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KI Food Service Ideas

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This thread is to add our suggestions on how KI food service could change to speed the queue lines faster. I think food options have greatly improved since CF took over. This is not a employees need more training, need better food, or a general food service bashing area. The idea is how can we make realistic and reasonable suggestions to improve food service from a park visitor perspective. 

 

In my opinion, we can not put to much blame on KI for the slow moving queues. Here is my reasoning. On pass preview night my son and I ate at Chicken Shack. The line was about 10 people out the entrance. It took about 25 minutes to get through the full line and walk out to a table to eat. The employees seemed a little flustered, but to be expected on their first real night of work. There was a family in front of me that had 2 kids with them. Every singe one of them had no idea what they wanted when it was their turn to order. So when the employees asked what they wanted, and it was 5 minutes for all of them to decide and tell the employee. Totally not the fault of employees or KI. Then when they got to the register to pay the dad, who was paying, had no where to sit his tray to have a hand free to get his money. So he sat his tray on the other registers counter, blocking me and my son from getting up there to pay. The employee could not help me until they got out of the way. This held the line up for the people behind me as well.

 

In my situation, the speed of the employees were not the problem, it was the guests that waited until it was their turn to order before thinking about what they wanted. That got me thinking, KI is not going to change people's habits, but how can KI get most people to be ready to order when it is their turn to let the employees know what they want?

 

Here are a few thoughts:

 

Maybe we can get the menu screens in front of the entrance to the restaurant, along with a scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen stating, please have your order selections ready before ordering. Also, have this on the menu screen in the line as well.

 

Also, at least at chicken shack, can there be a family register that has a longer tray counter so there is enough room for a family of 4 or 5 to fit their trays? The other be a "couples" counter like the existing registers that holds 2 trays without issues? That way larger groups can free up the other counter for smaller orders?

 

I think implementing those 2 things in restaurants where feasible would improve line speeds a lot. Of course not everyone is going to do it, but even if half have their order ready, then the line speed would be greatly improved. It would be a win win, for people would not be frustrated and eat outside the park, and  happier people mean more in park spending on other things.

 

What are some ideas that you may have thought of at the park?

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3 words: Touch. Screen. Ordering.

 

The most efficient food place I've seen is Sheetz, which has locations in northern Ohio and Pennsylvania. They have a huge made to order menu, with several touch screens that people can use to create their order exactly the way they want. With an even simpler menu like those of the food stands at KI, this could work really, really well.

 

With this system, when you complete your order you get a receipt printed out and you pay up at the front counter, but it would be even more efficient to just have a card swipe there. I guess that would make it impossible for anyone paying cash, so that's an issue. But for most transactions it would work really well.

 

They make your order, then they call your number and you go up and get your order.

 

The other issue with this system though is where do people wait for their food? It could cause a bit of crowding around the food stands but I'd guess it'd be no worse than the huge lines backing up into the walkways and blocking people from getting to rides.

 

The last issue that I can think of is cost. I wonder what a system like this would cost for 5 touch screens per food stand.

 

Just brainstorming a few thoughts.

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Maybe we can get the menu screens in front of the entrance to the restaurant, along with a scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen stating, please have your order selections ready before ordering. Also, have this on the menu screen in the line as well.

 

 

Even though I have already made the conscious decision to take my food nickels outside the park, this is absolutely a suggestion that... if I actually see it happen and see that its working.... could POSSIBLY change that decision for me.  Another one that I feel would help, is to change all of them to a McDonalds/Hardees/etc etc style operation, where there are 4 or more cashiers/ordering stations instead of the buffet style line with one cashier like at the I Street Skyline for example.  Yes, I know the efficiency of that would depend on the park actually staffing said stations, instead of pulling a Wal Mart where there would be 4 to 6 stations with only one staffed, and I also know they likely would look at a redesign of the current system as too pricey, but I feel its a very realistic suggestion that would pay off quickly with increased in park spending.  It would work even better, if combined with your GREAT idea.

