At 04:43 PM 12/30/03, Dana Dorsett wrote:


>For the life of me, I can't figure how Stowe's crummy, cramped sometimes
>mean-spirited food services have survived:  Cafeteria area segregated
>from brown-baggers, being asked to leave after eating, etc. etc. Eating
>anywhere at Stowe has never made me feel like a valued customer- quite
>the opposite. If they need more lodge/service space, they should figure
>out a way to build it, not merely allow it too become miserable to use.

Okay, first let me state that I'm in agreement with 90 percent of this
thread - in general, not in specifics.  I understand why ski areas charge
what they do for food, and I have no problem with it.  The season is short
and the costs of creating and maintaining a food service physical plant
that can manage the volume of a ski area on its busiest days is not
inconsiderable.  And as an ex-chef, I can also attest that it IS, in
fact,  possible to serve decent food in such facilities that at least
create the impression of REASONABLE value for money - not bargains,
certainly, but reasonable.  In other words, at least kiss me while you're
schtupping me.

There is no excuse for poor service in cafeteria lines; the existence of
same means one or more of the following:  bad hiring, bad training or bad
management oversight.  Now:  to be fair to Stowe, it must be borne in mind
that for many years Stowe's ability to change its physical plant has been
severely limited by the fact that Mount Mansfield Corp. leases the land
from the State, and as such has some pretty strict guidelines with regard
to expansion of physical plant.  This is one of the reasons they've worked
so hard to get their village approved - so they can afford to improve
services.  You could argue: yabbut what if they simply tore down old
facilities and replaced them on the same footprint with better?  Not that
simple. Getting approvals?  Battle royale.  Further, the cost of doing so
on the existing footprint would likely be prohibitive; why build a
$10,000,000 base facility if it's not positioned to serve more people than
what you already have?

There's another element here.  I don't know if this is the case at Stowe,
but some resort food service operations are essentially
concessions.  Depending on the agreement with the concessionaire, resorts
can have surprisingly little management control over what their guests see
and experience - and guests don't know the difference.  Nor should
they.  But if an agreement is in place and the resort doesn't have the
ability to tell the concessionaire to get it together, the guest can have a
horrible experience.  Yes, in these cases it's management's fault for
entering into an agreement that hamstrings it thus.  Like I said, I'm not
making excuses for anyone.  But these factors may be in play here.


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