What Is Up With CF Food Service?

Lord Gonchar's avatar
Last year we had issues with food service at CF parks - pretty much chain-wide. Adside from the general crappy attitudes, inefficient service and stupidity, one of the incidents that stuck out the most was the kid picking up spilled fries with his bare hands and serving them to us at WOF. (mentioned in last year's TR)

So we finally got to spend some time at KI this afternoon and our only in-park food purchase was a drink at the outdoor counter of the Juke Box Diner (next to the three point challenge).

Again with the "why do you have to bug us" attitudes. Again with four kids working behind the counter, but only one guest being served at a time.

And, worst of all, again with the bare hands handling of food.

We watched them make some kind of shake or sundae or something for the girl in front of us and when it came time to put the cherry on top, the kid grabbed it with a bare hand and plopped it on top.


Then when we got a drink ($3.93 after tax for a 32oz) and asked for a straw we were bare-handed an unwrapped straw from a box sitting on a counter behind the register.

What the hell, Cedar Fair!? I've seen this happening too much at multiple parks. Dumb luck with multiple incidents or a crappy trend?

I'm not overly worried about it because quite frankly some CF food worker's scummy-assed hands wouldn't even make the list of top ten worst things I've stuck in my mouth, but is there no standard being enforced here? Health codes? Anything? Bueller?

Even sadder because if there's one thing that has completely fallen to the unacceptable level in the CF chain over the past few years, it's the food service...

...and that's true even if I ignore the low quality and crazy pricing.

Sad, really.

And this is CF's fault how? These kids can't be made to be nice by the CF executives. Just the way kids are today at their jobs I guess. *shrugs*
I haven't had anything at KI yet this season except for LaRosa's, Skyline, and Cinnabon, so I can't comment yet on the rest of the food service. I'm a little surprised about the bare hands though, they usually wear plastic food prep gloves.
Lord Gonchar's avatar
Parker17 - I generally agree with that line of thought. However, seeing it in multiple seasons at multiple locations, multiple times...

...it's a CF problem.

Parker17 said:
And this is CF's fault how? These kids can't be made to be nice by the CF executives. Just the way kids are today at their jobs I guess. *shrugs*

It's CF's fault because their management in the food services areas apparently isn't doing their jobs at making sure their employees are doing their jobs in an efficient and sanitary way.

And by the way, yes these kids can be made to be nice by the CF execs.! You won't find this type of thing happening at a park like Holiday World. It would never be tolerated! It would be as simple as the standard operating procedures that most employers already have set up in their businesses...either do the job the way your supposed to, or there's the door!

I've seen kids working at parks, as well as, other jobs who obviously do not care about their jobs or what the consumer thinks. But just the same, I see kids who work their butts off from the time they clock-in to the time they clock-out. And they do it with a good attitude, and most times a smile. *** Edited 5/11/2008 3:41:11 AM UTC by Floorless Fan***

Now officially a Halloween Haunt Cornstalker for Fall '08! www.freewebs.com/chadmicah
Mamoosh's avatar
some CF food worker's scummy-assed hands wouldn't even make the list of top ten worst things I've stuck in my mouth...

I won't hijack your thread, Gonch...but damn it's hard to pass up a comment like that! ;)

Soggy's avatar
Stuff like this is definatly a "from the top down" thing. If nobody at the top cares (or knows) about things like this, you see the results in kids who simply are never trained well in the first place. It takes time and money to fully train someone to properly work in food service, and with the seasonal aspect of the amusement industry, there is probably a minimum amount of training happening.

Unfortunately, I doubt this will ever be addressed unless there is some sort of action taken against them. Open their eyes, so to speak, with a big lawsuit from someone getting sick.

In the meantime... order things that are pre-wrapped?

Pass da' sizzrup, bro!

LostKause's avatar
I blame Cedar Fair. An employee with a great attitude coming into a CF foods job can quickly turn into a negative one as soon as they get a feel as to how they are going to be treated throughout the season.

I made many friends throughout my 3 seasons working at CP. Near the beginning of my employment there, it seemed that I was always having problems with the foods department at the two employee food locations. They were very slow at serving the long line and they didn't really seem to care. Many, many times I complained about the service and the attitude of the servers to management, and they usually just shrugged.

But as I befriended some of these food workers, I came to understand their struggle with their job. They were supposed to get breaks just like ride ops and games employees, but rarely were allowed because of short staffing. It was very common for them to eat while serving food to customers. You read that right. They would stuff a few fries into their mouths while serving them because they were hungry and were not allowed to stop for a few minutes to eat.

Now take into account that they would have to work 12-15 hours a day, with no sit down time, and no time to eat, and imagine how one may feel about their employer, and that could be a factor for why they don't show any concern for the customers and the general lackluster attitude.

...And that may be partly to blame for their crappyness. As I always say, Sh*t always rolls downhill, so we can blame management first and foremost. Fix management, and it'd fix the front line employee's attitude.

My second-hand experience is only with Cedar Point. It may be, and probably is, somewhat different with other CF parks.