 

 

I had to jump in and edit this to say, I truly wish I could recall the name of our server on Saturday at RHOFG.  Considering she is a hostess, and had to jump in and serve in a stressful, understaffed situation, the young lady did a FABULOUS job.  I thanked her numerous times before we left, but I wish I would have remembered her name in order to stop at G.R. to give her positive props.

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They had a lot of lost opportunity with foods and the app this past weekend. Friday was 10,000 or so season pass holders. Saturday was probably 75% or more season pass. Why didn't they push out notifications pushing the meal plan those days? Why not have people pay for it on the app using Apple Pay or Google Wallet? The money would have been intangible to the customers. But what do I know?

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I was using the app in the park on Saturday morning, trying to get wait times.  The app thought that I wasn`t in the park (I was on the park`s wifi, and my location was even shown on the map), so no wait times were displayed.  That feature was working for me Friday night.

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Maybe have it as a fast-casual experience like Culvers where you order, they give you a number that you place on your table and they bring the food out to you. Then all you really have to do is go in. Order your food and get your number and there is no fussing with trays or feeling rushed to do everything.

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For a place like Skyline and some other places in the park the blame has to be put on the employees.

Now looking at other options, the ordering like Sheetz would be perfect. It was my idea as soon as I saw this topic. Great Minds Steph!

However at the burger joint near Vortex that lines moves very slow and it's just an employee taking orders. So not sure if screens would help or hurt in that situation.

When you look at a place like LaRosas it should flow quickly. Literally pick up a pizza and go. Yet some how that line moves so slow. Maybe a cash only or card only lines? More registers open?

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Have more staffed registers. Or, during a busy time have 1 register with a clear sign that says "meal plans or credit card only"... Then you wouldn't need to have any cash in that drawer and you could get people through fast (without having to fumble with payment).

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Biggest hold up I saw last year were those darn soda refill bottles, especially at Soak City.  Sorry, but waiting 40 minutes plus in line and the person in front of you pulls out 5 from her bag. Come on man, I just want a burger!  Also,  with the addition of the meal plan adding thousands of people who would normally NOT eat at park.  If you add food patrons you need to add additional food service stations.

 

I decided 2 years of the meal plan was enough and going back to a nice relaxing healthy packed lunch and a cold one at the car.  That's if I'm even able to enter and find a parking spot after reading about the new entrance and lot debacle.

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I would say that adding a small amount of queues will make the whole process go smoother. If they don't add new queues to food lines, the least they should do is enforce the ones that already exist. For example, last season I was at Chicken Shack and the line went beyond the entrance awning/roof. I waited in line in the hot sun and when I finally reached shade, I saw that the queues inside the building where roped off and guests where just going forward and ordering. This will not necessarily fix the speed of service, but it will definitely make the process of purchasing meals better organized.

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And utilizing the queues would allow guests a longer look at the menu boards without having to add any new ones.

The simple addition of clear dining-plan logos back to the menus would be nice too. I'm still not sure what is included at many locations and will have to ask at each place at some point as the season progresses. I know there is the published list, and I also know it is (and has been) incomplete.

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When you look at a place like LaRosas it should flow quickly. Literally pick up a pizza and go. Yet some how that line moves so slow. Maybe a cash only or card only lines? More registers open?

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I feel like this would help out at a lot of locations. The grab and go method. Places like Panda Express would not benefit from this since there are so many options. However, Chicken Shack would be a good option.

 

The slow service and abysmal food has sent me to Putz's.

Suggestions?

* Get RID of meal plans and souvenir bottles.

NOOOOO!!!! Okay get rid of the souvenir bottles. But I'd much rather pay a lump sum and eat off of my plan than shelling out $20 per meal (yes, $20....before I bought my dining plan Friday night, I ate at Chicken Shack and was charged $18.32 for a chicken tender meal w/drink). That'd be fine if the meal kept me full for the rest of the day, but I'd rather not pay $40 each visit to a park (and I visit parks quite often). 

