Purchasing Control & Accounts Payable Automation Software for Movie Theaters & Cinemas

Cobb Theaters (now part of CMX Cinemas) is a chain of movie theaters established in 1921 throughout the southern part of the United States. The business is family-run. The CEO worked in his father’s theaters at a young age, managing accounting, finance, and real estate development. He now oversees the business with plans for expansion.

The company’s mission of enhancing the entertainment experience for guests would be difficult to achieve without controlling expenditures across its 19 locations.

The company has been using PLANERGY for over 13 years, first as Cobb Theaters and now as CMX Cinemas. The team initially chose PLANERGY because they couldn’t get purchasing and inventory under control across its 19 locations and 350-person staff.

Key Challenges

Key Benefits

The Story


Multistate movie theater chain

Key client

VP of Concessions and Purchasing; Head of IT


Hospitality & Leisure

Company Size

350 employees


CMX Cinemas, a leading movie theater chain, needed more control over company spending. When we began working with them 13 years ago, the company didn’t have a system in place to manage purchasing or Accounts Payable.

CMX Cinemas Building Entrance With Logo

The company’s process was spread out across eight states and a 350-person staff. Each individual movie theater was allocated a budget and was expected to stay within it. Every time the theaters purchased large items, the staff was required to call the main office for approval. You can imagine how frustrating that was – approvals were often delayed because calls were not answered or returned quickly. Not surprisingly, orders were slow to arrive and inaccurate. With no clear controls over purchasing, local movie theaters frequently went over budget.

The Vice President of Concessions and Purchasing and Head of IT knew that purchasing could be far more efficient. They needed a system that could accommodate their 350-person staff across 19 locations. Turnover is also a factor in the hospitality industry, so training needed to be quick, painless, and able to be accessed on an ongoing basis. The team chose PLANERGY because it combined spend management and Accounts Payable into one system. According to them, training and support was second-to-none.

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Implementation began with a brief discovery and planning phase to streamline the purchasing process. The team discussed corporate information, financial data, vendors, theater supplies, roles, users, delivery locations, and budgets. Thereafter, two levels of approval were created: 1) Self approval for items up to a small spend limit; and 2) Large approvals that required main office approval. Once these approval levels were confirmed, the PLANERGY team managed the set up of the workflows in one day.

Children Watching Screen in Movie Theater While Eating Popcorn

Training was held remotely to accommodate the widely-distributed team. It consisted of a 30-60 minute session with administrators and senior managers. Within a short time, 66 users across all theaters were using the system regularly.

The company can now focus on expansion instead of getting spending under control. The purchasing process is fully automated and centralized within PLANERGY. The Vice President of Concessions and Purchasing and Head of IT have a real-time view of how spending happens across the entire organization, and can see how individual movie theaters perform. Inventory management is easier than ever as each theater has visibility into stock levels. With PLANERGY’s preferred vendor function, theater staff have no doubt that they are ordering items at the best price. By setting customized user permissions and limits, food, beverage, and supply orders are processed quickly and easily because each theater manages them individually; the main office is no longer a bottleneck. Every order is tracked for delivery and overspending has been eliminated. The stores appreciate the freedom they now have to order theater supplies because of PLANERGY.

Accounts Payable is also handled within PLANERGY. Automated three-way matching helps the team avoid paying inaccurate invoices by ensuring that they match orders and receipts. Three documents – purchase orders, order receipts, and vendor invoices – are aligned automatically, highlighting any discrepancies and saving the team money. Improving overall efficiency has enabled this movie theater chain to focus on providing guests with the ultimate moviegoing experience.

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