Food and Beverage 2016

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by djtruefitt, 22nd Feb 2016.

  1. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    As a retail manager by trade, the whole set up of UK parks confuses me frankly. It's a well known fact that parks make very little from entrance fees, but mega bucks from accommodation, shops and food.

    If I was running a park, I'd want to get customers in first thing (even if rides aren't open) so I could flog them breakfast and £50 worth of shop merchandise that I bought off suppliers for 50p. At lunch time, I'd want to go for the impulse and entice people with cleverly placed units dotted around. And rather than throw everyone out at tea time so they all flock to the nearest McDonald's drive thru on the way back to the M6, I'd want to draw them into my restaurants for an evening meal.
     
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  2. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    Not many people will buy merchandise at park opening as you have to carry it around then (or store and pickup). Even Disney are starting to adjust store hours this way, with the main shop at Epcot now opening an hour after the park opening time.
     
  3. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    Partly true, but a shop with 2 people in it first thing keeps costs low even if you are selling minimal stuff (the mark up on clothing and even chocolate bars and soft drinks in the shops would be enough to sustain this cost) and it also acts as a showroom for purchases later in the day. It also doesn't dampen trade too much at Legoland, the shops in The Beginning are always packed first thing whilst people are waiting to get in the park and have nothing else to do.
     
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  4. Sami-jo

    Sami-jo TowersStreet Member

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    Great Starbucks coffee shop by nemesis though. Was good to wind down and recharge the batteries.
    Also was very impressed with the team at pizza / pasta. They didn't turn us away even though it was close to closing time and even put on some fresh pizza for the new customers. It was very clean, well organised and tasty.....thanks to you all!!!
     
  5. Rob

    Rob TS Forum Team Team Member

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    The new Coffee Lounge is fantastic! Makes a nice change to be able to get a good coffee on park. The outlet is done up to a really high quality as well, heck even real bricks have been used inside. Good work Towers (and Starbucks for forcing them to make it nice).

    :)
     
  6. LiamC

    LiamC TowersStreet Member

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    The new coffee lounge was really nice on Saturday and a welcome (and importantly WARM) shelter from the rain. Also, as has been said, a bonus that it's Starbucks coffee.
     
  7. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    On Saturday we didnt have any problems getting anything to eat as the park was very quiet. The new coffee area is nice, and yes, gave great shelter from the heavens opening on Saturday afternoon! Sad to see all the food outlets closed though. The Courtyard was a ghost town. We ate in the Chicken place by Oblivion, busy, but able to get a table. I think pizza pasta was the busiest judging by the queues.

    On the topic of food and drink, we ate in the Secret Garden restaurant on the Friday night in the hotel. In all the years I have been going there, it was the worst food and service I have ever experienced. We ordered two pork burgers. The waiter told us it would be at least half an hour wait.... they came out in 6 minutes. Cold. Tasteless. Told the waiter who agreed to refund one off the bill.

    Next up desert and I opted for crumble with custard. The waiter actually tried to put us off ordering, telling us the wait would be too long (the restaurant was quiet). We ordered anyway - they arrived in 10 minutes.... Anyway, went to pour the custard and it just ran out like water. Had to send it back..... waited for a new pot to arrive, 5 minutes.... 10 minutes.... 15 minutes later one finally arrived in a gravy jug.

    Needless to say we had a refund of half the meal. Was absolutely shocking how bad it was. Don't know why - its not like the kitchens have been closed all winter...
     
  8. bluesonichd

    bluesonichd TowersStreet Member

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    A thumbs up to the new coffee lounge. My only wish it was a full Starbucks. With the full range of coffee available.
    Plus be able to collect my award points too :(
    Maybe next year :)
     
  9. djtruefitt

    djtruefitt TS Site Team Team Member

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    Did wood cutters last weekend, and I must say it was quite nice. It has had a lot of new items added to the menu this season. In the past the menu often got worse, but it's a great improvement from past years.

    Just a shame that even on a quiet day it's always busy, and will be even worse no all of the dark forest outlets and wobble world cafe are closed.
     