 

I would say that adding a small amount of queues will make the whole process go smoother. If they don't add new queues to food lines, the least they should do is enforce the ones that already exist. For example, last season I was at Chicken Shack and the line went beyond the entrance awning/roof. I waited in line in the hot sun and when I finally reached shade, I saw that the queues inside the building where roped off and guests where just going forward and ordering. This will not necessarily fix the speed of service, but it will definitely make the process of purchasing meals better organized.

Panda Express could really utilize a queue line....waiting in hour in line on Saturday, snaking around tables and the line extending to the front of the stage isn't exactly the best method to get folks through the line.

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They had a lot of lost opportunity with foods and the app this past weekend. Friday was 10,000 or so season pass holders. Saturday was probably 75% or more season pass. Why didn't they push out notifications pushing the meal plan those days? Why not have people pay for it on the app using Apple Pay or Google Wallet? The money would have been intangible to the customers. But what do I know?

 

I did get a notification for 50% off funnel cakes on Saturday. 

 

When we ran into you outside of Reds, there was a 3 hour wait. This was at 6:00pm. We had Larosa's on International Street instead.

 

If ordering food on mobile (similar to Taco Bell) is implemented, please don't let Accesso handle it.

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Have it be where you can place your order and then be notified via cell phone when order is ready, if customer does not have a cell phone give the customer a buzzer like they have at the restaurants to notify them when their order is ready. Would be even better if you could place the order via the app instead of waiting in line with a cashier. And even better than that would be if you could stage the order to be ready at a set time (e.g. place my order a 3 to have it ready at 6). And a replacement for the app if you don't have one to place the order would be kiosks located outside of the food areas that can be used to place an order at ANY food area. 

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Building off of dtk1378's reply...

 

I had to visit the Apple Store back in July of last year due to issues with my iPhone. 

 

Went to the Genius Bar. About a 45 minute wait. Clerk takes my cell phone number and advises me I'll receive several text messages, once when I'm close to the front of the queue, and another once a representative is ready to assist me. The rest of the time allows me to walk around Kenwood Towne Centre checking out the new additions since it's been years since I've last visited.

 

Something similar would be a step in the right direction for the park.

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I love the meal plan.  I hope it never goes away.  However, maybe there could be a process where meal plan holders could use the plan imbedded into the pass to speed things up. 

 

I'd love to see the refill cups go away.  Ideally, I'd like to see many more refill stations in the park and a higher pass price with drinks included.  Or regular sized cups for cold water at each service location.

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They had a lot of lost opportunity with foods and the app this past weekend. Friday was 10,000 or so season pass holders. Saturday was probably 75% or more season pass. Why didn't they push out notifications pushing the meal plan those days? Why not have people pay for it on the app using Apple Pay or Google Wallet? The money would have been intangible to the customers. But what do I know?

 

They cannot add a dining plan at Kings Island to a Platinum Pass processed at another park, so I am sure Apple Pay or Google Wallet is out of the question :P

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They had a lot of lost opportunity with foods and the app this past weekend. Friday was 10,000 or so season pass holders. Saturday was probably 75% or more season pass. Why didn't they push out notifications pushing the meal plan those days? Why not have people pay for it on the app using Apple Pay or Google Wallet? The money would have been intangible to the customers. But what do I know?

They cannot add a dining plan at Kings Island to a Platinum Pass processed at another park, so I am sure Apple Pay or Google Wallet is out of the question :P

They cannot because of their own system limitations. Not anyone's problem but theirs.

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Or, because they CHOOSE to do business that way. It's been years. If platinum pass integration was a priority, it would have happened long before now. It hasn't, so it isn't and wasn't.

If food SERVICE was important (as opposed to collecting money for meal plans then protecting profitability by understaffing and making overutilization difficult by ensuring lengthy lines), then food SERVICE would be provided.

Management gets that which it funds, encourages, incentivizes and wants. What you see is what someone wanted and chose to pay for, allow and/or demand.

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Considering that poor food service on closing day is what finalized my decision to not purchase a season pass this year, I'll chime in.
 

