Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Roary, 15th Mar 2021.
I second this, would fit really well in the gardens!
I'll third this suggestion too. Towers / Merlin are missing a trick with the lack of F&B in the gardens - particularly if it's an offering that may appeal to a different demographic of visitor to their core market, i.e. parents who have driven their teenage offspring & friends to Towers for the day. So you are thinking along the lines of afternoon teas in the Conservatories / sit-down meal in Swiss Cottage.
En ex-colleague of mine was one such parent. She drove her teenage son + 2 friends to Towers for the day, but only dropped them off & picked them up at the end of the day. She then occupied herself by walking in the Churnet & Dimmingsdale Valley & had her lunchtime meal at The Talbot in Alton. So this is a potential additional adult admission + F&B spend lost by Towers due to the lack of a more varied food offering.
Towers should also consider that if Mum / Dad are on the park & arrange to meet up with their offspring at the end of the day... Mum & Dad have probably got a deeper pocket than the children when in Towers Trading as they head for the park exit at the end of the day.
Whether people see quality food as important or not in their lives, UK theme park food is crap (not just Towers). Every theme park needs standard burgers, hot dogs and fried chicken on the go as well as staple sweet treats like doughnuts and ice cream. But these are the core offerings rather than just the fast food option in almost all UK parks.
The reason few see a sit down meal experience as an option (me included) is because UK park opening hours are traditionally also crap. Why would you waste an hour or 2 eating when you're only there for a 6 or 7 hour day? It's another example of the Merlin monopoly of the UK market setting the standard. The biggest park operator aims for little more than a fair ground food offering so it soon becomes the expectation.
Many of you are saying you take packed lunches, I have done so myself at times. There's reasons why so many do that.
If we go back say 15 years we had the refresh healthy eating brands in places i remember 3 i think CCL, forbidden valley left of ripsaw site, jacket potato/sandwich meal deals, spinball noodles, the courtyard BBQ, towers street restaurant.
I think what ever way we want to look at towers F&B someone somewhere left the business and the new team i think came in before the smiler + dealt with the aftermath. It must be someone with no inspiration other than people love burgers and hotdogs.
wait they closed the burger kitchen in FV this year to….
lets not forget that word Europa park. Longer hours time to relax its all part of the experience and precovid the variety of food choices available.
If I'm honest i would love to see a multicultural buffet option in the towers street space similar to the likes of COSMO,JFC, JImmys (original Flambos)etc even if it was only open on peak days for £15-20.
You can please most people, keep costs low and have a high occupancy turn over
My girlfriend and I went for 2 days last week. She is a vegan and I tend not to eat much meat and if I do it's probably chicken or fish.
We found the choice pretty poor tbh, especially for her. The first day we went for an early lunch in Woodcutter's and that was actually very nice, if a bit pricey but we are from London and used to seeing those kind of prices on a daily basis. The 2nd day we were in a bit more of a rush to get some things ticked off so had the rollover vegan hotdogs. £5 is a lot but we understand it's a theme park. The trouble is the service at the Hotdog place in Towers Street is terribly slow, it should not take 5+ minutes to serve each person. You get in a queue with a only 5 people in front and think oh we'll just be a few minutes, nope it's nearly half an hour and you can't go to the place in Mutany Bay because for some reason they don't do chips!?
For a start I'd say standardize each outlet so at least they serve the same menu. Why would 1 hotdog stand not do chips and other does, and why does another one serve mozzarella sticks? Next I'd say at least do a vegan pizza or something at pizza/pasta as that also helps those that have dairy intolerance and they'd get more custom. Lastly for some reason they didn't do Coke Zero at a lot of places, only "full fat" coke or diet coke. Come on Towers not asking a lot but get the basics right.
I'm not vegan, or even vegetarian, but I do agree that meat-free options do need to be improved. The amount of choice over the past few years has increased a lot, and it's about time theme parks did more to cater for those who don't eat meat (or animal products in general) or who wish to eat less meat.
It's doesn't even take a lot to please many vegans, have a vegan sausage roll available at all hot food outlets for example. Have some vegan mayo sachets available, change the recipe of the doughnuts to remove the egg and milk etc. 1 thing they did have which surprised me was vegan magnums at places that sold ice creams, little changes like that make a big difference.
Also make sure they are in stock. Many times we've been out and there has been 1 vegan item available and it's been out of stock. Very frustrating as it's not like she can chose something else and it always ends us leaving (so they also lose out on my custom even though I am not vegan).
Agree that Woodcutters is the only really worthwhile choice for vegan options in the entire park at the moment. There is no decent grab and go options.
