Tapping into technology to feed the visitor experience

Creating more personal connections between the visitors, the food and the park

People want more than just an ingredient list. In the age of information, they want to know what they’re buying. They want to know where their food comes from, how it was raised, and who grew it.

And there’s something else people want. It’s a growing trend, that anyone who takes a moment to look up from their smartphone can see. They want quick and easy access to information through technology.

Being long-time partners with the National Park Service, we thought it was time to bring both tech and transparency to the food service program at Yosemite National Park.

Since taking over the Yosemite operations in 2016, we are making significant investments in food and beverage facilities. The first major transformation will begin in October 2017, when the popular Degnan’s Deli will undergo a full redesign, offering an enhanced menu and visitor experience.

As part of this initiative, we’ll be installing the park’s first ever self-service kiosks. Sure, they’ll perform basics: ordering, nutritional information, dietary restrictions—all of the functions we’ve come to expect at a self-service station.

Tablet touchscreen in use image

But we want our kiosks to go beyond what’s expected. With that in mind, each kiosk will include a comprehensive ingredient list and full sourcing backstories, so customers can make truly informed decisions when choosing their meal.

National Parks attract more active, health conscious and environmentally responsible individuals. And when immersed in a beautiful, lush landscape like Yosemite, those needs are amplified. Playing our part in being socially responsible and transparent with clients and visitors, the new kiosks will list the full sourcing backstory of each menu item. So customers have the confidence of knowing where their food comes from.

We try to purchase local, seasonal and responsibly sourced products, whenever possible, at the parks we serve. It’s our belief that though these processes, we’re able to impact the locations, the visitors and the surrounding community. These kiosks help us tell that story and start a dialogue with our customers. 

Not only do we work to promote food education to park visitors, we also encourage our chefs to create personal farm-to-table connections with the ingredients. Each new chef at Yosemite is brought to a local farm to understand the entire growth to harvest process. 

Driving this effort is a desire to create more personal connections between the visitors, the food and the park. They come here expecting jaw-dropping views and they leave surprised by the conscientious thinking that goes into every detail.

And as we plan further renovations at Yosemite National Park, we’ll continue to find ways to build connections and elevate the park experience for the over 4 million visitors a year.

Yosemite sun through trees