Here are a few thoughts:

Maybe we can get the menu screens in front of the entrance to the restaurant, along with a scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen stating, please have your order selections ready before ordering. Also, have this on the menu screen in the line as well.


Minor correction: please have your order selections ready before reaching the ordering station. (Of COURSE you can't order until you know what your ordering selections are! ;))

 

But seriously, this is a great idea.
 

Also, at least at chicken shack, can there be a family register that has a longer tray counter so there is enough room for a family of 4 or 5 to fit their trays? The other be a "couples" counter like the existing registers that holds 2 trays without issues? That way larger groups can free up the other counter for smaller orders?


No. Everyone who does not need a hand free to pay can just stop being lazy and hold their tray in their hands. There is absolutely no reason why a single family needs to put four trays down on the register counter all at once. Also, a family of four does not need four trays. Two meals can fit on one tray, so that family only needs two trays.

 

And now my two cents (keeping in mind that I have not been to the park this season and likely won't be there until fall, if at all):

 

If you have a 30-minute line to get food, there is NO excuse for having ANY register closed. This includes having no excuse for having one entire side of a two-sided location (e.g. Chicken Shack or Hank's) closed. To constantly have registers and entire sides closed when there is a 30-minute line is, as Terpy mentioned above, attempting to maximize profits at the expense of the entire public, and THAT is precisely why I finally decided to not have a pass at all this year.

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Put another way, in this situation, lines create profits--or at least avoid more losses.

Why those on meal plans can't see that the full freight customer is highly annoyed by long lines, high prices, and poor food is simple. They THINK that THEY got a deal.

When and if the parks figure out that they are leaving in park spending on the table with how many of the full freight customers leaving the park for the parking lot or restaurants, this madness will stop.

And some, like Goble, once they leave the gates aren't coming back.

See also Fast Lane.

No, this wasn't supposed to be a bashing thread. And I'm not.

It's NOT most of the employees. It's poor training, poor line management, pricing decisions, staffing decisions. All caused by decisions. Management decisions. Probably high up management decisions. If not high up, the higher ups' inaction to fix this is an endorsement.

The food service you have is the food service you'll get, unless it stops being profitable the way it is or the parks figure out they are forfeiting higher profits.

It's the SYSTEM as implemented that is the problem.

And your meal plan purchase says "I'm okay with that. I will give you my money and you decide later what I get, when, how good it will be, and how long it will take."

Nibbling around the edges at small improvements is not going to fix this.

Find me at Putz's. Occasionally, i might buy something in the park at food service, or try to.

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We have one meal plan for our family and again it's so that having a little guy they get hungry every 2-4 hours. That allows us to eat at off times (10:45/11, 3,etc) so most of the time the lines are non-existent.

No one wants to bash employees but they are responsible for part of the problem. Either through their own fault or management. If you can't count change back quickly, or have a hard time making cheese coneys or can't figure out the pop machine that's all on the employee.

Not having another register open, that's a supervisor or a management positions fault.

Correct me if I'm wrong but, doesn't Festhaus (burger and pizza side) have 8 registers? There should be no reason they don't have the 8 open. If people can't up they are backing the line up.

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If nothing is done about an inefficient, unable, slow or otherwise unacceptable employee, then management has CHOSEN to accept that employee's conduct and performance and the effect that has on other employees and customers. Inaction is a choice.

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Reading reviews on a Workplace Review Site, Glass Door about KI, I see a general theme from people in food service

Serious Overhaul of Management should be required

Overworked

Almost no breaks(This one has got me curious)

No morale

https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Kings-Island-Reviews-E178894.htm

(Note it is like other websites were you have to sign up to read the whole thing.  <_< )

 

Kings Island needs a SERIOUS overhall of its food operations. I think they were doing fairly good in the first years I had a Gold Pass, 2012-2013 but ever since then and especially 2015 and MOST especially this year, it has been getting worse and worse. They have good quality of food on non busy days but when it is busy, they sacrifice quality for quantity and even then they still have those outrageous lines! 

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