Improving Acela catering?

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Tadman
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by Tadman » Mon Jan 14, 2019 8:43 pm

electricron wrote:
ryanov wrote:Suggesting that Acela First Class serve hot dogs is boneheaded, and frankly doesn’t sound like it’s coming from anyone who’s buying those tickets.


Golly, I bet more than half the riders of Acela trains originate in New York City, and what will any tourist know you will find being served on the streets from stand-by vendors - yes oh yes, hot dogs.....
Where do you start with this one...

1. The Acela First customer is generally not eating off the food carts in the streets of NYC.
2. The food carts don't just sell hot dogs, they sell all kinds of street meat including kebab plates, gyros, cheeseburger, chicken and rice, lamb and rice, halal stuff, etc...

That said, street meat carts can be pretty good if you order something specialized (stay away from basics like hotdog or burgers). I think there are plenty of such carts that are better than the food on Acela First, which borderline sucks. It's not on par with airline first class.

SouthernRailway
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by SouthernRailway » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:05 pm

Agreed. I am in NYC and go on Acela First.

I don't think that I've ever bought anything from a street vendor- ick! (Except a Chipwich in the 1980s.) Street food is budget food, usually (even fast food is expensive in Manhattan).

If I were served a hot dog on Acela First, I'd consider it a very low point in my travel experiences.

I think that current Acela First food is OK; could be better, but it's not bad.

R36 Combine Coach
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by R36 Combine Coach » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:14 pm

Even back to the Metroliners, first class (parlor club) passengers also had at meal service. A number of through WAS-BOS Amfleet regional trains in the 1980s-90s had three classes: coach, custom (business) and club (first), with first class offering at seat meals.

Here's a sample selection from 1969 on the Metroliner:

Breakfast: chilled fresh fruit, browned corned beef hash, breakfast roll and danish with preserves. Coffee, tea or milk. $1.75

Lunch: Consommé Madrilène, hot brisket corned beef on French Roll, potato salad and relish, cheesecake. Coffee, tea or milk. $2.50

Dinner: breast of chicken or sirloin strip with glazed onions, carrots and potatoes, green bean salad, roll and butter, chocolate brownies. Coffee, tea or milk. $3.50
Last edited by R36 Combine Coach on Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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eolesen
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by eolesen » Mon Jan 14, 2019 9:17 pm

Uh, no, income isn't the determining factor when it comes to street food like hot dogs.... Costco sold over 135M hotdog combos in 2017 at their food courts, and that's by no means a low income establishment.

The audience for hot dogs is people who don't need "an experience" when it comes to satisfying their hunger.

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BandA
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by BandA » Tue Jan 15, 2019 1:44 am

Having never ridden Acela, I would hope the food in first class would be first-quality. If you want fresh croissants, they need to be made within hours, which Au Bon Pain was able to do in the 1990s. They could serve signature favorites such as Legal Seafoods clam chowder southbound, and Potomac Swamp Stew going northbound. Delicious fresh, complex salads can be served - now that they print pick dates on Romaine lettuce I was shocked to find my lettuce was picked two weeks ago!!! Partially cooked or reheatable entrees seem acceptable - steaks if served should be restaurant quality or not at all.

Not a fan of Dunkin' coffee (or doughnuts), which have gone down hill, nor bitter-tasting Starbucks. Green Mountain (parent of Keurig) or Neuman's Own or any other quality brand is fine.

Serving fresh, ripe fruits is problematic with the exception of apples, citrus or bananas. Anything else is fine dining / concierge level.

I'd love to hear what those Metroliner food prices would translate to in 2019 dollars (Take the 1969 prices on the Metroliner menu, figure out the multiplier compared to restaurant prices back then, find the restaurant prices for the same food today, apply the train multiplier)

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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by andrewjw » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:04 am

The FED Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Food and Beverages data is available online back to 1967. On a scale where 1982 is a 100, June 1969 was a 38. November 2018 (the most recent month available) was 254.46.
That is a 6.7 multiplier, or $11.72 breakfast, $16.74 lunch, and $23.44 dinner.

benboston
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by benboston » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:10 am

They shouldn't limit their options to just business people. The Acela is extremely profitable.

