No I don't have a kid, but I still want to ride!
Is it a crime for Kinzel to say that they're reaching a captive audience that needs to eat? It's pretty spot on, especially at a park like Cedar Point where it's not worth the hassle to leave (and if you find yourself at TGI Friday's or Famous Dave's, Cedar Fair is still going to get you).
Some of you with fresher legs have no problem leaving the park for a local restaurant. The BK across the street from KD -- or even the Denny's which is closer at the Best Western -- may seem like a good way to save a few bucks, but most people don't think like that.
If someone pays $40 for 8 hours at a park, taking an hour off to trek out, grab a $4 value meal, and come back ate up an hour (or $5) of the time you paid to be in the park. The math is better for season passholders, but that is why most regional parks offer food discounts to passholders.
Kinzel is right about that. This doesn't mean that he can serve $20 burgers. If prices get too notoriously high, folks will stay away altogether. It's no coincidence that attendance began to dip at Six Flags once the $15 parking prices kicked in. It's all about the right balance.
Acoustic Viscosity said:
I only care about the price because the food they serve is awful. If it tasted good, I wouldn't think twice about giving them my money.
That's absolutely true. I spent $85 on lunch one day last time I was in Vegas. Worth every penny. The drink prices are just plain ridiculous, but if they gave you a great portion of fries I wouldn't mind paying 5 bucks for them. If they were Black Angus patties with fresh toppings, I wouldn't mind $8 for a burger.
The absolute worst thing they could've done is install chain fast food joints. A "point burger" is comparable to nothing, but I already know that combo meals at Subway are $5. If I'm paying more than $7, I know it's a ripoff.
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I think Rick is dead on though that there's a need for balance. I think they've lost it. If a fairly well off guy like me with no kids is turned off by the pricing, I can only imagine what an average middle class family with 2.2 kids feels. This will be the first time since they built Lighthouse Point that I'm not going to book closing weekend. Why? Because I don't see enough value in it. I'd rather spend that money at Disney a month later. If I were said middle class family, I'd probably rather save money for Christmas or heating bills or something. The point is, if people don't see value, they'll probably spend their money on something else.
When we visited last week, I worked it so we had an early lunch outside the park, a (relatively) cheap snack and a dessert in the park, followed by a late dinner off the peninsula. I believe I've found our new eating model.
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I've also thought one of the biggest bang for the buck was the Game Day Cafe. About the same price as a drink at a stand or machine, but free refills. And for about the same price as a quick stand, you can get a sandwich/burger and fries but better.
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Seriously, they waste more money by giving me tiny cups then giving me one larger cup I can have more then one sip out of.
I will usually hop from stand to stand getting waters until I am good to go. If the cup was bigger, I would only need one!
They can pay for the many cups I will use, I don't care! :)
Acoustic Viscosity said:I only care about the price because the food they serve is awful. If it tasted good, I wouldn't think twice about giving them my money.
I think that's his point (well, not really his Po!nt per se, but people CAN read between the lines). "Our food totally sucks, but where ELSE can you eat when you're spending a day at our park."
Obviously, the responses on this thread indicate the lengths people are willing to go to avoid CP food. I specifically go to Knoebels hungry because the food there is dee-lish, and a really good value to boot. I'd be willing to bet no one has said that about CP in the last decade or so (since my first trip there).
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At KI, there are gobs of restaurants right on the Kings Mills exit, but they require a short car ride to get to - not really walkable.
Attendance is dropping, prices are rising, experienced full time people are leaving, they are raising the gate admission right in the middle of the season....this is all pretty ominous.
(I will say, in defense of Joe Cool Cafe, the $8 peanut butter sandwich is more than that...the kids get the sandwich (or pizza/chicken fingers/burger/etc) plus macaroni (or fries/fruit/etc) the drink, a cookie and a keepsake lunchbox. The drink container was also a keeper and could be reused throughout the day to get cheaper refils. So, I think the criticism of that particular situation for that particular restaurant might be unfair.)
But...$5 for the guessing game, incredible prices at the merchandise locations, and I could go on and on.
I'm ready for new leadership...and sooner rather than later.
I don't have a problem with any park CEO or manager saying "people have to eat..." I just prefer the ones who follow up that statement by saying "...so we like to provide them with good tasting food, prepared and presented well, at a reasonable price." Not "...so we can hand them any kind of pig slop and charge whatever we want for it, because they don't have a choice."
Luckily there still are enough parks who choose option 1, based on many comment here and in TRs. It would be interesting to compare food service costs at CF parks with those generally considered above average for parks (Knoebels, Kennywood, Holiday World). I'm willing to bet the better parks aren't spending that much more to provide the food they do.
Drink: now an 8 or 10 ounce cup, down from the old hard plastic 12 oz. And refills cost, what, more than a buck now? (Not exactly sure about the price.)
Cookie: an unpalatable, hard as a rock, bone-shaped, semi-sugary mass that was supposed to be a treat. Complete with a little, room temperature cup of icing for dipping. Double blech.
Lunchbox: my daughter's allegedly keepsake, piece of crap container fell apart in the car on the way home. It was a good thing because the cheap paper label was peeling off already.
IMO, the above hardly justify the $8 rip off. So to sum up: blech, again I say.
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I ended up walking down the blocks to Fat Burger where they offered a discount with a Knott's ticket, lucky for me. I think it saved me 1 or 2 bucks, I can't remember.
If the prices for a decent meal were reasonable I would have had no problem spending my money in the park.
High quality isn't cheap, but look at what they are charging? I bet if they offered quality, it would be just as cost effective in the long run.
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LostKause said:High quality isn't cheap
You know, really this is the sort of thing that blows my mind sometimes - high quality actually *can* be pretty cheap if you know what you're doing. Some of the best meals of my life consisted of $2 tacos, $1 handmade dumplings, fresh cut fries which were $3 for a big cup-full, some of the best burgers I've ever had were less than $5. I can think of all sorts of tasty things I've had that have been dirt, dirt cheap. Serving good food at reasonable prices to a captive audience for profit just shouldn't be all that hard.
But it's an easy explanation, the name of the game at this point is increasing per caps when attendance is flat. When you have investors and debt, squeezing every penny is what it's all about I guess...
I once talked to someone that used to work for GM, back in the days when the automaker was making lousy cars but couldn't understand why people were turning to Japanese and Korean imports. I forget his actual title but he had something to do with interior design, and if you ever owned a GM car from the 80's and early 90's, you'd know that the automaker was not known for high-quality interiors. He told me that the difference between a lousy interior and a high-quality interior was surprisingly small, something like a hundred bucks on a $20,000 car. Despite the cost, GM's accountants refused to spend the money, thinking that people would rather pay a couple hundred less for a car and deal with subpar materials and quality control.
I realize there are differences between car interiors and amusement park food, but the fact remains that it often costs very little to make huge strides.
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