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crazy4wdw
04-19-2007, 02:41 PM
Patina Restaurant Group to operate Italy Restaurant@ Epcot

Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has selected the Patina Restaurant Group to be the new operating participant for the restaurant at the Italy Pavilion at Epcot ®.

The Patina Restaurant Group will be running the operation beginning September 1, 2007 and a new restaurant concept is scheduled to open Fall 2008.

The Patina Restaurant Group was also one of the original operating participants at the Downtown Disney® District at the Disneyland® Resort in Anaheim, starting in 2001.

We’re very excited to have a strong strategic partner like the Patina Restaurant Group bring its world-class cuisine to the Italy Pavilion.

raidermatt
04-19-2007, 03:57 PM
They operate Catal Restaurant and Uva bar, Naple's and Tortilla Joe's in DL's Downtown Disney.

HarambeGuy
04-19-2007, 04:05 PM
Good thing or bad thing? I'm not familiar with any of those outfits.

At least it's not Olive Garden as was feared by some.

Horace Horsecollar
04-19-2007, 04:12 PM
I consider this good news.

The only restaurant operated by Patina Restaurant Group that I've eaten at is the Uva Bar at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. I enjoyed it.

I was so afraid that the restaurant in Italy would go to Landry's Restaurants. I have not been impressed by Landry's Seafood Restaurant and I have especially negative feelings about Rainforest Cafe. With two restaurants now under construction at WDW by Landry's Restaurants, I was afraid there would soon be another.

mitros
04-19-2007, 07:57 PM
I consider this good news.

The only restaurant operated by Patina Restaurant Group that I've eaten at is the Uva Bar at Downtown Disney in Anaheim. I enjoyed it.

I was so afraid that the restaurant in Italy would go to Landry's Restaurants. I have not been impressed by Landry's Seafood Restaurant and I have especially negative feelings about Rainforest Cafe. With two restaurants now under construction at WDW by Landry's Restaurants, I was afraid there would soon be another.

Would it be safe for me to assume that the two you are referring to would be T-Rex and Yak & Yeti?

Horace Horsecollar
04-19-2007, 08:37 PM
Would it be safe for me to assume that the two you are referring to would be T-Rex and Yak & Yeti?
Yes.

I hope that these will be good restaurants, despite being run by Landry's.

I've had excellent meals at the Bahama Breeze chain. Bahama Breeze is owned by Darden Concepts, Inc., which also owns the dreadful Red Lobster chain and the even more dreadful Olive Garden chain. So it's possible for the same company to have good and bad divisions.

Brian_WDW74
04-19-2007, 10:14 PM
I hope that these will be good restaurants, despite being run by Landry's.

If the T-Rex Cafe at DTD will be anything like the existing one here in Kansas City, then you may be disappointed. I think the theming is a bit better than your typical Rainforest Cafe, especially for kids, but the food quality is about the same.

*Brian*

manning
04-19-2007, 11:10 PM
Patinagroup website

http://www.patinagroup.com/

DancingBear
04-20-2007, 06:05 AM
Maybe the restaurant will be good, maybe not. But it's a departure from the attempt to have chefs or restaurants actually from the country being represented, which is disappointing.

If you're not going to do that, why outsource again?

EUROPACL
04-20-2007, 07:35 AM
If you're not going to do that, why outsource again?

Its the new Disney model....make money without having to produce or run anything themselves.

MegansMom
04-20-2007, 11:25 AM
I'm going to WDW in November this year. Will there be no restaurant in the Italy Pavilion to eat at?

Luv2Roam
04-20-2007, 04:29 PM
I have never heard of the Patina Group either. (Which does not mean a thing.) I am sure they are good, for the fact alone that it is a 20 year agreement!
I am hoping for a good Italian counter service to be included.

Brian_WDW74
04-20-2007, 05:04 PM
I'm going to WDW in November this year. Will there be no restaurant in the Italy Pavilion to eat at?

According to the FAQ that Disney posted for CMs, a restaurant will continue to be operated in the location until the new "concept" restaurant opens next year. No details were given except that "the Patina Restaurant Group will showcase similar Italian fare from some of its premiere Italian restaurants."