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Tadman
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by Tadman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:01 am

eolesen wrote:Uh, no, income isn't the determining factor when it comes to street food like hot dogs.... Costco sold over 135M hotdog combos in 2017 at their food courts, and that's by no means a low income establishment.

The audience for hot dogs is people who don't need "an experience" when it comes to satisfying their hunger.
What is first class service but an experience? That is literally all you get. Nice waiting lounge, nice seats, meal at seat, that is the definition of experience. Otherwise one could take Jersey Transit or Septa.

Assume for a minute that income isn't a determining factor. What else would make you eat something literally made of mystery meat?
Forty-three percent of Americans are afraid to know what’s in their hot dogs, according to a new study conducted by United States-based organic meat company Applegate. ... more than 33 percent of Americans also avoid hot dogs because they are typically made with low-quality meat ... Fifty percent of women expressed concern over hot dog ingredients .
The bottom line is that hotdogs are absolutely not something you want to serve to people who paid $200-400 to get between some of the biggest cities in the country.

https://www.livekindly.co/nearly-50-per ... -hot-dogs/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

electricron
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by electricron » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:17 am

There are no food cooking instruments nor short order cooks on Amtrak's Acela trains.
You are lucky if they have the means to brew coffee.
Here's the Acela menu -----https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... u-0617.pdf
Everything on the menu comes prepackaged and stocked aboard the train cold.

Hot dogs can be served "HOT" using one of these, a 30 dog roller cooker.
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com ... SX679_.jpg" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Something the sole attendant should be able to handle with ease. Something that can be served "HOT" with relative ease. Something that costs you less than $200 each from Amazon, who knows how cheaply it would cost Amtrak for a large order of 20 of these?

But if you rather continue to dine on cold, pre-prepared and pre-plastic-wrapped foods, those choices should still be present aboard the train.

If you really desire an improvement in catering aboard the Acela trains, why not first look at what can be served "HOT"?

SouthernRailway
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by SouthernRailway » Tue Jan 15, 2019 10:57 am

There's also an airplane-style galley (at one end of the First Class car) where meals are prepared/heated. It's much different than Cafe Acela, and the first class menu is different than Cafe Acela.

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Tadman
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by Tadman » Tue Jan 15, 2019 4:34 pm

WE'RE NOT EATING BLOODY HOTDOGS ON BLOODY ACELA. NOBODY WANTS THEM. GENTLE JESUS LEAVE IT ALONE. IT IS THE MOST IDIOTIC IDEA.

What's next, a suggestion to dress the staff in pirate costumes as they serve the hotdogs? This is like a page out of Confederacy of Dunces.

ryanov
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by ryanov » Tue Jan 15, 2019 5:24 pm

So he has no idea what they’re serving now, what cooking facilities are actually on the trains, or that people in first class are not eating off the café menu, but has decided what would make more sense than what they’re doing now. That’s more American than hot dogs.
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electricron
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by electricron » Tue Jan 15, 2019 8:51 pm

SouthernRailway wrote:There's also an airplane-style galley (at one end of the First Class car) where meals are prepared/heated. It's much different than Cafe Acela, and the first class menu is different than Cafe Acela.
One car in six is First Class, another is the Bistro car, while four more cars is Business Class.
More than four times more passengers sitting in Acela Business Class seats than in First Class seats.
So that Acela Bistro Car menu is seen by four times as many passengers.

Improving catering aboard Acela trains, if you are really serious about this topic, has to include Business Class passengers. Ignore them at your peril!
I guarantee you that Congress does not, and will not allow any subsidies what-so-ever feeding First Class passengers.

SouthernRailway
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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by SouthernRailway » Tue Jan 15, 2019 9:58 pm

Electricron, I think that we’ve made our respective points.

Business class food on Acela is also fine; it’s better than the typical Amfleet menu.

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Re: Improving Acela catering?

Post by Backshophoss » Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:30 am

If there's a lack of Quality control at the food service supplier, Amtrak will rip up the contract with that supplier and get a new supplier!
End of story!
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

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