OK.. so here's my question on the bare hands.. we're they washing them? I can't tell you how many times I've seen rubber gloves used to serve food.. and then handle money.. and then empty trash.. and then brush hair.. and then scratch crotch.. and then blah blah blah... then the rubber gloves seem moot, don't they.. I'd take clean bare hands over dirty rubber gloves any day.

and as for is it Cedar Fair's fault? um. Yes. They are responsible for training employees, insuring they follow health codes, disciplining and or terminated employees who don't comply. Most big companies follow "safeserv's" guidelines for food service which requires specific training and certification. *** Edited 5/11/2008 4:54:14 AM UTC by CPJ***

My daughter and I got to experience again today the undiluted joy that is CP's food service. We went into Donut Time for donuts (obviously), and got out with said pastries after TWENTY-THREE minutes in line. Yes, I timed it.

What made this wait worse was it was for approximately 11 people in line in front of us, some of whom seemed to be in twos. So 23 minutes were required to ring up the guesstimated seven total purchases in front of us, and our sale. According to my math that's more than three minutes per each individual purchase. That is absolutely abysmal, even given the fact that it's opening day.

Oh, and Joe Cool Cafe was not much better. (An aside -- I do like the decor.) We got right in, only to be seated at a booth with a dirty table. I'm not talking a little dirty, I'm talking where can I safely place my shirt sleeves? Nobody offered to clean it, so I ended up using my cloth napkin to dry-wipe it.

Did I mention the waitress handed my six year old daughter, rolled up in her silverware, a sharp steak knife? Thankfully I trust Ava with something like that and she herself pointed out the mistake to me -- but what if my child had been three? Or a year old? Makes me shudder to think of all the kids going through that place. Hope they fix that particular situation in a hurry.

It took approximately twelve minutes (I forgot to check at first that time) before we were waited on. Our order did come out correct, hot and ready to eat, but only after another 35 minutes of watching the Peanuts cars outside the window going round and round and round...

The waitress actually was fairly polite and competent otherwise. There was an additional snafu in trying to pay with credit card, which resulted in additional waiting while the clerk conferred with the floor staff.

Throughout the park, I saw 22 oz soft drinks for $3.59. That is absolute highway robbery. Yes, I expect to pay more for food in an amusement park, but I expect to escape from the transaction with my rectum intact. I had a lot of 'fountain' beverages today -- and I mean water, not vanilla sodas. I encouraged my daughter to do the same.

If CF is going to screw us out of our 401K's in order to eat to keep the per cap up, they ought to do it with a little more panache, I say.

My author website: mgrantroberts.com

Its it just me or did I hear you guys saying the same thing about Six Flags last year, especally the high price jab? The ironic thing is that Kinzel worked his way up through the food side. You think he'd know better.

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

The reason it is a CF problem is that, in general, the Operations staff *is* polite, efficient, etc. The staffing pool is the same, so it's not just the kids. There is a noticeable difference between Foods and Operations---in efficiency as well as friendliness.

matt.'s avatar
It's funny, back when I was living in Kentucky the food service at (P)KI was always a kind of running joke with my family.

We'd always go to the Skyline place because it was pretty tasty and relatively cheap but we knew if there were any sort of line we'd have to wait forever and a day plus have to deal with the most surly help we'd ever encountered. We joked that there was some sort of ex-convict program used to staff it. Of course this isn't really a dig at CF, this was back in the Paramount days.

I agree with Moosh, this is a fine thread but I'd love to see "The Top 10 Worst Things I've Ever Put In My Mouth" a la Gonch.

It sucks that they're seasonal so that's they're excuse for getting away with not having to abide by labor laws. I.E. 2 paid breaks and an unpaid lunch period. And of course overtime pay.

I blame management, they pay these people next to nothing and don't give out the breaks entitled by law because they pay too little to adeuquetly staff.

And the prices ARE highway robbery. Why can I go to Knoebels and buy most of their food for the prices I would pay outside a park? And in some cases less than what I'd pay outside. And it tastes good too.

I refuse to pay for food and soda when I go to my local CF park, I make sure I outside the park before I go and drink free water.

If they offered reasonably priced decent quality food I could see giving them my business, but until then forget it...I'll give my money to the pizzeria outside the park.

coasterqueenTRN's avatar
I am not sure if I would want to know that about Gonch and what's been in his mouth. ;)

Yeah I usually prefer smaller park food (like Knoebels) than the chain park food. Then again the small parks have had their issues. But overall small park food is MUCH better quality and is reasonably priced.

I have actually had worse food experiences at Six Flags parks than Cedar Fair parks but maybe I have been lucky. Well, there have been a few times at CP where I had to wait..........and wait, mostly at the sit-down restaurants, including Friday's on the beach.

As far as KI I never been crazy about any of their food. It's all mediocre at best. I did eat some LaRossa's a few weeks ago though, but I hit them at the right time...no crowds.

