Does Amusement Park Food Have to Be Low-Quality?

Sunday, August 15, 2010 3:15 PM

Maybe...maybe not.

But your pissing people off as well with the current food issues. If you lower the prices, and raise the quality, more people are going to leave happy. You can still make a big profit on food, and have lower prices.

My dad used to run a snack bar at a local park, and he was telling me that he could put together a jumbo sized pepsi for about 30 cents. That was fot the cup, straw, ice, and syrup. Knowing that, it's a slap in the face to see a smaller sized drink at cedarpoint for almost $5. Mc donalds, wendys, and several other fast food joints have any size sodas for $1.00. Again, I am sure everyone understands that you are going to pay a little more at an amusement park, but when the markup is 400% more than what they can get it for anywhere else is the problem. I would have no problem paying $2-$3 for a fountan drink in a park. That's 2-3 times as much as I can get it for down the street.And guess what...they are still making a killing. I have also heard from several people, that cedarpoint gets all of the syrup FREE from pepsi. Even with that, the prices are crazy high.

Dad may decide that cedarpoint is not such a great value anymore, and take the family elswhere. How good would that be for the park?

Sunday, August 15, 2010 3:29 PM

You're arguing the wrong thing. We all know what the margin is, and that it costs less is irrelevant. The parks will never sell a soda for a buck, and I don't expect that they should. The cost of the product to the seller doesn't matter, it's the value of perception to the consumer that needs work.

Sunday, August 15, 2010 5:14 PM

crazy horse said:
You can still make a big profit on food, and have lower prices.

You keep saying the same thing.

I keep replying with the same thing.

Jeff said:
The cost of the product to the seller doesn't matter, it's the value of perception to the consumer that needs work.

Yeah, pretty much.

But I keep going back to the cost of increasing that perception of value. I tend to believe that not that many people aren't buying crap now and that your volume wouldn't suddenly skyrocket if you either raised the quality to match the prices or drop the prices to match the quality - or at least not enough to make a significant difference.

And yes, people will bitch about the prices, but it's not like people are going to quit going to the big chain parks.

It might be pretty ridiculous to say it like Dick did with his "people have to eat" thing, but there's some truth to that. CF has the house edge so to speak.

And no, I don't think you can burn people forever and not pay for it, but I still don't think they're even close to crossing that line.

You know what bugs me at CF parks most about their food service? Not the price or quality, but rather the time it takes to get the food and the general piss poor attitudes. I think you could go a long way with increasing satisfaction on that end of things.

Sunday, August 15, 2010 6:28 PM

In order to do that, Gonch, they would have to treat their employees a lot better. It doesn't look like that's something that would be easy to change at all. The food workers don't even get breaks sometimes, and have to pop food that they are preparing into their mouth in order to be able to nourish their bodies throughout the day, or so I have been told be food staff throughout the years.

Also, their is the problem of the staff from overseas feeling trapped once they have got their first small paycheck.

What I'm trying to say is, food staff don't have a good reason to care about the customer, because they get treated so poorly. Same goes with a lot of other staff members in different departments. Saddly, they eventually just give up.

Monday, August 16, 2010 1:13 AM

LK, I like that you mentioned that it pertains to multiple departments, depending on the chain or park. I have to say that of the 3 parks I worked at (in ride ops at all 3), Geauga Lake far and away treated me the best from a top-down (i.e. supervisor to ride op) perspective, but such was not very applicable to the other 2. Seriously, treat the employees right, and you'd be amazed the world of difference it makes. I don't believe that people need to put forth less-than-stellar efforts just because their superiors are oblivious to, or simply uncaring about, their needs and desires, but I know that companies do, or should, have an obligation to treat their employees fairly if they want their employees to respect them. I know I can't even visit one of the parks that employed me anymore without recalling disappointment for the way I and so many others were, and in some cases still are, treated. I can't even fully enjoy the park anymore, which is sad, because it used to be my favorite place to go.

