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Eating treats ‘OK’ on a day out
A survey carried out on behalf of Merlin Entertainments has confirmed that Park Law
parents drop their guard when it comes to feeding their children on a family
day out.
By Heather M Eichenbaum Esq
The survey, conducted in the UK for Merlin by GFK NOP, revealed that 50% of
parents said they didn’t really mind what the kids ate on a day out. For those in
The Value of Certification
the 45-54 age group, mainly with older teens, the figure rose to 67%. By
contrast, 94% of mothers and 89% of fathers said they were very careful about
Whether simply improving park employee performance, addressing
what their children ate at home.
issues raised by local or independent inspectors, or defending against a
However, the majority of parents (61%) do now expect to find a range of
personal injury lawsuit, the value of industry certifications can be
healthy eating options at a theme park (or 71% or 25-34-year-old parents) and
tremendous.
62% believe parks offer a balanced choice. This had been noted particularly
Certifications can be obtained from organisations such as NAARSO
amongst the C2/C1 groups, which account for a larger percentage of park
(National Association of Amusement Ride Safety Officials) or AIMS
visitors.
(Amusement Industry Manufacturers and Suppliers) and validate an
“Theme park visits are not every day
employee’s knowledge and experience within the industry. For instance,
events, they are a treat,” highlights Gary
a NAARSO certification, at levels I through III and with possible add-on
Henderson, Merlin Entertainments' food
certifications such as Supervisor and Instructor, requires successful
& beverage director. “While families
testing results and years of experience, at increasing levels based on the
having a day of escapism in a theme
level of certification to be obtained. Each level requires completion of
park may want to take the day off from
annual continuing education credits, thereby ensuring a NAARSO
their balanced lifestyle, we believe that
certification is evidence of an ongoing commitment to safety. NAARSO
ultimately it’s all about the guest’s
certifications are available worldwide.
choice. We are providing a good
Of what value is a NAARSO or other similar certification to your
balance of healthier meals as well as the
park? First, it must be assumed that an employee with greater
indulgent treats most people associate
knowledge of safety and park maintenance and operations issues will
with the leisure industry.”
be a more valuable employee. Their capabilities should increase as the
In 2008 Merlin, which boasts 21 attractions across the UK, reduced prices on
level of knowledge increases. It is always beneficial for employees to
its healthier choice foods. It has since seen sales increase at its unlimited pasta
attend courses that will refresh them on skills and safety efforts. Further,
and salad stations in its pizza restaurants. Fruit pots such as grapes, strawberries
they can bring back the knowledge learned and share it with fellow
and fruit salads also feature among the top selling lines at sites such as Alton
employees. The result should certainly be a safer and more productive
Towers.
work environment.
This season the group plans to review the levels of salt, calories, sugar and fat
Second, having industry-certified employees is beneficial if you
in its menus, use only traceable and GM-free ingredients, and implement new
operate in a venue where outside inspectors, whether government or
initiatives such as a burger with five “hidden” vegetables at Alton Towers and a
independents working for an insurance company, inspect your park.
“non fried” meal zone at Warwick Castle.
Having employees thoroughly trained in ride mechanics, operations and
One worrying statistic for F&B operators uncovered in the survey (carried out in
safety concerns will allow for better communication with the inspectors,
January 2010) was that 84% of parents aged 25-34 are likely to take some of
a more thorough understanding of the inspection process and where
their own food with them on a day out.
problems lie. An employee with such a certification should garner
greater respect from the inspector, again resulting in a more productive
and “smoother” relationship.
Universal Studios Singapore
Finally, from a litigation perspective, industry certifications are
invaluable. In addition to courses on ride mechanics and safety (such
The new Universal Studios at Resorts World Sentosa in Singapore opened for as ASTM, pneumatics, braking systems, hydraulic inspections and
a week of previews beginning February 14. Tickets were sold for S$10 restraint systems), NAARSO courses include many on record keeping,
(US$7.10/€5.25), allowing partial access to theme park, as well as Resort
giving testimony in litigation, incident reporting and other valuable
World’s casino and Lake of Dreams.
information that can greatly benefit your park when in defence of a
Universal Studios Singapore comprises a mix of new and tried and tested
claim or lawsuit. Having a client familiar with the litigation process,
Universal attractions split across seven key zones: Hollywood, New York,
and how to best prepare for it before the cause of action ever accrues,
Madagascar, Ancient Egypt, The Lost World, Sci Fi City and Far Far Away.
makes the job of defending your park easier and more likely to
Over 10 of the attractions are unique to Singapore including Steven
succeed.
Spielberg’s Lights, Camera Action, a pair of duelling Battlestar Galactica
Of course, the most valuable part of having industry-certified
rollercoasters by Vekoma, Jurassic Park Rapids Adventure, Treasure Hunters,
employees in litigation is that your counsel can use the certifications as
Enchanted Airways and Madagascar: A Crate Adventure.
evidence of (a) your employees’ level of knowledge and experience;
The first phase of
Resorts World Sentosa,
and (b) your park’s commitment to safety and education within the
which includes four
industry. Nothing will refute a plaintiff’s attorney’s claim that you are
hotels and a “Festive
ambivalent about patron safety better than showing that you send your
Walk” entertainment
employees to an outside, objective source for education and verification
district, opened in
of his or her industry knowledge. This evidence can be invaluable in
January. An official
defending lawsuits.
opening date for
Contact your national trade association to see what certifications may
Universal Studios
be available in your area.
Singapore has yet to be
confirmed.
Heather Eichenbaum is a Member with Spector Gadon & Rosen, located
in Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Florida. Clients include Six
LEFT: A taste of what to
Flags, Steel Pier, IRM, Holiday World and Reithoffer Shows. Heather can
expect at the new park be reached at +1 215-241-8856 or heichenbaum@lawsgr.com
MARCH 2010
9
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