Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet talks about the future of roller coasters in the company's parks

Posted Monday, August 31, 2015 9:00 PM | Contributed by slithernoggin

Los Angeles Times reporter Brady MacDonald sat down with Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet for a wide-ranging discussion about roller coasters at Cedar Fair's parks.

Read more from The LA Times.

Thursday, September 3, 2015 9:23 AM
CarolinaNick15's avatar

Just because they aren't doing a new gate coaster doesn't mean they can't add a new gate by itself.

+1Loading
Thursday, September 3, 2015 2:25 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

Jeff said:

I still don't understand why they don't use the International Restaurant for, uh, restauranting.

I would love to see the international restaurant reopened. Though, it faces similar challenges at using the Ballroom at Cedar Point. To use it publicly would require bringing it up to current codes, including ADA standards. Not to say it can't or won't be done, just that it has to be done.

Pagoda Gift Shop said:

An elevator was installed earlier this season though, so maybe it still has potential.

I'm not saying one wasn't installed. But, they did already have one. Is the new one a passenger elevator? The one I have used in the past was a freight elevator that came up in the back service area.


854 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
http://www.rollercoasterfreak.com My YouTube

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 3:19 PM
Jeff's avatar

In the grand scheme of things, I can't imagine that a renovation is cost prohibitive.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 3:22 PM

Even if they did re-open the International Restaurant, it probably wouldn't be a great food experience. King's Island and Cedar Point have some of the worst food in the industry.

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 4:27 PM
Jeff's avatar

There was a time when I would agree with you, but I do think they're slowly turning a corner. Having any sit-down locations at all at KI was a great start, and they do some one-off things fairly well. CP's out-of-park restaurants are all decent (except Friday's through no fault of CP), and it's really surprising how good their event catering has become.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 4:54 PM

In general, most of the Cedar Fair parks just have lesser quality, more expensive versions of the same fast food chains that you can get outside of the park. There isn't really anything that makes you want to wait until you get to, or even stay in the park to eat. Busch and Herschend are examples of high quality food service. Not sure why any theme park chain would not want to excel in food quality other than the mindset that they have got you in there, so you will eat it anyway.

+1Loading
Thursday, September 3, 2015 5:05 PM
bjames's avatar

Those Coasters Restaurants have the crappiest food and it's expensive on top of it. I'd rather eat at a Hardy's. And for everyone commenting on my gates post, I was specifically talking about the entrance buildings for CW and KI, obviously not the international village areas, those are awesome.


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:28 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Carowinds has upped their food substantially, so it isn't the chain.


Website | Flickr | Instagram | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:33 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

Ouimet can't change everything, everywhere, all at once. Give him and his team time.

Upgrading food service operations across all the parks will, I think, happen. Ouimet and his team are making lots of right choices.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 6:53 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

OutLaw CoasteR said:

Are they going to do anything with Valleyfair? Renegade 2007 was our last coaster. A moderate sized B&M inverted coaster would be a perfect fit for the parks line up.

Have you ever met a guy named Timber Rider?


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

+6Loading
Thursday, September 3, 2015 7:03 PM
bjames's avatar

slithernoggin said:

Ouimet can't change everything, everywhere, all at once. Give him and his team time.

I must have misunderstood his job title. Is he not the CEO? Is he not capable of demanding his parks do better, and if they don't, heads roll? As CEO he most certainly can change everything everywhere at once. That's the nature of the job.


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 8:42 PM

Jeff said:

There was a time when I would agree with you, but I do think they're slowly turning a corner. Having any sit-down locations at all at KI was a great start, and they do some one-off things fairly well. CP's out-of-park restaurants are all decent (except Friday's through no fault of CP), and it's really surprising how good their event catering has become.

Admittedly, I don't hit the parks quite as often as I used to, but I can't remember the last time I had a really good meal inside Cedar Point proper. Most of the offerings at the sit-down venues I've tried in recent years have been relatively meh. Edible? Certainly. Adequate? Arguably. Worthy of writing home about? No way. We hit the buffet again this summer, and it was back to basic abysmal. Now Kings Island is different--in part because some of the franchises there simply offer tastier food.


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 9:25 PM
bjames's avatar

Ensign Smith said:

Now Kings Island is different--in part because some of the franchises there simply offer tastier food.