*Brian*

DancingBear
04-22-2007, 07:39 AM
I am sure they are good, for the fact alone that it is a 20 year agreement!Where did you get the 20 years from?

Microcell
04-22-2007, 07:40 AM
If the T-Rex Cafe at DTD will be anything like the existing one here in Kansas City, then you may be disappointed. I think the theming is a bit better than your typical Rainforest Cafe, especially for kids, but the food quality is about the same.

*Brian*

Ditto! It is absolutely an atmospehere thing.

DisneyBaby!
04-22-2007, 10:57 PM
I was not able to pull up the website listed, but found their profile on careerbuilder and they have many restaurants, very high end ones at that, at high traffic tourist locations in NYC as well as the west coast, and their flagship Patina Restaurant, was moved to the Walt Disney Concert Hall which is where we will find the relationship. I work in the industry (food) and I have heard of them and expect nothing but greatness.

DisneyBaby!
04-22-2007, 11:55 PM
I forgot to say that I am not surprised that they are not going with an "Italian" owned company, I disagree that you need to be from that country to be authentic. Also, by leasing out the space, they are assured of a revenue stream, they get money even if the restaurant looses money, and they most definately will get percentage rent as the sales go up, a no-brainer for Disney. From what I have seen of their operations in pictures, this will be a top notch, well executed operation, a win for the guest for sure.

DancingBear
04-23-2007, 07:54 AM
I forgot to say that I am not surprised that they are not going with an "Italian" owned company, I disagree that you need to be from that country to be authentic.I'm not claiming that Americans can't make authentic Italian food (although the Mexican restaurant in Epcot offered more authentic offerings than were available even in most American cities at the time it opened), just pointing out that it's a departure from the original philosophy. It was supposed to enhance the guests' experience to be eating at a restaurant that was designed and run by a restaurant, or chefs, from the country. Just like trying to have CMs who are actually from the country.

Elsewhere it's reported that Patina will have an Italian chef running the restaurant. And certainly Joachim Splichal of Patina has a great rep. (As far as I'm aware, there is no such flagship chef or restaurant for the Landry's chain).

Also, by leasing out the space, they are assured of a revenue stream, they get money even if the restaurant loses money, and they most definately will get percentage rent as the sales go up, a no-brainer for Disney.It's a safer choice, certainly, but we have to start to wonder just what it is that Disney thinks it can still do well. And how much it can tolerate not having direct management control over the employees that guests encounter throughout their experience at the resort.

DisneyBaby!
04-23-2007, 09:21 AM
I don't see not having complete control over the hireing being a problem. If you make the right decision in who you do business with, there is no need worry about who they hire. I see it this way, ever work for a boss who is a micro manager, checks into everything you do? Do feel you did the best work for that manager, or did you spend most of you time just trying to make them happy or do things just to keep them off of your back.

I also don't think this is a problem of what they can or can not do anymore but a reality of how business is done today. Don't try to do everything yourself, seek partnerships with business that complement your "areas for development". Not good withh details, than hire people who are great at that. Find what you do well and do that better than anyone else. So maybe Disney is great at managing partnerships or leasing out their space, which never was run by Disney in the first place, and the end result for the guest is as good or better, than why not.

the restuarant I work for, a national Italian chain, definately NOT Olive Garden, used to make all of the stuffed shells, manicotti and dressing every day, in house, but than we found a company that made it better, faster and for less money that we could do, and in the end, the guest could not tell a difference, so why not, to hang onto this stubborn idea that we had to do it all ourselves while we micro managed ourselved out of business?

Sorry, I'm a bit long winded at times

Another Voice
04-23-2007, 11:43 AM
So maybe Disney is great at managing partnerships or leasing out their space
Name one Disney business or professional partnership that's worked well in the last twenty years. Perhaps a quick call to Wlfgang Puck or Mondavi would be interesting.

And if Walt Disney World becomes little more than a shopping mall - with all the space leased out to other brands and other companies...what makes WDW unique? Disney tried all of this at California Adventure and it was a complete disaster for everyone involved.

Normal people don't go to WDW to eat at a Rainforest Cafe - that's what the local mall is for.

HarambeGuy
04-23-2007, 12:18 PM
Name one Disney business or professional partnership that's worked well in the last twenty years. Perhaps a quick call to Wlfgang Puck or Mondavi would be interesting.

