The Oklahoma Department of Recreation and Tourism has made public the information regarding the restaurant group that will be responsible for managing six state parks. Following a gap of almost a year since Swadley’s Foggy Bottom Kitchen’s association was terminated by the state, a new restaurant is set to take over its operations.
In 2022, the Legislative Office of Fiscal Transparency uncovered that the department has improperly utilized millions of taxpayers’ money to fund the former chain. As a result, the previous director was removed from their position and faced legal consequences. Following these events, the area has remained unoccupied.
On Wednesday, the tourism department declared that Ratatouille Inc. will start providing services to visitors at the park over Memorial Day weekend. Six months ago, Shelley Zumwalt stepped into the role of executive director of the department with a significant amount of responsibility on her hands. Zumwalt stated that it is the most superior thing. Rebuilding confidence in the department was a major objective for her, and she sees the vendor as an ideal match.
According to her, the group operates various restaurant ideas within the city. The one that people may recognize the most is Falcone’s Pizza. The restaurants will offer American food instead of only pizza and the menu will be created especially for the parks. Zumwalt addressed various queries and stated that the presence of chicken fried steak on the menu is a source of relief. The new department head is surely feeling relieved that their work started on day one. Since October, I have actively worked on devising a successful plan for how we will accomplish this task. Zumwalt believes that to excel, one must take a unique approach. She devoted her evenings to enlightening the public prior to any proposal in the parks.
This also implied that she had to excuse herself from the committee responsible for evaluating seven distinct proposals. Zumwalt stated that his excessive involvement in the process would not lead to success in the end, regardless of the result. This would raise doubts about the efficacy of his participation. However, other organizations, such as the Office of Management and Enterprise Services, were also involved in the process. In the end, the committee selected the company which provides both food truck services and catering.
Zumwalt thinks that their business plan is strong and well-thought-out, and it will enable them to offer services throughout the year and achieve success. This time, it will be solely up to the company to achieve success. The government will not provide any financial compensation for restaurant losses.
Opening Memorial Day weekend 2023, the restaurants will be located in these six state parks:
- Lake Murray State Park – Ardmore
- Robbers Cave State Park – Wilburton
- Quartz Mountain State Park – Lone Wolf
- Roman Nose State Park – Watonga
- Sequoyah State Park – Hulbert
- Beavers Bend State Park – Broken Bow
Impact On Local Economy
The announcement of a new restaurant group for Oklahoma State Parks is sure to have an impact on the local economy.
In addition to boosting economic activity, this venture may also create jobs in areas that need them most. It is estimated that each location would bring up to ten full-time positions with competitive wages. These roles are essential as they provide individuals with much needed income while bolstering their respective communities through job creation and tax contributions.
This project can be seen as an opportunity for growth not only within the hospitality sector, but also for surrounding businesses such as attractions, retail outlets and others who benefit from increased visitation at these parks due to added amenities like dining options. As a result, investments in tourism related infrastructure can increase significantly leading to further economic development opportunities over time.
The new restaurant group announced for Oklahoma state parks is sure to be a welcome addition. The partnership between the park system and the renowned hospitality company will bring many benefits to visitors, including diverse menu options at affordable prices. Moreover, this venture is likely to have a positive impact on the local economy by creating jobs and generating additional revenue for the area.
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