Kinzel: "People have to eat"

Friday, August 8, 2008 1:46 PM
...And are we even a good audience to try and judge such a thing? How's this for a definition of "insanity": Kings Island has...ummm...if I push it, seven rides (Beast, Son of Beast, Racer, Dodgem, Drop Zone, Face/Off, and Tomb Raider) that I am pretty much finished with. I don't enjoy them, they aren't much fun, I'd rather ride something else unless and until they get these things fixed.

You'd think I'd vote with my feet and go to another park, but no, I keep going so that I can ride Beastie, Top Gun, Adventure Express, Italian Job and Flight of Fear.

Anyway, there is another factor that seems to be common among parks that serve good and/or reasonably priced food: competition. Occasionally, it is competition against other food joints (see: Indiana Beach, Knoebels), but most often it is competition with picnic baskets and coolers (see: Kennywood). Kennywood actually encourages picnicking but in general I won't do it there because it's cheaper, simpler, faster, and tastes better to buy the stuff they're serving.

--Dave Althoff, Jr.

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Friday, August 8, 2008 1:49 PM
Mamoosh's avatar ...but no, I keep going so that I can ride Beastie, Top Gun, Adventure Express, Italian Job and Flight of Fear.

You'll forget about those when Diamondback opens :)

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Friday, August 8, 2008 1:59 PM
I don't see what the big deal is with Kinzel's statements. He speaks the truth, plain and simple. I don't think what he said is earth shattering in the slightest.
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Friday, August 8, 2008 3:03 PM
rollergator's avatar Couldn't agree more that a "refund" is the LAST thing you'd want to do...

Also have to agree that lower prices are NOT the answer....

The *problem* as I see it is the unreasonably poor qulaity of the food at the prices charged. Raise your prices if you have to....but stop feeding your "guests" food that would make your dog turn its nose up...and for the love of God, serve your guests in a reasonable time-frame. :)

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Friday, August 8, 2008 3:08 PM
Maybe Kinzel needs a lesson from McD's or Wendy's. I went to a Wendy's yesterday. Heck, if he could meet that standard, he'd be all set.

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

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Friday, August 8, 2008 3:08 PM
alfundo's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:

I still stand by the idea that amusement park food in general is overpriced and of low quality. Sure we can all fire off the handful of exceptions (HW, KW, BGE, WDW, etc), but with hundreds of parks in the United States, they are the exceptions.


The only reason that they are the exceptions is because they are not part of the corporate conglomerates that have us in this fix to begin with. But you are right, in general it's crap, and I had enough. Too bad it will take CF a while to notice. I stopped going to SF parks in the nineties and CF parks last year. I get more then my share of thrills from BGE, KW, HP and of course Knoebels.

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Friday, August 8, 2008 3:11 PM

Lord Gonchar said:
I really don't think people are saying, "I'd visit the local park, but food costs too much. Too bad kids, no coaster rides because of food prices in the park."

But they might say, "Sorry, kids. We can't afford to go to the park when it's $60 a ticket."?


I can't speak for everyone but I know of a lot of people in this area that refuse to go to Great Adventure because of the cost of the experience once inside the gate. This is the land of an outrageous cost of living so people don't blink an eye when they see what they have to pay to get into the park. However, people seem unhappy about what it costs to stay inside the park for a day. I'm not sure why that is, but I would need both hands and both feet to count the number of people I know that avoid Great Adventure for that reason, and none are enthusiasts.


rollergator said:
The *problem* as I see it is the unreasonably poor qulaity of the food at the prices charged. Raise your prices if you have to....but stop feeding your "guests" food that would make your dog turn its nose up...and for the love of God, serve your guests in a reasonable time-frame.

That's it. People can deal with high prices if they're getting a good product and good service. I think people can even learn to deal with a lousy product and lousy service if the price is low enough. It's the combination of high prices and bad products/service that gets to people, and rightfully so.

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Friday, August 8, 2008 4:57 PM
I wonder if this isn't, at least to some extent, an issue unique to jaded enthusiasts. Sure, food and drink prices are high, but like others have said, shouldn't parks have seen some kind of negative result if prices and quality are such a big deal? We know that parks can match quality with price because we've been to the parks that do. But what about the seasonal CP or KI visitor? They may not know any better. They don't know that Kennywood exists or that Busch Gardens Europe isn't actually in Europe, we can't expect them to be familiar with food prices/quality at these parks. They don't expect an exceptional meal because they don't know it's being done somewhere else. For people who visit these parks today (CP more so than KI) the food has always been what it is.