Hmm, maybe the former paramount parks have actually improved cedar fair parks by improving the quality of things across the chain? Plus, with Disney's Ouimet in the mix, this chain has a seemingly perfect trifecta. Given enough time, Cedar Fair could excel at every in-park experience (outside of the busch-disney-universal theme parks).


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

+0
Thursday, September 3, 2015 10:19 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

bjames said:

Is he not the CEO? Is he not capable of demanding his parks do better, and if they don't, heads roll?

Yes, yes and also, yes.

As CEO he most certainly can change everything everywhere at once.

As CEO, he can institute changes that will take time to, well, institute. He can't say, hey, parks, serve better food, MMMkay, and have each park serving "better" food in a day or two.

What defines "better" food? Are any given park's food op facilities able to process and produce "better" food? Is "better" food more expensive to produce? Where does the money come from if that's the case? Does the "better" food require different ingredients? Where do these ingredients come from? How do those different ingredients get shipped to the park? Do all eleven parks have the same "better" food? If not, what are the differences? How much will those differences cost the company?

There are a lot of moving parts in action when you're the CEO of a company...


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

+1Loading
Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:17 PM

bjames said:

As CEO he most certainly can change everything everywhere at once.

bjames said:

Plus, with Disney's Ouimet in the mix, this chain has a seemingly perfect trifecta. Given enough time, Cedar Fair could excel at every in-park experience

Make up your mind.


+3Loading
Thursday, September 3, 2015 11:57 PM

I'm not sure crappy food is strictly a Cedar Fair problem. The last time I was at Six Flags over Georgia, which I'll admit was 5 or 6 years ago, we had a devil of a time finding somewhere to eat. It was pizza, chicken fingers, or pizza or chicken fingers. There might've been a Panda,...

Anyway, food at most regional themers, sadly, isn't all that great. And, even sadder, is that's what people have come to expect. Park goers, like fair goers, gravitate toward the junky stuff. It's what they think a day like that should be- bad food that's bad for you. They'll make better choices tomorrow.

As for the good Mr. Ouimet, I've thought for a long time that everyone should cut him a break. He's not some deus ex machina that flies in to fix everything in the end. He has general managers with staffs at many, many, properties that are assigned to specific responsibilities. And the process is bound to be slow. Let's not think for a moment that he sits somewhere and reviews each menu item at every location at every park, or that he can command instant change simply by lopping heads. His job, for the present, is a larger vision- to establish the brand as he sees fit. And his success is evident, so far, in the way the parks look, the balance of family attractions to thrill rides, and making sure the chain is viewed in a positive light. Notice the emphasis in the article isn't food, but the future of roller coasters. No pun intended, but that there is the bread and butter.
This is not to say that menus and food locations aren't a plan of attack, as there have been positive changes that I've noticed. As our Tek points out, Carowind's' is making strides and as I toured the park I was pleased with a couple of unique restaurant venues, and there was a regional food festival. We should expect parks like Cedar Point and Kings Island to improve over time as well, and as Jeff pointed out, there are already noticeable differences. Cedar Point has indeed improved with catering and special events and I've heard Kings Island even employs an executive chef who'd like to make a difference, I'm sure.

So, patience. It's going to be a while before Cedar Fair parks are as well known as the Herschend, Busch, or Disney parks are for their dining rooms. But I bet it happens eventually.

Last edited by RCMAC, Friday, September 4, 2015 12:03 AM
+2Loading
Friday, September 4, 2015 12:05 AM
bjames's avatar

slithernoggin said:

As CEO, he can institute changes that will take time to, well, institute. He can't say, hey, parks, serve better food, MMMkay, and have each park serving "better" food in a day or two.

You're simplifying my argument. Obviously it's not going to take a day as you say. But as the chief executive, he is responsible for in-park dining, and makes the final decision on every park under his purview. That was my point.


"The term is 'amusement park.' An old Earth name for a place where people could go to see and do all sorts of fascinating things." -Spock, Stardate 3025

+0
Friday, September 4, 2015 12:36 AM
slithernoggin's avatar

I refer you to Mac's articulate post.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

+0
Friday, September 4, 2015 11:17 PM

Valleyfair is expected to make a "capital improvement" annoucement on Saturday September 12.

+0
Saturday, September 5, 2015 12:49 AM
LostKause's avatar

I often wonder why amusement park chains can't make good food. It doesn't seem like it would be that difficult to do. The only reason I can come up with is profitability.


+1Loading

You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2021, POP World Media, LLC
Loading...