Cedar Fair Loses All Integrity

Wednesday, August 3, 2011 7:37 PM
rollergator's avatar

Jeff said:
I don't think people mind spending that money on food if they feel like they get something for it. I'm prepared to spend more on food in amusement/theme parks, but I also expect to get what I pay for. I feel that I get that at Holiday World, Disney and Universal. I don't feel that way about any of the Cedar Fair parks. I guess my point is that pricing sensitivity is important, but the quality is just as important.

Exactly...on all points. And I'll add HFEC and Busch to your list. It's really SF and CF that have historically been a grade below in terms of the price-quality-value proposition. And SF has been improving quality at least...

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:12 PM
birdhombre's avatar

RideMan said:
...but charging an extra $0.50 for a paper thin slice of under ripe tomato, a tiny piece of a lettuce leaf, two dill pickle chips, and a couple of pieces of onion is not reasonable at all. In fact, it is CHEAP.

See, this kind of crap right here. Now, they could just as easily charge $5.50 for that burger and build the (alleged) cost of toppings into the price. Or if some simple, basic research indicates only 50% of people ask for toppings, split the difference and make it $5.25.

Reminds me of my aunt's wedding reception where the bar sold warm cans of pop and charged extra for ice. And you also had to buy a disposable cup to make use of said ice. I think they may have thrown in a straw for free though.

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:21 PM
kpjb's avatar

They charged for pop at a wedding?


Hi

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:49 PM

RideMan said:

Johnson is right. I like to put it this way: The park's job is to make me WANT TO give them my money.

And this is something parks like Holiday World, Dollywood, and Silver Dollar City excel at, not to mention the Disney Parks. I have noticed how much inclined I am to buy "extras" like dessert when I'm at one of these parks, while I don't even really consider doing so at a Cedar Fair.

The Cedar Fair parks are just a little too transparent with their want for the customer's money without showing their customers all that much respect. You can visit a Herschend park or Holiday World and genuinely feel like a guest, someone the park seems happy to host, and not just a customer. It has been a while since a Cedar Fair park has given me that same feeling.


"Thank the Phoneticians!"

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 8:49 PM
Jeff's avatar

jive2 said:
I used to feel the same way about CF food quality but it seems like the quality has been on the upswing the last couple of years.

I do however still believe that the pricing is a bit high for what you get.

Agreed on both counts. What's most irritating is that the service hasn't improved at all in the last two years. When I was there for Coasting For Kids, I watched service across the midway at the fry stand, and found it remarkable how slow they were. When the line thinned out, I went over and bought some fries, and they were still slow.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:34 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Like Bryan pointed out in the CFK thread, I'd LOVE to see them offer something similar to the boxed lunch they provide for CFK. I'd willingly pay inflated prices for that. No, I don't mean Subway, either.

Give me a complete meal with a cold cut sandwich, side or 2 (chips, fruit cut, slaw, potato salad, something) and a cookie or an apple or you know, whatever. Just a nice, balanced, light meal. I'd be a buyer on that in a heartbeat.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 9:48 PM
birdhombre's avatar

kpjb said:
They charged for pop at a wedding?

Yeah, the reception was at a VFW hall or some such, and I don't know that there was a bar per se (IIRC my grandparents disallowed alcohol). I'm sketchy on that part since I was only 2 months old at the time, but I've heard the pop story many times. :)

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:07 PM
LostKause's avatar

I always thought that integrity was an invisable cornerstone, because it was on the inside of the square logo. The other four cornerstones encircled and created the integrity. A square only has four sides.

It's such a cute illustration, that really doesn't mean jack if you can't treat your employees or customers right. lol


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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:22 PM

Integrity went out the window a long time ago. Hopefully some of it is restored when a certain GM goes out the door with his dad.


Original BlueStreak64

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011 11:59 PM

RideMan said:
The park's job is to make me WANT TO give them my money. The techniques for doing that are well documented, they don't cost a lot to implement, and that doesn't matter anyway because they pay for themselves many times over. It is a simple matter of getting the price and the value to line up correctly, then not doing anything in execution to mess up that balance.

So is it the case that CF's management doesn't understand the very basic principle you cite (one that is covered very early in the Econ 101 semester). Or that they do understand it, but for some reason just chose to ignore it. Or could it be that they do understand it and simply strike that balance at a different place that you would prefer it be struck with a view that the balance currently being struck maximizes profits, although not necessarily the amount that you want to spend at CF parks? Just asking.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:47 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think you can answer your question by Kinzel's "people have to eat" comment a couple of years ago.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 12:53 AM

LostKause said:
I always thought that integrity was an invisable cornerstone, because it was on the inside of the square logo. The other four cornerstones encircled and created the integrity. A square only has four sides.

So integrity is the Fifth Element?


My author website: mgrantroberts.com

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 1:28 AM
Jeff's avatar

There's a joke in there somewhere about a multi-pass and a Q-bot.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 1:38 AM

Jeff said:
I think you can answer your question by Kinzel's "people have to eat" comment a couple of years ago.

All that does is acknowledge that they have a captive audience. But as many different venues with captive audiences strike different balances with respect to the price/quality issue, the statement doesn't answer the question.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 7:25 AM

Kinzel's comment doesn't indicate acknowledgment of a captive audience, it indicates their outright reliance on that captivity. Important distinction, I think.