It's like the coasters; many enthusiast reviews of B&M hypers are negative because they're "boring, forceless, and uninspired." The GP, however, loves these coasters. Why? Well, 1.) these are smooth, fast, comfortable coasters that give great rides, and 2.) the average park guest doesn't know the Intamin that's 200 miles way is even better. Guests are a bit more knowledgeable about food, and they certainly notice when something isn't prepared correctly, but I don't think the average guest is going to realize that the park has switched from real cheddar cheese to a pasteurized pseudo-dairy product (and is charging $.25 more).

Personally, I have noticed that service is lacking at Cedar Point, but as far as quality, I don't see much of a difference between that at KI, DP, KD, SFGAdv, etc. I'm not picky by any stretch of the imagination, and I don't really have a problem with food quality at the parks. If I'm hungry, I'm going to eat, and I'll probably enjoy it, health issues aside. I don't expect an amazing meal, and I don't get it. The price is what gets me.


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Friday, August 8, 2008 5:01 PM
Jeff's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I still stand by the idea that amusement park food in general is overpriced and of low quality. Sure we can all fire off the handful of exceptions (HW, KW, BGE, WDW, etc), but with hundreds of parks in the United States, they are the exceptions.
The exceptions... and the consistently above average solid performers. That's where I want to go, and frankly I just assume that CF was that way too so I can keep getting that sweet distribution every three months. They aren't on that path right now.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, August 8, 2008 5:28 PM
Competition. That's the key to getting the big chain parks to change their ways.

The two big Ohio parks might see more of that in the future. Kennywood is advertising and promoting itself heavily in the Cleveland area. If that highway in Pittsburgh ever gets built and KW adds a couple of big coasters following that, I could see several hundred thousand visitors lost by CP. KW will never be CP and they don't want to be. However, if they someday have three or four really big coasters plus that great assortment of other rides along with all of that "charm" and reasonable proces all around, they're going to attract a lot of new visitors. As for KI, the park most likely to impact them is that park in Santa Claus, Indiana. Do you want a family friendly park with good wooden coasters? Years ago KI was the place to go for this. Now it's HW. Will Koch hasn't made a secret of the goal to double attendance to two million during the next decade. Realisticlly, adding another theme area or two with more thrills and more good coasters and making Splashin' Safari into one of the best waterparks in the country (some say it already is) would help accomplish this. And where would much of the new business come from? From people that had regularly been going to KI.

Result: declining attendance at both CP and KI unless Cedar Fair makes some changes.

I can't guarantee that this will happen but Cedar Fair needs to be aware of what could happen and to by ready adjust their way of doing business if they want to grow their attendance and revenue. *** Edited 8/8/2008 9:34:38 PM UTC by Arthur Bahl***


Arthur Bahl

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Friday, August 8, 2008 6:24 PM
kpjb's avatar

Lord Gonchar said:
I still stand by the idea that amusement park food in general is overpriced and of low quality. Sure we can all fire off the handful of exceptions (HW, KW, BGE, WDW, etc), but with hundreds of parks in the United States, they are the exceptions.

I disagree. If you look at parks company by company and not park by park, I think the exceptions are Cedar Fair and Six Flags. I've never heard the complaining about a Herschend park, Disney park, Busch park, Kennywood park, etc. Never hear complaints about Lakeside or Cypress, Knoebel's or Silverwood.

The general rule is decent food at an above average price. The exceptions are Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks.

*** Edited 8/8/2008 10:26:07 PM UTC by kpjb***


Hi

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Friday, August 8, 2008 8:07 PM

Unnecesssary quote removed... hit reply, not quote, please. See here. -J

Gee, I seem to remember getting berated a couple years ago when mentioning 13 dollar rolls of film at WOF and 18 dollar meals at Six Flags and it being rediculous.

Glad you see things my way.
I'll generally go to the parking lot for a drink from the cooler before paying 4-6 dollars for a soda. Oh, We grilled in the parking lot at Dorney. To be honest the only money we spent there was for the locker rental. If they'd been more like Knoebels, Kennywood we'd of drank half a dozen drinks and ate twice.

Their loss is not gains by any means in the long run.
Chuck *** Edited 8/9/2008 12:10:47 AM UTC by Charles Nungester*** *** Edited 8/9/2008 2:10:04 PM UTC by Jeff***

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Friday, August 8, 2008 9:09 PM
rollergator's avatar

kpjb said:

If you look at parks company by company and not park by park, I think the exceptions are Cedar Fair and Six Flags. I've never heard the complaining about a Herschend park, Disney park, Busch park, Kennywood park, etc. Never hear complaints about Lakeside or Cypress, Knoebel's or Silverwood.

The general rule is decent food at an above average price. The exceptions are Cedar Fair and Six Flags parks.