Some companies need to remember that the front-line people are their "face," if you will, and treat them as such. Most seasonal positions being unskilled labor, I don't expect high pay rates as they aren't warranted, but decent accommodations for out-of-town employees where applicable, better cafeteria food, and respectable (and always-available) parking are certainly not unreasonable requests.

I'm not trying to sound disgruntled, and apologies if I do, but tying my comments back into the original discussion, food services people have especially difficult positions and duties in my opinion, and perhaps shown more care, the overall quality of the service might improve drastically.

Last edited by sirloindude, Monday, August 16, 2010 1:16 AM
Monday, August 16, 2010 1:24 AM

Odd how that works out. I'm stuck covering a weekend of midnight shifts with no place to sleep (I'm regularly 7A-3:30P, so I'm completely backwards right now), my only option for food without trekking all the way out to my car, which is parked in the furthest lots away from the building (when parking is available at all) is something cooked in grease or slathered in butter on the flat top.

I don't work for an amusement park, but I guess now I know how it feels to do so.

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:19 AM

I have always found that to be safe at CP, eating at the name brand places (Johnny Rockets, TGIFs, Chick-fil-a to name a few) the food tends (but not always) to be better. Although the prices no where near what they are at the actual places outside the park.

I will NEVER forget going to the IHOP across from Disneyland last year. I almost fell over when I saw the prices! The same pancake combo that is normally $5.99 was $12.99. I ASSUMED maybe it was just because I was in California. Proven wrong when I went to the San Diego cause their IHOP prices were exactly what I pay here.
A side note here...I also LOVED the fact that at the San Diego IHOP we got to sit outside :)

Lifetime Raptor flights: 2236 :)

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:32 AM

I once ate in an IHOP near Knott's, that had bullet holes in one of the windows. :-|

Monday, August 16, 2010 12:58 PM

LuvRaptor said:
I almost fell over when I saw the prices! The same pancake combo that is normally $5.99 was $12.99.

Then you'll want to stay away from the IHOP in Niagara falls, its even worse.

With the CF parks, I have to believe they could increase the quality of their food and service without hurting the bottom item. I bet that their food service infrastructure is very inefficient. The question is, is management willing to invest time and money to make improvements for the long run. Its a question that all companies face and its the companies.

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:37 PM

These last few years, whenever i visit a park I wait until after I leave the park before I'll eat Supper, even if that means waiting until 10:00 PM or Later. On my Trip to New England last month I brought along some Crystal Light Lemonade and Fruit Punch Flavor Packs and used them to flavor the water I got from the Drinking Fountains. I'm sure I saved at least $100.00 during the time I was at the Parks I visited! :)

Monday, August 16, 2010 5:45 PM

Gee, I would love to have respectable, always available parking at my job! And I am a salaried professional!

Something that has been touched on in this thread, but only what degree has the "lot" been "burned"? I mean, if the quality of the food improves, but the price doesn't change, will anybody notice? I know that Cedar Point allegedly has some new food offerings this season, but even though I have been there several times this season, I haven't tried any of them because I've pretty much written off the in-park food service as being low quality for high price, unless they've got bratwurst cooking on the grills. ($6 for bratwurst sandwich and chips; easily the best deal in the park). I eat before I enter the park, I am not hungry, I don't eat. Problem solved. So if they improve the quality of the pizza or the service in the walk-up joints, that doesn't really help. If people have already written off the food service, what do you do to bring those people back so that you can impress them with the higher quality (and still expensive) product?

Jeff's point about perceived value (in my microeconomics class it was called "utility") is important as well. Over the weekend I stopped at $CSTORE and bought a frozen Coke™. This particular store sells a 32 ounce fountain Coke™ for $0.99, or a 32 ounce frozen Coke™ for $1.19. My observation was that simply running the product through a continuous freezer was enough to make it worth $0.20 fact more than $0.20 more, since the frozen product is less dense than the liquid product. And by "worth more" I really mean "worth more to ME" because obviously I had no problem paying the upcharge for the upgraded product.