Brandon | Facebook

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 7:28 AM

I think it also demonstrates that he thinks he could honestly charge almost literally whatever he wants, because hey, "people have to eat." You might say that's ridiculous, but if you look at the whole, I think its obvious that Kinzel "isn't a numbers guy," but it is pretty common knowledge that he is the final say, on everything.


Original BlueStreak64

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 9:02 AM

It is so easy to rationalize absurdly high prices with "it's a captive audience". Funny thing is, some places manage to actually not take the "stick it to the customer" route. A case example would be what i witnessed at Kennywood a few years back. I noticed something which struck me as odd, people were purchasing and eating food and snacks from one stand, while waiting in line for, another snack item from another stand. When you get people to not only accept the food service, but get them practically running for it, that's a win.

Look at Disney, in the 1970's-1980's their food service was, in my opinion, something you tolerated becuase "what choice have you", but now Disney has managed to make food service almost as big of an attraction as the parks themselves, with people calling the parks months in advance to get reservations.

In another example - it's no shock that Major Leage Baseball has some of the highest mark ups, take the $5.50 20oz bottled soft drink for example. But at the same ballpark - they have a smokehouse where you can get a gigantic pull pork sandwhich on a quality bun, with a wide variety of sauces for $8. Sure, it's still an expensive sandwhich, but when they handed it too me, I thought the value to cost was there.

Re: the wedding reception - I think an object lesson is there in the fact that many, many years later one of the most memorable parts of the night was the diassatisfaction with the soft drinks. People have long memories when it comes to feeling of being taken advantage of.


David Bowers
Mayor, Coasterville
My Blog -> http://coasterville.blogspot.com

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 9:12 AM

djDaemon said:
Kinzel's comment doesn't indicate acknowledgment of a captive audience, it indicates their outright reliance on that captivity. Important distinction, I think.

But without more information about what impacts changes in the price/quality difference would have on profits, it may well be a distinction without a difference. There are a lot of businesses that rely heavily on captivity. And saying its an "outright reliance" on captivity speaks more towards your view of where they they struck the balance, I think.

I think it also demonstrates that he thinks he could honestly charge almost literally whatever he wants, because hey, "people have to eat." You might say that's ridiculous, but if you look at the whole, I think its obvious that Kinzel "isn't a numbers guy," but it is pretty common knowledge that he is the final say, on everything.

You don't need to be a numbers guy to understand the incredibly basic Econ 101 concept at issue here. There is nothing in the statement or anythng else that I have seen which clearly indicates that the current pricing/quality levels are a result of his failure to understand or care about the concept rather than just the level being set where some folks don't like it. And that is no different that pretty much any pricing/service decision that any given business makes. The theme is common through the various threads here complaining about pricing/service levels.

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Thursday, August 4, 2011 1:14 PM

...And the problem is that the nature of the business is such that a relatively small percentage of the people who visit in any given season are actually repeat customers in that season. But while the percentage of people who make more than one trip to the park in any given season is small, the nature of the seasonal amusement park is that the percentage of people who are repeat customers over the course of several seasons is quite high. I hope you understand that: a majority of the people who visit a park like Cedar Point visit once or twice per season, but they come year after year.

The upshot of this is that if you rely so heavily on them simply being captive that you cheat them outrageously on their in-park purchases, the immediate impact will be an increase in per-cap spending. The problem is that if you make them so mad that they choose not to come back, that impact is delayed for a season or two. And that ends up costing you in other ways...

Why is it that if Cedar Point does not install a major new attraction, attendance tends to suffer? Why is it that if they install a major new attraction but it has well publicized technical problems, attendance also suffers? With that in mind, why is it that there are parks like Kennywood out there that can go for years without putting in a major new attraction without suffering significant declines in attendance?

I've been saying for years that the "canary in the coal mine" has been the recurring pattern of increasing per-caps and declining attendance. Through some aggressive promotion and a couple of spectacular new attractions, Cedar Fair has managed to reverse that trend for 2010 and 2011, but if people come this year and feel like they are being ripped off more than ever, it will take even more aggressive promotion to get them to return in 2012.

Visiting amusement parks is a purely optional activity. People have to eat, but they don't have to eat at the park; in fact they don't have to go to the park at all...and once there, they don't have to stay all day. The park's mission is to get their customers to *want* to return, and to *want* to spend money. Do that, and both the attendance AND the per-caps will take care of themselves.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.


    /X\        _      *** Respect rides. They do not respect you. ***
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/XXXXX\ /XXX\ /XXXX\_ /X\ /XXXXX\ /X\ /X\ /XXXXX
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Thursday, August 4, 2011 2:36 PM

Per Cap Up, Attendance Down. Walt and Jeff could have named their site that instead of PointBuzz because it was such a prevalent phrase.

I couldn't agree with you more Dave and have been making that same argument for years. It takes quite a while to make a customer a true and steadfast one. It takes very little to make that same customer walk.

There is a resort that my wife and I have gone to over in Ft Myers Beach every year...sometimes multiple times in a year...for the past decade. They haven't put in any new amenities in that span of time, they haven't really changed the menu at the small restaurant, and I'm pretty sure the furniture hasn't changed. But, we absolutely love going there. Each time we book it we sort of look at each other because it is a little more than we want to pay. But, each time we leave we are already thinking about when we want to go back. In fact, I might go see if there are any internet specials right now.

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