Does Amusement Park Food Have to Be Low-Quality?

Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:06 PM

...or, raising a follow-up question, could they not make food of higher quality without hindering their financial performance?

I expect amusement parks to sell food for a higher price than the same exact food would cost in a stand-alone restaurant, just as I would expect the same at a sports venue or movie theater. However, and I suppose this pertains to those other two examples as well, would raising the quality of the food (knowing that higher quality = higher procurement cost) somehow be detrimental financially? I'm inclined to think that perhaps if they raised the quality of the food a little, people might even be more apt to purchase food in the park. I know there are limitations on how good the food can be given the need to, in most cases, produce large quantities of it very quickly, lowering the opportunity for "finesse," if you will, but are they really making a decent effort, or is there room for improvement while still keeping the food lines moving?

DISCLAIMER: Yes, I know some parks do have good food choices, but this is a more general question.

Last edited by sirloindude, Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:28 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:32 PM

I always found it weird that the food and drink at disney, was much better quality than what you would at a cedarfair park....but cost's much less than a cedarfair park. Even the price of a soda at Disney is only half the price of what it is at cedarfair.

I am sure it can be done, but with people like kinzel at the helm, I don't see the food quality improving anytime soon. It's all about that bottom line.

The main reason I don't buy food at parks like cedarpoint, is because the quality is crap, and the prices for that crap are outragious.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 12:51 PM

crazy horse said:
I always found it weird that the food and drink at disney, was much better quality than what you would at a cedarfair park....but cost's much less than a cedarfair park. Even the price of a soda at Disney is only half the price of what it is at cedarfair.

Because the absolute lowest amount you can spend to visit Disney World ($82 + parking) is double what you pay to visit any given CF park.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 1:06 PM

There are only 2 chains that I feel have poor food quality, Six Flags and Cedar Fair. And at least at Six Flags, you can get name brands if you're willing to pay, that aren't bad. Of the 6 or so Six Flags I've been to, only a couple of them really had bad food. oG's was actually good, didn't eat at St Louie or Kentucky or Great Adventure. Magic Mountains was meh, and America's was okay for what I had.

I've ate from Disney, Universal, Herschend, Kennywood, Holiday World, HERSHEYPARK, and other smaller parks. The food is always decent. Heck, I've had good food from Cedar Fair, but usually only when they're catering.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 1:32 PM

HFEC and Busch actually take pride in their food...and should! :)

For example, Wild Adventures has seen a major uptick in the food choices and quality already (not that that was hard, Kent B. did alot of wonderful things at WA, but the food was NOT one of them)... ;)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 1:47 PM

Knoebels is one of the few parks I can eat my way from one end of the park to the other. From perogies to tri-taters to chicken fries to Old Mill ice cream...it's all oooh-so-good!

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:03 PM

^Knoebels is really the only park I plan on going in hungry. There's just too much good stuff I don't get to eat at home (there are no pierogies in Dixie, LOL). Still waiting for someone to start selling Moxie slushes, though.... ;)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:19 PM

One of the problems with theme park food is scale. It's just hard to do that scale well. And, frankly, Disney's "fast food" service is generally pretty mediocre. There are exceptions (the Angus burger at Pecos Bill's is pretty good) but they are exceptions (most other Disney burgers suck.)

Last edited by Brian Noble, Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:19 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:21 PM

Yeah, but I'd take Disney's Mediocre to Cedar Fair's just plain terrible.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:36 PM

Tek, Cedar Fair has Skyline Chili and Subway at least I know that Kings Island does.

And to answer Sirloins initial post, look at what the good food parks do, like Dollywood, Kennywood, Knoebels, and Hersheypark to a lesser extent. Yes it can be done.

I think that the low quality of food has to do with raising the bottom line. The less money that is spent on serving food, the more profit that can be made. It's probably difficult to fix a quality issue when all you see is dollar signs.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:38 PM

I haven't tried the Skyline chili, though I did LaRosa's Pizza at KI last time I was there. Subways at CF Parks, though, usually aren't very good, IMO. I think I've ate at 2, KI, and maybe KD?

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 2:44 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

crazy horse said:
I always found it weird that the food and drink at disney, was much better quality than what you would at a cedarfair park....but cost's much less than a cedarfair park. Even the price of a soda at Disney is only half the price of what it is at cedarfair.

Because the absolute lowest amount you can spend to visit Disney World ($82 + parking) is double what you pay to visit any given CF park.

Ok...let me re-word that a differant way.

How come the food at a place like knobles or busch, is much better and much cheaper?:)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:07 PM

Ok, here are a few menus from differant parks and chains....you decide what chain is ripping you off when it comes to prices and quality.

First menu is from the subway at cedarpoint.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/57420.aspx?id=807953

The next menu is from six flags.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/57450.aspx?id=808670

This menu is from cedarpoint.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/57391.aspx?id=807160

The next menu is from the chuck wagon at cedarpoint.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/57391.aspx?id=807156

Now here is the prices for ribs at a Disney park.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/56474.aspx?id=789258

And if you want a good laugh, here is a pizza menu from carowinds.

http://coasterbuzz.com/Forums/Thread/56174.aspx?id=781390

Not only the food prices, but look at the drink prices for all the chains as well.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:32 PM

You know...when it comes to the chains like Subway I feel their in-park prices should be no more expensive than their normal in-store prices. If I can walk across the street and get a foot-long Italian BMT for $6.25 including tax I should be able to get one for the same price at Cedar Point.

Last edited by Mamoosh, Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:33 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:39 PM

crazy horse said:
Ok, here are a few menus from differant parks and chains....you decide what chain is ripping you off when it comes to prices and quality.

A couple of points:

1. The price boards alone don't tell the whole story. We're not egtting indicastors on quality, quantity, service, etc. Price is just one part of a much larger value equation.

2. I still say other prices in the park change that value equation as well. It may be broken up as gate, parking, games, food, etc to us, but it all goes to the bottom line on the park's side.

That is to say a $55 gate, $15 parking, $10 pizza and a free drink technically costs the same as a $40 gate, $5 parking, $30 pizza and a $5 drink.

Assuming all things are equal, those two scenarios offer the exact same value in a day at the park.

3. Not all parks are created equal. Depending on their product, they can charge more or less than any other given park for what they offer, their market and other factors. That is to say the overall cost itself is just one variable in the big value equation as well.

---

In other words, the fact that Park A charges X for their food and Park B charges Y for theirs means nothing.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:59 PM
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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:41 PM

Mamoosh said:
You know...when it comes to the chains like Subway I feel their in-park prices should be no more expensive than their normal in-store prices. If I can walk across the street and get a foot-long Italian BMT for $6.25 including tax I should be able to get one for the same price at Cedar Point.

I disagree. The fact that a guest is in the park and most likely would prefer not to leave changes the dynamics of the transaction.

Your options are to leave (and spend the time & effort for the lower price) or to stay (and pay the price in return for the convenience).

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:45 PM

We're not egtting indicastors on

Once more in Engrish, please.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:55 PM

Lord Gonchar said: Your options are to leave (and spend the time & effort for the lower price) or to stay (and pay the price in return for the convenience).

Oh, I understand that. Doesn't change how I feel :)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 3:58 PM

Indeed. :)

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Thursday, August 12, 2010 4:02 PM

Mamoosh said:
If I can walk across the street and get a foot-long Italian BMT for $6.25 including tax I should be able to get one for the same price at Cedar Point.

Ahh, but you can't walk across the street from CP and get the same sub. It's probably,at least, a half hour round-trip to the nearest Subway and back. ;)

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