Par drinks on the lot

Move intended to make Melrose lot more employee friendly

Take a tour of Paramount and you’ll see the usual haunts –soundstages, the famous New York back lot, the display of Oscars in a case just outside the commissary, a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

Back up. A Coffee Bean?

Officially called Stage 22, the drinkery is all part of new management’s effort to make the Melrose lot more employee friendly. Stage 22, which also doubles as the studio’s official store, opened on Nov. 8 and is doing as much business as any high-volume Coffee Bean, according to the L.A.-based coffee and tea company.

Par reports there are some 425 transactions a day. That’s quite a number, considering that there are 2,000 employees on the lot, plus up to 1,000 guests and visitors on any given day.

Such captive audiences on studio backlots have been luring national chains for the past several years. Warner Bros. now sports a Starbucks, a Ben & Jerry’s, a Jamba Juice and Poquitos Mas, all centralized within an area called Central Perk. Sony’s food services are provided by Wolfgang Puck’s catering company, while there is a Peet’s Coffee just off the lot at Sony Pictures Plaza.

There is a Starbucks kiosk in Universal’s commissary, while Fox’s commissary serves Starbucks as well.

As one Warners exec puts it, “We’re here 12 hours a day, if not longer. You’d rather get the thing that you’re used to. If you want Starbucks, you want Starbucks, and not just coffee.”

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf VP of marketing Tami Clark says being at Par is a great co-branding opportunity. “We are an L.A. brand, and we were already integrated into Hollywood through product placement,” she says.

Par prexy of studio operations Charles Armstrong says the top-selling drink has been an ice blended mocha. The No. 1 hot drink is a hazelnut latte — which, by the way, is exclusive to the Par location.

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