As for the per-caps issue...
I have to wonder if they had a measurable per-cap on cotton candy at $0.25/serving. Remember that when you are serving 3,000,000 in a season in a single park, you need to sell $30,000 worth of product to get a per-cap of $0.01. That's 120,000 servings of $0.25 cotton candy. But those of us who visited the Cedar Fair parks that season know they sold tons of that stuff. At $0.25 I'll bet they sold enough to get a measurable per-cap. At whatever horrible price they are charging now, I doubt they sell enough to actually justify keeping it on the menu. That's a pretty extreme example of price driving consumption, but still... :)

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Monday, August 16, 2010 9:10 PM

Gonch, if they raise admission prices by $5-10, do you think that would have no effect on food sales? In other words, will people be willing to pay more at the gate and still overpay for the same crappy food? To paraphrase what you said in an earlier post, I don't think you can add $5 to the ticket price and assume per caps will increase by the same amount.

Kinzel's comment that "people gotta eat" shows an amazing lack of empathy and respect for the people responsible for his company's revenue. I think we're going to disagree on whether a significant number of people are or aren't patronizing CF food service. And probably only CF knows that for sure. Given what comes out about other company decisions, I wouldn't assume that because little about food service has changed for years, other than prices, that things are just fine.

I still think the company is leaving a lot of money on the table with their food service and they should look into ways into getting as much of that as they can. To be complacent and feel that what they make off of the people who do buy makes up for the people they antagonize shouldn't be acceptable.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:17 AM

RideMan said:
Gee, I would love to have respectable, always available parking at my job! And I am a salaried professional!

I mean actually being able to park at your place of business and not having to take a bus in because employee parking is canceled for the day. Though premium spots would be nice... ;)

Last edited by sirloindude, Tuesday, August 17, 2010 12:18 AM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 1:44 AM

Waa. Sorry, no sympathy here.

There are many days I spend more time hunting down a parking space...ANY parking space...than I spend driving to work. There is no remote parking. There is no on street parking. There is no shuttle bus. And there are not enough spaces. And frequently the resulting quarter-to-half mile trudge is in the snow. Uphill. Both ways.

Hint: my email address ends in ".edu".

I forget who claimed:
University: n. A collection of buildings surrounded by a parking problem.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

Last edited by RideMan, Tuesday, August 17, 2010 1:49 AM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:02 AM

I'm with you there, Dave. Salaried professional, hospital employee. They keep "expanding" the patient and visitor parking lots, at the expense of employee parking. I have to show up at least a half hour early (an hour for the people who work 2nd shift) to be able to find a parking space, and even then I have to walk a quarter mile to the door, then I have to venture into the hospital for a good 5 minute walk to my desk.

It never gets easier, and it's definitely not specific to amusement parks or seasonal jobs.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:17 AM

Just think of it as an involuntary employee exercise program. :)

I suppose that's easy for me to say, what with my 50 foot walk to the building, and subsequent 65 foot walk to my desk. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 8:18 AM

Even though it's close to a block away (a short block), I'm thankful we have adequate parking at Social Services. Some days I'm adventurous and park on the street behind the building, but most days I just park on the side street a block away, and in front of our parking lot. I complained at my last office about the parking, even though it was on site, because it was for us and clients. Even though I have to walk to the building now, I never complain because there is always a spot.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 10:33 AM

Well, I'd try and explain myself further, but I'll accept that I have been duly hosed. ;)

As for the university comment, Dave, I hear that, and now I understand the lack of sympathy. At the University of Maryland, I was lucky if my parking space was ever within 10 minutes of walking time from wherever I needed to be.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 10:52 AM

I'm not saying your point is invalid, not in the least. I'm just saying that it's definitely not isolated to park employees.

In one way I'm saying that I feel your pain, in another I'm telling you to suck it up. :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010 11:12 AM

There's another (presumably apocryphal) quote that's attributed to a variety of former University presidents:

"A President must ensure the availability three things to be successful: football for the alumni; sex for the students; and parking for the faculty."


You must be logged in to post

POP Forums - ©2019, POP World Media, LLC