Even there they had removed the vegan chilli from the menu on my last visit, leaving only two choices (and the staff have No. Clue. whether the guacamole is vegan or not which is incredibly poor form an allergy perspective. Sometimes the nachos are served with and sometimes without).
The vegan magnums are excellent and i agree that this kind of little touch makes a huge difference.
Corner Coffee occasionally offers vegan sandwiches and wraps, a slightly better and quicker grab and go option, but these are often sold out early in the day... maybe the park should take a hint there.
I completely agree, I'm coeliac and honestly the gluten free options at most of the food outlets leave a lot to be desired! Fast food is generally a nonstarter even if I didn't care about healthy options (which I do), and who wants to spend their day scouting all the food options in the park and queuing up only to be unable to order anything? Since I can't be confident I'll be able to get anything suitable my only option is usually just to bring a packed lunch. Sit-down options are better tbf - I actually had a very nice meal in the Rollercoaster Restaurant last visit and the staff were very helpful explaining the dietary options, but it takes a lot more time out of the day and you pay for it!
Yes we went to the Rollercoaster Restaurant last October (for dinner after park close) and it was excellent. Had our whole parties drinks comped because we had to wait 15 minutes after our reservation time! When we go to Thorpe/CWoA we do sometimes take our own lunch, but with Towers it's a night in hotel before so that option not really open to us.
Whilst I agree that the food offering at Alton Towers is poor, people just don’t go to a theme park for an a la carte meal. Why would you spend 90 minutes in a restaurant on a 7 hour park opening day? That’s over 20% of your day spent in a restaurant, and with queues as they are, most people would deem that a waste of time. What could work however is a carvery where “every day is a roast day” in the Towers Street Restaurant. Plenty of meat and non meat options, fresh veg, all there for people to walk in and help themselves to. In and out in 30 minutes whilst also having a decent meal. And for those that aren’t fussed about rides so much, they also have the option to stay longer if they wish. Carverys are also very cost effective, good value for guests because they can choose how much they want and operationally easier than having staff taking orders.
I understand your wider point, but the simple answer is the others don't have deep fat fryers to cook the chips in.
Towers St used to be a full restaurant so has a full kitchen, Forbiddon Valley used to be a burger kitchen so has fryers and burger grills, other outlets are just hotdog stands so will only have the steam cabinets needed to warm hotdogs.
Ideally they should be offering full menus at the places which have the cooking facilities to enable that.
They did actually have a carvery in Towers St restaurant for a while, then they removed the canteen style counter and switched it to the bar and grill style like Woodcutters. Part of the issue with that location was most people at lunchtime aren't on Towers St.
Many people do want more than fast food though, the pizza buffet is busy, Rollercoaster restaurant and Woodcutters are popular and they take 45 minutes to an hour for drinks and plated food. I don't think many will do three courses for lunch, but there should be more places offering something that isn't a burger really.
One of the issues with taking a packed lunch though is the lack of tables. I prefer sitting on a bench/table as opposed to grass or a rock, but last Scarefest we went to the covered area in Muitiny Bay and I nwarly had a meltdown due o the amount of time it took us to find a free table as it was so busy.
There are hundreds of picnic benches on the front lawns.
Well thanks to the pandemic there is now a lawn full of tables in front of the stage!
But even if you are ordering food within the park there is a lack of tables, the only fast food with a decent amount of seating is Burger Kitchen at Cuckoo Walliams Dungeon land. The two outdoor Burger kitchens only have a handful of tables, Just Chicken doesn't have that many really and when there was the BBQ in the courtyard it was hard to find a seat if you had ordered food.
Pretty sure they are new for this year, at least i don't remember seeing them before (though I didn't visit in 2020). Yes, they are definitely needed, although there's still very limited (dry!) seating options if it's raining.
They were there last season, think they were added for Oktoberfest and have remained since.
There is definitely a gap to be filled between full service (Woodcutter's/RCR) and the fast food options. Something like a canteen (think Ikea) where you can get a hot meal on a plate with a knife and fork but it's under £10 with a drink and you can be in and out in under 30 mins.
Think a daily curry/rice, a lasagna, soup and sandwich, salads etc. Have a few staples severed every day and then 1 or 2 "specials" on a 3/4 day rotation. Fish & Chips on a Friday for example. I think it would go down a treat and instantly add a lot of food choices to the park
and thats sort of what Tower St was before they removed the canteen counter and switched it to the bar and grill.
Might not have been as cheap as Ikea, but at the time carvery and a drink was probably under £10. We didn't eat there though as was never in that part of the park at the right time. Usually has Woodcutters or pizza buffet.
Maybe if they had put the pizza buffet in Tower St it would have actually attracted guests back to the area.
Here is a photo when the counters were still there in 2012
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