Name: Kavitha Reddy
Title: Director of Operations
Company: Athens Movie Palace- We are a locally owned independent theater. It’s a family business in a small town where we are the only theater. My duties are literally everything from hiring and human resource activities to all of the operational aspects and projection duties. I do it all. The joke is that when someone asks “Who do I need to talk to about….” The answer is “That’s me, too.”
Number of years in the concessions industry: I officially started on the theater payroll in January 2015, but I started unofficially in October of 2013.
NAC member since? 2014
Favorite NAC memory: Speaking with Barbara (Aslan) for the first time and feeling so welcomed and excited about NAC.
Favorite concession item & how often do you eat it? Without question. Popcorn. I eat it all day, every day. In fact, I’m eating it right now.
What keeps you in the industry? The challenge and variety of things I get to deal with. It’s something new every day. I love the new opportunities and the freedom to try so many things.
Funniest thing that has happened in your concession career: We had some teenage boys come in. When they were leaving the theater, one of them was trying to be flirty and didn’t pay attention to where he was going. He walked straight into the closed lobby exit door in front of all of his friends and a large number of our staff. We tried to hold it together but everyone was laughing. He was a good sport about it and we gave him free popcorn.
Biggest change in the industry: I think this focus on the nutritional value of the things we serve is a huge change. From a legal standpoint, it’s fascinating to see how different parts of the country react so differently to menu labeling.
Favorite part of my job: My staff. I put them through an extensive hiring process that included a 3 hour interview. We have a really good group and it’s so fun to be around them. We make goofy videos for our social media sites (facebook.com/AthensMoviePalace and Instagram.com/AthensMoviePalace) and dress up for special events.
Most challenging thing about my job: Accepting that you cannot make everyone happy. When you put so much into a business, it’s hard not to take it personally when people get upset about things without understanding the reason for them. My approach to customer service is very different than what people are used to with the corporate theaters they have always dealt with. It’s incredibly frustrating to want to fix the problem the customer had when all they want is a free item.
Strangest thing on your desk or in your office: I don’t think it’s strange, but everyone else comments on the giant lime green bean bag I have wedged in the corner of my tiny office. It’s bigger than my desk, but I love it.
If I wasn’t in concessions, I’d be a: divorce attorney (No, really. I’m a licensed attorney.)
Skill I’m most proud of: Being able to stay calm in high stress and tense situations.
Hobbies: watching sports, writing, baking.
Best thing about being an NAC member: Getting to be involved with a supportive community that has similar interests. Who doesn’t love talking about candy?!
How do you motivate yourself on a tough day? Honestly, I don’t. I focus on the things that have to be done that day and get through that, but then I try to get away and come back at another time. Attempting to do too much while stressed out never works out well for anyone.
How do you relax? Vacation. Hot shower or a nap.
Volunteer Activities: I am a mentor for a pretty cool program the State of Tennessee has called Tennessee Promise. It is a scholarship and mentor program that helps increase the number of students that get through college. We also try to do community events with the theater like adopathons for the McMinn County Humane Society.
What do you do for recreation? I do yoga several times a week and I hike when I can. My best friend and I love hiking to waterfalls.
The book I’m reading (or last book you read): Mary Kubica’s The Good Girl
Last good movie I saw: Gone Girl…I don’t have time to watch movies. It’s been a while since I saw something I loved.
If I could have one person to dinner, it would be: Drake
I wish I knew how to…make a grilled cheese sandwich. I can make marshmallows from scratch, but for some reason I cannot make a grilled cheese sandwich to save my life.
I can’t live without: lipgloss
The person in history I’d most like to meet: Clarence Darrow- as an attorney, I’d love to hear his stories especially about the Scopes Monkey Trial that happened not too far from my hometown!
My personal motto is… “Nothing is easy” That’s our motto at the theater as we’ve been trying to figure out things and something that seems deceptively simple turns into a difficult situation. It’s a good reminder that none of this process has been easy but we have still survived.
Favorite holiday & why: New Year’s. I love fireworks, champagne, and fresh starts.
I never miss… Work.
Favorite U.S. city: Chicago.
Pet Peeve: When people use a turning lane to drive in.
My dream vacation would be: a relaxing trip to California wine country…or Maine… or London or Seattle… I love to travel.
If I could change one thing about myself, it would be… the fact that I lose EVERYTHING of mine. I would love to go a day without misplacing my keys or my phone or my water bottle….
Anything else you want to tell us, or want people to know….. I’m a Sagittarius. I love clean sheets. I wish Veronica Mars was a real person so we could be friends. On a professional note: Always buy concessions!!! Stop sneaking in food!