  10. Spark

    Spark TowersStreet Member

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    I was goin to ask about the new coffee lounge. Do we have any pictures of this place?
     
  11. CoasterCrazyChris

    CoasterCrazyChris TowersStreet Member

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    So Fresh Fish & Chips has gone now in Forbidden Valley?

    What are you meant to do for food down that end of the park now? You'll need a bank loan for that Rollercoaster Restaurant when it opens (after an hour wait or whatever to get in) and other than that the only choice is soggy overpriced McDonalds copycat burgers at the dire Burger Kitchen.

    I'm guessing that coffee place only sells sandwiches as well? Honestly with all the other outlet closures around the park it's pretty poor for grub offerings now. To think how far things have fallen for F&B in the last five years after reaching a relative high in 2009/10.
     
    Last edited: 30th Mar 2016
  12. Rosie

    Rosie TowersStreet Member

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    I think the coffee shop is a welcome addition in FV. The fish and chips were, in my opinion, disastrous.
     
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  13. jon81uk

    jon81uk TowersStreet Member

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    I get the impression that Starbucks would want a lot more money for AT to run a fully licensed store, and Starbucks would also need to be involved in the design of the whole building, again increasing the cost. It looks like the We Proudly Serve Starbucks system is easier for AT to get into https://solutions.starbucks.co.uk/your-business


    I think they should have added Fish and Chips to Muntiny Bay though, as it keeps with the Pirate theme ;)
     
  14. GaryH

    GaryH TowersStreet Member

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    There seems to be problems with the cooking of food in the restaurants. Our meals were undercooked in the hotel on Friday and my chicken in the Chicken Co was also a little undercooked, resulting in a slight tummy ache during the afternoon. Interestingly, yesterday someone else tweeted a picture to Alton of their pink undercooked chicken from the same place.

    Towers reducing cooking times to save money???!!!
     
  15. MattyH

    MattyH TowersStreet Member

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    Or to get more orders through!
     
  16. Cheese

    Cheese TowersStreet Member

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    You could argue that there wasn't a good quality food offering to be found in Forbidden Valley back in 2010 either. Burger King, Refresh or Merlin's special soggy fish and chips was hardly an appealing range of offerings, and when Burger King became a third Burger Kitchen it felt like a kick in the teeth, as it could have become something worth buying from like a Roast and Relish. The places I enjoyed the most a few years ago were Mexican Cantina for its fajitas and wedges and Towers Family Restaurant for its roast chicken. None of that was ever spectacular, mind.

    Rollercoaster Restaurant is hardly likely to help the current situation. The capacity probably won't be good enough. I'd expect it to be a case of pre-booking to eat there on anything more than a moderately busy day. High prices won't offend me greatly though if by some miracle the food is actually really good; F&B this year sinks the sea of mediocrity that has been the past few years to a new low, so I feel like anything remotely better than that would be a pleasant surprise. Food should be an easy way for a park to make masses of profit, especially if it sells stuff good enough for people to want to keep eating throughout their day; I can't understand how Merlin's parks get this so badly wrong.
     
  17. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    That's just the thing for me. Food is extremely profitable. A meal costs pence to buy wholesale so I don't understand why they aren't trying to force feed guests morning, noon and night at every given opportunity around the park.
     
  18. MattyH

    MattyH TowersStreet Member

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    The food maybe cheap, but the workers aren't!
     
  19. AliceHL91

    AliceHL91 TowersStreet Member

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    That's why there's such a ridiculous mark up on the food prices, but they obviously still don't think it's worth keeping the outlets open
     
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  20. Matt.GC

    Matt.GC TowersStreet Member

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    No, but you need sales first and foremost to be able to make profit. Fast food outlets can run on 20-30% payroll cost as a percentage of sales and be perfectly profitable. My guess is that this season, Merlin (rightly or wrongly) are forecasting that demand will not be sufficient enough to run all the outlets at a clear profit. It looks on the ground that they could be wrong as they may be surprised at how many sales they have lost through impulse, areas not smelling of food anymore etc plus the amount of people they may have deterred from revisiting.
     

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