And if Walt Disney World becomes little more than a shopping mall - with all the space leased out to other brands and other companies...what makes WDW unique? Disney tried all of this at California Adventure and it was a complete disaster for everyone involved.

Normal people don't go to WDW to eat at a Rainforest Cafe - that's what the local mall is for.

I'm ready to order my membership card to The Element now. To whom do I send the application?

DisneyKidds
04-23-2007, 01:31 PM
The Patina Group restaurants I've eaten at include the Nick & Stef's Steakhouse in NYC, and Cucina & Co in Macy's in NYC. While very different types of establishments (a high end NY steakhouse and a food court marketplace), both have good food and seem to be well run. Not that that gives any indication how well they'll do Italian in Epcot, but I'm willing to give them a shot.

I agree that it is a step away from what I liked about some of the Epcot restaurants.....an original and famous Italian resturant running their show in the Italy pavillion, three famous French chefs running the joint in France, etc.

raidermatt
04-23-2007, 02:33 PM
Also, by leasing out the space, they are assured of a revenue stream, they get money even if the restaurant looses money, and they most definately will get percentage rent as the sales go up, a no-brainer for Disney.

If it's a no-brainer, why is Disney operating any restaurants at all?

Don't try to do everything yourself, seek partnerships with business that complement your "areas for development".
Disney's "areas for development" seem to be getting pretty narrow. Restaurants and hotels are pretty significant parts of the overall WDW experience. We aren't talking about whether they make the pasta in-house or not.

That said, the issue isn't just that its being leased. Its the reasons why. Leasing because it provides a more authentic experience in a place called "World Showcase" is far different than leasing because you don't want to take the risk of operating a restaurant in your own theme park.

DancingBear
04-23-2007, 03:33 PM
I don't see not having complete control over the hireing being a problem. If you make the right decision in who you do business with, there is no need worry about who they hire. I see it this way, ever work for a boss who is a micro manager, checks into everything you do? Do feel you did the best work for that manager, or did you spend most of you time just trying to make them happy or do things just to keep them off of your back.One does not equal the other. Having the ultimate control doesn't mean you micromanage. If Disney has a great general manager running a unit, and empowers them to run the place, then "Disney" doesn't have to micro-manage.

OTOH, if an employee of Landry's or the Patina Group ruins a guest's experience, then (1) the guest will ultimately blame Disney, and (2) Disney will only be able to work through channels within the terms of its agreement with Patina.

So maybe Disney is great at managing partnerships or leasing out their space.....Now that's a skillset that distinguishes Disney from the competition!

CanadianGuy
04-23-2007, 03:36 PM
Does ANYONE know who operates Alfredo's currently? My understanding is that it's another leased operator.. no?

I'm confused about the hub-bub. Epcot restaurants have been leased out for many years .. haven't they??

Why would we be surprised when they continue that mode of operation? Or is the upset with the CHOICE of operator? I guess that would make more sense to me.

Knox

raidermatt
04-23-2007, 03:53 PM
I'd call it a very minor hub-bub in the grand Disney scheme, and yes, its mostly about the choice and the potential reasons behind it.

My only point about leasing is that while it might make sense in this instance, the reasons put forth by DisneyBaby aren't the reasons it makes sense.

If it does make sense in this instance, its to provide a somewhat authentic Italian experience within World Showcase. Or at least authentic for Disney. That makes Patina a somewhat questionable choice.

But I guess we'll just have to wait and see what they have in mind.

CanadianGuy
04-23-2007, 04:08 PM
Thanks Matt for the explanation... I get it now.

Patina's roots are clearly in 'french bistro' style restaurants with a Californian (or New York) twist.. so yeah.. this is a puzzler. Altho I see they have an agreement for the Walt Disney Concert Hall... I wonder if that played into the decision?

Knox

Another Voice
04-23-2007, 04:17 PM
Does ANYONE know who operates Alfredo's currently?
It's owned by Alfredo's of Rome - the same restaurant that created Fettuccini Alfredo for all us uncouth American tourists.

