for “fully rely on God.” It contributes to the local communities through fundraisers for nonprofits, schools and churches.

Area franchisee Michael Kim is the brother-in-law of SweetFrog’s founder Derek Cha. His new 1,588-square-foot Legends store will be at 1829 Village West Parkway, Suite T131. MeMa’s Old-Fashioned Bakery formerly occupied the space.

In addition, the first Pizza Studio in the area is scheduled to open early this summer in the Legends Outlets. It is taking a space at 1843 Village West Parkway, Q103. An AT store formerly occupied the space.

At Pizza Studio, customers can select customized ingredients at the counter. They get their order served quickly thanks to a 2-minute firing time for the pizzas.

The menu includes custom pizzas and specialty pizzas like the Margherita (tomato blend sauce, basil, Roma tomatoes, freshly grated mozzarella and garlic oil) and the White (rosemary herb crust, extra virgin olive oil, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, Kalamata olives, freshly grated mozzarella and arugula).