Kinzel: "People have to eat"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:05 PM
Did anyone else notice the Games at KD went up also this year.. Speed Pitch 6 Bucks.. Really!!! People will eat at the parks.. I will eat at the park when I traveled 4000 miles to get there! If you want to pack a lunch.. go for it. I'm more worried about paying the high ass Gas price to get there.. something that matters.

No I don't have a kid, but I still want to ride!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:11 PM
eightdotthree's avatar If their merch sales are down maybe they should get something people actually want to buy.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:47 PM
I wasn't so offended by the quote. By passing along the higher food prices, he is actually talking about passing along the higher food costs that Cedar Fair is incurring (as all restaurants are, since it costs more to transport food around the country and that's above and beyond specific items like corn that are shooting up for different reasons).

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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:53 PM
kpjb's avatar

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.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008 8:58 PM
^Except for the point that at Fridays and Famous Daves Im not getting ripped off. $20-25 including tip for a sit down meal (even if it is a burger) is paying a premium, but the food is good, its the same price I would pay in the parks for counter service crap, I get free refils on my soda and the food is served to me. Im more then willing to give CF some money if they give me something I think is worthwhile in return.

2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:14 PM
Jeff's avatar Friday's and Dave's are the closest prices to the outside world you can find, which is why I eat at Dave's now and then. I tried Friday's last time I was there, and no one would serve us. We left.

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.

Jeff - Editor - - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:21 PM
Since DK assumes that people will eat whatever they offer them and pay whatever they decide to charge, don't expect any improvement in CF food service. That quote is pretty much the verbal confirmation of the root of the problem that was discussed at length in that super long CF food service bitch thread a couple months back. I choose to bitch with my wallet and not wait in line for 30 minutes for crappy, over priced fries served at a snail's pace.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:25 PM
As a dad who frequents CP with his six year old daughter, I was not amused by the EIGHT DOLLAR peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Joe Cool Cafe.

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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Wednesday, August 6, 2008 9:49 PM
CoastersNSich's avatar For one, I've always felt that the biggest markup is on soft drinks. At parks like CP and KI I won't mind much buying pizza or potato fries, but will opt for the free water... Too bad Kings Island gives out the tiniest cups possible!

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.

Dental Plan! Lisa Needs Braces.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:18 PM
I wish they would ask you, or have various sizes for "water" cups.

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! :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:19 PM
rollergator's avatar

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).

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:51 PM
When we went to CP in June, we ate at that Thirsty Pony place right on the entrance corner. Food was cheap enough and the Italian sub I had was very good. Plus they have Frickers wings (highly recommended). I can imagine this place would have been bad news back before the smoking ban (looked like a smokers' paradise) .. but it was fine when we went. We probably only "wasted" 20 minutes (exit and travel time) - well worth it simply to not feel bent over at the food counter. Like someone mentioned, it's not so much the money (couple bucks) but just how blatant the gouging is.

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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 10:55 PM
As I said over on so many words...he has lost touch with reality. For him to THINK that is one thing; to express it in a public forum is something different.

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.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008 11:56 PM
For many people here, a trek to an eating place outside the park is a simple enough task. Not so simple for the family with kids. If it involves loading, unloading and reloading a stroller, dealing with trams, putting kids in car seats, leaving the parking lot,then reversing the whole process, that's going to take nearly 2 hours.

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 " we like to provide them with good tasting food, prepared and presented well, at a reasonable price." Not " 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.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:05 AM
Macaroni: my daughter doesn't care for it, so she picked a side of "star fries". Basically warmed over McDonald's type hash brown patties pressed into vague star-like shapes. Blech.

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.

My author website:

Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:29 AM
When I went to Knott's this year I was on foot, being dropped off by someone, and I had to eat, I checked the prices, saw how ridiculous it would cost me to eat there. I even went up to a stand and ordered cheese fries and asked for the cheese on the side and they told me they had to charge me extra. I walked away.

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.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 12:44 AM
LostKause's avatar People are *not* stupid. Some people will remember how lousy the food was the last time they were there and try to avoid it.

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.

Thursday, August 7, 2008 6:09 AM
Unfortunitly, It's the shortsightedness that is screwing up corperate America these days. You see it in retail and now parks.

Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!

Thursday, August 7, 2008 7:34 AM
matt.'s avatar

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...

Thursday, August 7, 2008 8:42 AM
Absolutely. If it's not downright cheap, quality is at least inexpensive.

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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