What people are complaining about is not the change in leases, but the change in the entire mindset of the company. The reason the original restaurant in the Italy Pavilion was leased out was because Disney wanted to give EPCOT Center visitors an authentic experience. Who better than one of the top restaurants in Rome to run an Italian restaurant. EPCOT Center was all about show and the guest. Most people will never have a chance to eat in a high-end restaurant in Rome, this was going to be the next best thing.

The move to Pantina is purely an economic move. It has nothing to do with Epcot’s theme. It has nothing to do with making WDW a unique and interesting experience. It has nothing to do with guest satisfaction. There’s nothing even imaginative about it – the menu is going to be recycled from other Patina outlets across the country. Instead of an “authentic Italian experience” in the Italy pavilions, we’re going to get “Italian-like” because they toss in a sun dried tomato or two. They might as well have brought in the Olive Garden.

It also shows how little faith Disney has in its own ability to run its own theme parks. From hotels to restaurants to shop Disney is running away from its core businesses in a panic. Disney just isn’t interested enough to run the place well, and they certain don’t respect us, the guests, well enough to try either.

Altho I see they have an agreement for the Walt Disney Concert Hall... I wonder if that played into the decision?
The Walt Disney Company has nothing to do with the concert hall. The hall was started by Lillian Disney as a tribute to Walt outside of the company. Diane Dinsey did shame Eisner in to coughing up some money for the project, but hall is a civic building used by the LA Philamonic.

Patina has been moving into the high-end of L.A. dining for a while now. If I recall correctly, they ran the restaurant at the old Music Center (which the Disney Hall essentially replaced), so they snapped up the space in the new facility. It was a seperate deal to have them open restarutants at Disneyland's Downtown Disney. They were one of several companies that were lured into the project - along with Wolfgang Puck, Mondavi, and Rainforest/House of Blues. Their willingness to suffer at Disneyland probably got them the lease at Epcot.

And if the grapevine is to be beleived, Italy won't be the last place they take over.

CanadianGuy
04-23-2007, 04:34 PM
Thanks for the add'tl info. Interesting reading for sure.

Knox

Another Voice
04-23-2007, 05:20 PM
Trying to dig through a foggy memory here about the other places... The original goal for all of the pavilions was that each resturant would be operated by a famous restaurtant from the pavilion's host. Disney was able to get some, but not others.

Everyone knows the restaurtant in Mexico is run by the San Angel Inn of Mexico City. When EPCOT Center first opened they offered true, upscale mexican dishes. They quickly found out most visitors to Florida were expecting Taco Bell; over time their menu has really been downgraded (one has to morn the loss of the chocolate chicken...). The two main facilities in France were opened by "the three French chefs", although I think I heard one of the them has dropped out of the partnership. The resturants in Japan were originally owned by the large Japanese retailer that also sponsored the store (they were described to me back in the day as "Japan's Sears"). I don't know if things have changed.

I think the restaurant in Morroco may have been leased to a private company (the pavilion was paid for the Morrocan Ministry of Tourism, but I can't recall about the shops). I think the Germany pavilion has flittered with some sponsorships, but it and the Norway pavilion I think have been Disney run from their opening (I could be wrong). And China is a "different" case. The pavilion is run by a special company - back in 1982 the U.S. and China weren't doing a lot of business together and so "special arrangements" had to be made. Today it's rather funny to think of Cold War politics having a role at WDW, but everything about the China pavilion was exceptional back at opening. People have such a short memory.

One side note - to finance Disneyland, Walt sold off all the food facilities at Disneyland to ABC (yes, the TV network that now owns Disney). But ABC and the company they hired to run the place did such a poor job that Walt saved all the first year's profits from Disneyland and bought out the contract. He swore never again to let an outside company manage standards at his park.

CanadianGuy
04-23-2007, 05:30 PM
AV :

Any idea about the Canadian Pavillion? I remember back when I was young and stupid I applied to work there.. and was told I'd be working for a company other than Disney .. but on Disney property.

I'd be curious to know who runs that...

I know all us Canadians have been jokingly hoping Tim Horton's would open a coffee shop there.. We need our fix when in FL. :)

Knox

Another Voice
04-23-2007, 06:40 PM
Wow - foggy memory again so maybe some can correct me if I'm wrong. I think there's a two parter here. If I recall correctly the WorldShowcase crew works for some a shell company, and then you're assigned to spot in the pavilion. There's some "educational" thing going on and some imigration issues as well that Disney needed to swing clear of.

