A photo essay today.
In Australia, most people hold children’s birthday parties at home. A few use the McDonald’s birthday party service. In America, they have the additional option of a Kroc Center party. Kroc Centers are facilities run by the Salvation Army and named after the founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc (see previous postings). They are not cheap and give the lie to the claim that the centers are there to help people in disadvantaged areas.
Image: Basic party cost
For example, the Omaha Kroc Center party, for 10 children and two adults, costs only $165 plus tax. This gives access to a small party room for one hour.
Image: The Kroc Party room in San Francisco (balloons $13 extra)
Plus, you get another hour on in the gymnasium basketball court (1/2 of it anyway).
Image: The basketball court
Plus you get:-
- Your own, dedicated party host to assist you in the party room. (Possibly a volunteer);
- A “Party Like a Kroc Star” t-shirt for the birthday child. (Made in China);
- Fun Kroc Center party decorations including (paper) plates, cups, napkins, utensils and table cover. (Made in China); and
- Your choice of 12 hot dogs with chips, 12 slices of pizza, or 12 orders of chicken bites, plus 1 glass each of soda or water. (Not made in China).
Of course, at most centers you can’t bring your own food (except for the birthday cake) so if the kids need another drink or hot dog, they have to be purchased from the conveniently located Kroc Café (no, not to be confused with a McKroc Cafe)
Image: Yummy Healthy Pizza Slice for your kiddies
For a mere $50 per half hour, you can have RJ the Kroc (RJ stands for Ray and Joan Kroc) in attendance.
Image: RJ the Kroc entertains for $100/hour
Kroc parties are so popular that “Mary” and “Joseph” chose it for their little boy, Jesus.
Image: Kroc Party poster at the Bethlehem Kroc Center
Of course, all of this is going to a worthy cause – making the Salvation Army richer, while helping poor families gain access to luxurious facilities for only hundreds of dollars. And they can donate to the Salvation Army so it can help them even more.
Image: Disadvantaged people can donate at the Kroc Center to help the even more disadvantaged homeless
The Salvation Army’s new American business enterprise will be able to out-compete all others, from the YMCA to McDonald’s for the children’s market. Why pay staff minimum wage when you don’t have to pay them at all!
Image: Free workers – every capitalist’s dream
Image: Shovels for volunteers mixing up Kroc Café treats like pizza
Image: Happy volunteers mixing pizza dough
Move over YMCA and fitness clubs, how can you compete with this program designed to keep the homeless fit?
Image: $99 joining fee temporarily waived to reflect the economic downturn, reducing yearly membership to a mere $660
Move over summer camp people, you can’t beat this!
Image: With volunteers, prices can be kept down to well within the reach of the average disadvantaged middle-class family
The Salvation Army has always sought to feed the needy.
Image: Soup Kitchen for the needy, Salem Kroc Center
Who says the Salvos are muscling in on everyone’s territory?
Image: Kroc Youth Care (K.Y.C.) centers
The Salvation Army is very concerned for the aged homeless.
Image: Kroc Fashion show demonstrating what the well-dressed aged homeless are wearing this winter
If there’s one thing the Salvos have learnt from their McDonald’s mentors, it is never to miss a business opportunity.
Image: Kroc Halloween for homeless kids
Now, all of this probably seems quite normal to some of our American friends, but the Salvos will have to alter the format a little when they expand into other countries, unlike McDonald’s with its one-size-fits-all approach.
When they come to Australia, there will have to be a few changes, but there will be exciting new product sales opportunities as well.
Image: New marketing opportunities will exist in Australia (Source: billabongbugs.com)
On the down-side, when they come to Australia, there may be some problems with the RJ Kroc character.
Image: The proposed Australian RJ Kroc character
At the birthday parties, plastic knives just won’t cut it. There will probably have to be a surcharge for “special” knives.
Image: Typical parents at an Australian Kroc Center birthday party. Now, that’s a party!
There may also have to be a few changes to the aquatics program, after the main party, but there will be cost-savings as well, since down-under we don’t go in for all that ritzy Yankee stuff.
Image: Sydney’s “Billabong” Kroc Aquatic Center (crocs attract an extra fee – $50 per half hour)
Image: Happy birthday boy at the Sydney Kroc Centre “Billabong” aquatics facility
Another change which might be necessary, since basketball is one of the few sports Aussies are not mad about, is play-time at the Billabong.
Image: After-party play at the Billabong pool-side (Image source: thedesigninspiration.com)
Of course, maintenance of the turf on the banks of the Billabong can become a problem, as crocodiles sometimes become annoyed by excessive noise.
Image: Volunteer, “RJ the Aussie Kroc”, annoyed at losing beauty sleep
So cheer up Australian poor people – a Kroc center may be coming to a town near you, soon, complete with meat pies and vegemite sandwiches!
TOMORROW: Salvation Army Algate House Boys’ Home
Previous postings on the Salvation Army:
That’s all I can say
Lewis Blayse (né Lewin Blazevich)