I guess there is REALLY only one solution. Eat before you get to the park, keep a cooler in the car, and eat dinner outside the park. :)

As far as the employees eating on the job I can sort of understand that. I am not saying it's right to take a few fries with their bare hands while serving you but they should be allowed to get their own fries and set them aside if they can't get a lunch or break.

At my job I RARELY get any breaks and NEVER get a real "lunch" (I work in printing and am by myself on my shift) and there are a lot of times I order food and have it delivered right back to my copy center and eat it right there, discreetly of course. It's kind of like Jeff Spicoli ordering pizza and having it delivered to his classroom. ;)

So I can understand how those employees would be tempted to eat the food they are serving. When you are hungry and overworked you get grumpy and tired. I know I do. ;)

BUt like someone mentioned, the **** rolls downhill, and if the managers won't examine the situation then you can't really blame the employees. Then again that doesn't give them the right to be rude to the customers. Adaquate staffing, fed and rested employees makes for happy employees, which in return makes for happy customers.

I do remember a friend telling me about some pizza he ordered once at a park. I am pretty sure it was a Six Flags park but I don't remember which one.

He said he ordered one slice, took a bite, and it was nearly frozen (I guess it was just thrown under the lamp) Well, when he went to return it the server gave him a hotter slice but then took the slice he took a bite out of and threw it back under the lamp.

Talk about GROSS!


*** Edited 5/11/2008 2:01:35 PM UTC by coasterqueenTRN***

I haven't been down to KI yet this season, so has anyone dropped by WINGS? It's always been over-priced, over/under cooked food served in a grease pit of a restaurant, but I was told at Halloween Haunt that they had plans to over haul the whole place sometime down the road...anything new happened in there yet?

I know they went with the buffet idea last season, and we quickly peeked in, and just as quickly walked back out. The food looked as gross as it ever did, and if I remember right they wanted $17.99 for adults, and $9.95 for children. Now when I want a buffet at a park, (which is on very rare occasions), I generally like CP's Market. If they'd do something like that at KI with cleaner surroundings & better tasting, fresher selections I'd go for that maybe once a season. But as far as a buffet down there, we've made a quite few trips to the one inside Great Wolf Lodge...excellent IMO!

Now officially a Halloween Haunt Cornstalker for Fall '08! www.freewebs.com/chadmicah
I remember when friends of mine from college worked for Disneyland for a couple of summers. The perks were cheeper Disney apartments, better pay and access to the park, but the expectation was to make the customers happy. Management impressed upon their employees to provide top notch customer service and to always smile.

After those summers my friends could never enjoy Disneyland in the same way everyone else does. Those smiles folks receive at Disney are mandatory.

Six Flags and Cedar Fair parks pay the bare minimum. If you get a smile from staff at either of these parks be sure to thank them because they don't get paid for it.

And then you hope and pray that the employees aren't using the same bathrooms that are mentioned in the MaxAir thread--the same dirty, disgusting bathrooms that I found in the middle of June last year. There was water all over the floor in some bathrooms--at least I hope that's what it was--just asking for someone to slip and fall and break something or worse.

One thing I left out of my trip report from last year still strikes me as something I don't encounter everyday. As I went to order a burger combo near Cedar Downs, another off-duty employee comes up to the person waiting on me and starts complaining about some boyfriend problems she's having at the dorms. I think there was some mention of how drunk the guy was as well.

So the two young woman are having this back and forth conversation like I'm not even standing there. It came off as being really inappropriate and the type of thing that could've waited until later.

We didn't have any troubles with food service at CP or KI, but the people after us at the pizza place across from Maverick might have been getting really perturbed. We ordered two pizzas and got them almost right away, and we finished them before anyone else in line got served. Granted, there were two people per pie, but still.

We can debate about which way the **** flows at CF, but now I'm wondering whether anybody's washing their hands after they take one.

I'm generally not one to make scenes, but if anything like this happened to me, the kid at the counter would hear about it, the supervisor if one were present, and guest relations. We could take this thread to 100 pages, but until something is said to someone who could do something about it, they could always just say "Well, we never had anyone complain about it before."

That's one good thing about Hershey. At just about every stand, they have separate people handling the food and the money. Sure it involves an extra employee, but they can run more people through the line that way.

BTW, this IS CF's fault. Anytime you have someone employed on YOUR property, wearing YOUR logo on a shirt YOU provide, they are representing you to the public. A company that is worried about flat attendance and trying to find ways to increase revenue better do whatever it takes to maintain and improve goodwill with its customers.

Jeff's avatar
Cedar Fair's problem seems to be great leadership when it comes to operations, and zero when it comes to foods. I don't care if it was opening day... the service at various counter locations yesterday at CP was glacial, not friendly and pathetic. If anyone is standing around at any given time with nothing to do, and there's a line into the midway, you're doing it wrong.

What kills me is that it's a freakin' solved problem. These food stands make three or four things and they can't serve efficiently. Go to any McDonald's and see constant motion and service in under a minute.

And yes... the pricing is insulting.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

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