In Canada, I think the stores were leased, but I can't recall to whom (it seemed like all they sold for a while was Roots clothing). I can't even recall if it was even to a Canadian company; after a while Disney had to start doing some fudging on the "authenic business" angle. Post-1984 there was a huge push to make more money from merchandise (which is why the "Ports of Entries" shops were built - Disney owned they could keep all the money).

Canada was always one of the odd pavilions. It was one they "had to have" in World Showcase, but they were never able to get any sponsorship or any real participation.

CanadianGuy
04-23-2007, 07:23 PM
Yes.. Roots does have a heavy presence there (still) so I wouldn't be surprised if they had some kind of investment.

I'll do some research from my end and see what I can find out.

Knox

DancingBear
04-24-2007, 09:34 AM
What people are complaining about is not the change in leases, but the change in the entire mindset of the company. The reason the original restaurant in the Italy Pavilion was leased out was because Disney wanted to give EPCOT Center visitors an authentic experience. Who better than one of the top restaurants in Rome to run an Italian restaurant. EPCOT Center was all about show and the guest. Most people will never have a chance to eat in a high-end restaurant in Rome, this was going to be the next best thing.What he said. It's all about the show.

I haven't eaten at San Angel for a long time, sorry to hear their menu has declined. Too bad, because 25 years later, much more of the country has advanced beyond Taco Bell, through the efforts of Diana Kennedy, Rick Bayless and such.

DisneyBaby!
04-24-2007, 10:39 AM
Again, people on the boards are making assumptions about what will happen with this company running the restaurant, which we are all free to do. But I tend not to think everything is going to be done wrong. Maybe I was not entirely clear when I said "areas for development" I was using the current corporate double-speak for weakness, so, ok maybe managing parnerships is not the best example, but maybe by going with this company, they can focus on what they are known for and did in the past, running the parks. And, sorry to say, the last time I checked, Disney is a business, they are here to make money so makining a decision for economic reasons is not a bad thing, If again the result to the guest is the same or better. And just because a restaurant is originally known for one thing, does not mean it will do better in another. Look at Lettuce Entertain You here in Chicago. The started with a puby casual style restaurant with a salad bar, and not they have some of the top restaurants in the city as well as the nation and have top French chefs doing classical French dishes that you will not find almost anywhere in the US.

DancingBear
04-24-2007, 10:59 AM
Again, people on the boards are making assumptions about what will happen with this company running the restaurant, which we are all free to do. But I tend not to think everything is going to be done wrong.Are you even reading the responses? We're not making such assumptions at all. As A-V capably pointed out, we're talking about the change in Disney's approach to Epcot.

And, sorry to say, the last time I checked, Disney is a business, they are here to make money...It is so tiresome to hear this line trotted out again and again. We all understand Disney is a business. Nobody said anything to the contrary in any way.

DancingBear
04-24-2007, 11:03 AM
...maybe by going with this company, they can focus on what they are known for and did in the past, running the parks.The restaurants are a major part of the park experience. And again, I wasn't saying they shouldn't contract the restaurant out (after all it was contracted out before), but that I didn't understand why they had to do so if it wasn't for the "show" purposes for which it was done previously.

Another Voice
04-24-2007, 11:16 AM
the last time I checked, Disney is a business,
Exactly – the question is which business does Disney want to be in.

Disney used to be in the entertainment business. They made huge amounts of money from presenting unique, different and exciting places to visit. People used to pay huge amounts of money to visit WDW because it was the only place around to see and experience what Disney offered.

Today, however, Disney appears to be in the distribution business. Disney isn’t interested in creating any more, it simply wants to resell what others create – from television networks to Bruckheimer movies and now to restaurants at WDW. Disney is more interested is skimming 5% off of other people’s sales than they are in keeping 100% if they did it themselves.

To me this is a huge mistake. People will pay huge bucks for the truly unique, for the truly special. But creating takes time, effort and talent – virtues Disney hasn’t displayed for a decade now. The entire company has simply given up and looks only at making the easy buck instead of working hard for the big riches. Disney is small time thinking.