*applauds*. I've been thinking that for a couple days now. Why name WDW or BGE or DW? Those entire chains perform when it comes to food service. By number of parks, SF and CF are the majority. Price-wise, they're not incomparable...quality and service are what makes SF and CF stand out...and not in the good way.


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Friday, August 8, 2008 10:52 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar Just for clarity:

How many are arguing that the food situation (pricing, quality, value, etc) is going to kill the park (chain?) in the future?

How many are arguing that this quote is indicitive of a larger problem?

How many think there's a problem with the way the park (parks?) are being run and are using this thread to air their concerns?

Ok now that we're in three groups...

Group 1 - you're morons.

Serving dog food at filet mignon prices won't kill an amusement park. It'd kill a restaurant, but not an amusement park. (or movie theatre or arena or ballpark or anywhere else that food isn't the point)

Group 2 - you're wrong.

Sorry, but I love the candid nature of the original quote. I appreciate the transparency. Such a nice change from the usual PR spun crap we get from the parks. Hell, that's why I love Shapiro and SF so much - they want your money and make it clear. It doesn't make me feel dirty, I respect the honesty. I'd be a little concerned if Kinzel didn't get the idea that he has a mostly captive audience.

Group 3 - You might be right.

I don't care though. Quit muddying the issue by piggybacking onto this food thing. ;)

---

That's pretty much where I stand.

Keep in mind I'm the one who was bitching about CF food service 3 months ago (and last year) :)


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Saturday, August 9, 2008 7:38 AM
Its long been my opinion that if a park is reasonable in its pricing that more people will buy more things than buying things once. It also raises their satisfaction level when they don't go into shock trying to get a drink, meal, whatever.

I really don't care if I pay 70 bucks to get into a park as long as the rest of the day is enjoyable.

#3 is right, get em in once and get everything you can get is detrimental to the future of its buisness.

Chuck

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 8:34 AM
When I think of the best food for a good price, I can't help but think of DollyWood.
Great food, great service and it doesn't break you.
Maybe it's Southern hospitality, having older employees or the fear that Dolly might pop up there and do quality control and go ninja on them. Whatever they do, it works.

Great Lakes Brewery Patron...

-Mark

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:31 AM
I have a fix to CF's food troubles..(just a joke mind you)

Someone on the board besides Kinzel needs to have Chef Gordon Ramsay come in and sample the various park's food then report his findings back to Kinzel.

Would love to see Kinzel's face when Ramsay goes off on him about the quality and cost of the food they are selling..

I could just hear him.."what the F are you doing,I wouldnt feed these sh*t hamburgers to my F'ing dog" :) *** Edited 8/9/2008 1:39:53 PM UTC by X Ride Op***

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:38 AM
That MIGHT work. Either that, or have Food Network come in and do a "Resturant Revamp."

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

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Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:43 AM
Maybe I just came up with a new TV show..Ramsay rates America's amusement park food,the good and the bad. ;)
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Saturday, August 9, 2008 9:58 AM
I am one of the only coaster enthusiasts in my group of friends and I think some of the comments made do not reflect the way that my "GP" friends act.

The "GP" friends that I know normally plan a trip to the amusement park like how they would plan a mini vacation. When doing their planing, past experiences play a major role in the decisions that they make regardless of how long ago those experiences are, or how a inaccurate they may be. In example my Dad will not go to Cedar Point on the fourth of July because the last time he went on the fourth in the mid 80's he was stuck in traffic for three hours. We went with a friend of mine to Cedar Point who decided to stop for food before we entered the park because he felt the food prices were too high the last time he went in 1995. So bad experiences do speak volumes and the lag time that was talked about earlier in this thread may take longer to show up for infrequent visitors.

The second thing is that many of my GP friends seek out alternatives if they receive a bad experience. I have several friends that live in Cincinnati that have discovered Holiday World, and now go there in place of Kings Island, because of free pop, inexpensive food, and many other factors that make Holiday World a better choice for them. I know a family in Toledo that now goes to Idlewild every few years instead of Cedar Point every year, because Idlewild is a better fit for their young family. Also visiting an amusement park is not a necessity, and many times a bad amusement park experience turns them off to all amusement parks in general.

The statements made in this thread do apply to teenagers. Teenagers in general are not spending their own money so they will pay whatever price it takes to buy slop to put into their mouths. They are the ones that do not usually plan ahead, and are often stuck at Cedar Point for a definite amount of time (with school groups, etc.) and are forced to eat at the park. So I believe Kinzel's statement is right for this demographic. Unfortunately I think he is missing and losing the demographic that they are trying to regain through ridiculous pricing and poor service.

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