The first and most obvious issue is that if you think $3.59 is too much to pay for a 22-ounce fountain drink, then DON'T BUY IT. Food choices may be limited when you're in the park, but at Cedar Point at least...and in fact at most major parks...a cup of water is still free from stands that have it available, and at Cedar Point it actually tastes decent. Less obvious is that there are food options around the park. To pick on Cedar Point again...don't pay $9 for a PB&J at Joe Cool when you can get a 6" sub for $7. It's still highway robbery, but at least there is SOME value there. Check out the chain establishments. At Kings Island, a cheese coney at the Lunch Basket (Skyline) is the SAME PRICE as a cheese coney at my local Skyline franchise. There are deals to be had. Sometimes the deal isn't cheap food, it's just food that is worth the price to be paid. In my last post, I mentioned something about the $2 burger sold for $10...well, if you know where to look you can also find a $8 burger being sold for $10 and that's a whole lot easier to stomach (so to speak). (Anybody know why Cedar Point sells four different kinds of french fries?)
Oh, one other thing...
Two years ago, I visited Worlds of Fun. One of the things I noticed there was a large number of apparently local food joints operating in the park. That's the park where I was able to get a really good value out of a fresh Gyro. Perhaps it's the exception to the Cedar Fair food rule, but I found Worlds of Fun to have some decent food choices.
--Dave Althoff, Jr.
At the same time, however, I still don't like the fact that the best food in the park is not theirs. Remember when the KI Festhaus actually served good German fare? [eyes misting]
Pass da' sizzrup, bro!
Damn, now you've got me thinking about that pot roast sandwich. :)
My author website: mgrantroberts.com
Lord Gonchar said:
Make that $43 gate at CP $50 and then knock a buck off of most food items inside the park.
This is a point I made before but it was quite a while ago. That 20 oz. bottle of Pepsi is never going to get better. No matter how good it tastes, no matter what the pricepoint, there's no way to improve it so a higher price is never really going to feel quite legit to us as consumers. Sure, we'll pay it, to a point, but you just can't make a soda better like you can make your overall experience better (and thus, your gate price higher, in theory.)
The experience and service delivered has to be tops.
Yup, and here's the thing -
Why in the wild world of sports are you making it HARD for me to spend MY money? If anything these places should be encouraging impulse buying as much as possible but instead they're making it totally laborious to open my wallet.
I hate to bring it back around to Disneyland (Ok, actually I love doing that) but we must have spent $30 over two days just eating carrots, apples, bananas, pickles, and pineapple. It was
1. Nice to eat something that felt like real food
2. Easy to carry around on the way to other rides (not messy, easy to share, too)
3. Relatively cheap and good value AND
4. Easy to get!
Every single time I handed the person a $5 or a $10 and bing bang boom I had whatever it is I wanted within 60 seconds.
Certainly have of us have a reputation for being tight asses but seriously, I think if you offer us something relatively tasty and easy to procure we'll bite. Just make it easy to spend my money! Act like you actually want it!
I hate to bring it back around to Disneyland (Ok, actually I love doing that) but we must have spent $30 over two days just eating carrots, apples, bananas, pickles, and pineapple.
Nothing would make me put the credit card away faster. ;)
Seriously, eating crap is part of the park experience to me. I just want quality crap.
"I want that!"
Hand over money.
But seriously I made it a point to eat plenty of garbage, too, don't worry... *** Edited 5/12/2008 11:09:45 PM UTC by matt.***
Disneyland has amazing food, but then, they have to compete with the fact that a short 5 minutes walk from the gates of the park will get you about every restaurant chain. Mc Donald's, Subway, Quizno's, pizza place, all you can eat buffet, etc.
Disneyland has those large "cafeteria" style restaurants where you grab a tray, real silverware, walk up to a station, get your food fresh and good on real plates and then exit and pay. Even during busy times, its a 3-5 minutes affair and then you got shaded tables outside. What more do you want? Huge servings, great food and I was more than happy to hand my 15$ for a huge plate of food and a large soda (2.59$ plus tax there).
How ironic...I am quality crap! ;)
No I don't have a kid, but I still want to ride!
Coaster Junkie from NH
I drive in & out of Boston, so I ride coasters to relax!
I never really understood why people would want to eat at a Subway or Chik-Fil-A or Skyline (or any other fast food chain) in a park when they can usually find the same thing down the street from the park for HALF the price and better service and quality.
If I am going to spend money on food in a park I would prefer something that they made, but that's just me. ;)
I wouldn't normally get defensive but we've already had two no-votes for the Chik and it's making me feel a bit huffy. :) *** Edited 5/13/2008 12:55:30 PM UTC by matt.***
I don't know how much leeway Cedar Fair gives its parks to manage their food supply choices and vendors. It seems, on one hand, each park can use local vendors (ex. Tofts at CP) and then, on the other hand, they use national vendors chain wide (Chick-fil-a, Subway, Panda Express, etc). I assume it is a combination of both.
I wish CF would truely find a balancing point between the quality of the bulk foods they buy and the profit they make. Buying the worst tasting food at a cheaper price and selling at a higher price does not endear yourselves to the park patrons. I realize I will have to pay a higher price in the park and will budget for it. But, I will minimize my food purchases if the food is not of decent quality, not served at the proper temperature, and not served to me in a reasonable amount of time.
Its rare to find the level of food quality and service levels that a Busch park provides. But, I think CF can do better. It almost seems they need to get a food specialist (a chef?) who can work with the chain to balance the overhead food costs and who would search to find good suppliers in order to provide a decent meal, and still make a profit on food sales. I am not looking for a gourmet sit down meal, but a hot decent meal for the money spent.
You know, the thing that changed my opinion about the potential of fast-ish food was Chipotle. Yeah, I know, the fat content is high depending on what you get, but here you have an example of relatively simple ingredients coming together to make something that doesn't suck. In fact, it's above average non-suck. They can charge a premium and people will wait for it. There's no particular technology or specialized appliances to make it either. Granted, they do buy the better organic stuff where they can, but my point stands that they can make something yummy in a simple and efficient fashion.
As for why people would spend more to eat the same thing in the park when they can do down the street? Convenience, for one thing. For some of us, a "reasonable" markup is worth the time savings of not having to go out to the car, drive down to the Subway/whatever, order, eat, drive BACK to the park, find parking (which may be closer than we were before but more likely is further away), re-enter the park, etc.
Especially with the price of gas steadily going up -- you could very well be burning your "savings" driving back and forth...
Now, At a place like Kennywood, where the food outside the park is easy walking distance (partially negating my "hassle" argument :) ), it's still worth staying in the park because it's not fast-food-chain crap and it's cheap enough :)
"You seem healthy. So much for voodoo."
Making your way out of the park, getting the handstamp, getting to the car, getting out of the lot, finding a place to eat, eating, driving back to the park, finding a parking space again that's never as good as your original one, getting through the gate - I'm actually willing to accept a little more than a 'reasonable' markup to just avoid the whole hassle.
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