Patina at Epcot isn’t going to offer anything I can’t find at a dozen snooty places downtown. Trendy fusion Italian places are a dime a dozen; why would any rationale adult drop five grand on a trip to WDW to get what they can get at the local entertainment center? How long can WDW maintain its edge, its popularity when it’s nothing more than Mall of America – Orlando?

YoHo
04-24-2007, 12:57 PM
I was using the current corporate double-speak for weakness, so, ok maybe managing parnerships is not the best example, but maybe by going with this company, they can focus on what they are known for and did in the past, running the parks.

Blue Bayou, Disney Village marketplace, King Stefan's, Liberty tree tavern.

Yeah, Disney's never been known for running resturants


Seems to me they used to be really good at it.

And of course, you're ignoring the fact that that restaurant was being outsourced to begin with.
To a famous Italian restaurant to provide a true authentic Italian experience.

It seems to me, that if Disney wants to focus on running the parks, that includes understanding the whole point of the park in the first place right? I mean, how can you run a park successfully when the theme is a world's fair like authenticity and then pull out one of the most authentic aspects of the place and replace it with a generic American corporate entity? Seriously, how does that logic work?

DisneyKidds
04-24-2007, 01:19 PM
they are here to make money
Just to pile on a little bit more after what others have said.....we all know this. Nobody made any statements to the contrary. Nobody is asking Dinsey to give away the farm. Afterall, most of us are shareholders as well as fans and critics. The question ultimately boils down to what is the most effective way to make the most money in the long term.

When Disney focused on creating great content and delivering unique experiences the money followed. Sure, there was a time before Eisner's tenure when things got bad, and for a good portion of Eisner's first 10 years even he held an emphasis on content, story and creativity, notwithstanding his ever present tendencies to overmanage, tendencies which would become pronounced in his second decade. But even under Eisner through the early 90's the money flowed. Disney created, and the people responded. But then things changed. Personnel issues, bad deals, changes in the industry. A variety of things led the focus away from the content, the story, the uniqueness......and the spotlight focused on the money first and the creation second. From there it has been a steady trip downhill.

So this Patina development is just another in a long line of decisions that place the emphasis in the wrong place. Rather than looking to create a great and unique experience in the Italy pavillion, something they had done with Alfredos even though it was a lease arrangement, Disney has gone looking for a corporate entity that can step in and run the place showing a tidy margin in the powerpoint presentation, even if the experience is nothing to write home about.

Can you see the difference in thinking? Yes, be a business and make money.....but take a hard look at HOW you are making the money. Todays' Disney seems to be moving forward unimpeded with the second decade Eisner mentality. The focus is on making business decision that will contribute to next quarter's share of this years' 20% growth target, rather than making a decision that might not contribute as much this quarter, but would most likely lead to greater economic growth in the long term. Decisions that could allow the company to redevelope a soul and strive for greatness once again, rather than settling for a distribution fee on what somebody else has to offer.

ASilmser
04-24-2007, 02:30 PM
And, sorry to say, the last time I checked, Disney is a business, they are here to make money so makining a decision for economic reasons is not a bad thing

I had posted these quotations on another thread, but they certainly seem appropriate here:

"It's no secret that we were sticking just about every nickel we had on the chance that people would really be interested in something totally new and unique in the field of entertainment."

"We did it (Disneyland), in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster - closed and forgotten within the first year."

"I dream, I test my dreams against my beliefs, I dare to take risks, and I execute my vision to make those dreams come true."

"You’re dead if you aim only for kids. Adults are only kids grown up, anyway."

"Get a good idea and stay with it. Dog it, and work at it until it's done right."

"Disneyland is not just another amusement park. It's unique, and I want it kept that way. Besides, you don't work for a dollar - you work to create and have fun."

"People look at me in many ways. They've said, 'The guy has no regard for money.' That is not true. I have had regard for money. It depends on who's saying that. Some people worship money as something you've got to have piled up in a big pile somewhere. I've only thought about money in one way, and that is to do something with it. I don't think there's a thing I own that I will ever get the benefit of except through doing things with it. I don't even want the dividends from the stock in the studio, because the government's going to take it away. I'd rather have that in (the company) working..."


Many of us just miss this kind of vision.