• Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

  • Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.
Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

  • 1881 posts
  • 1
  • 121
  • 122
  • 123
  • 124
  • 125
  • 126
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Mr. Wolf, here is the fantasy convention, Jordancon, with which I have familiarity.

They were convening at an Atlanta hotel at which I was staying. I met several participants at the Bar - and they really seemed like level headed, college degreed, professionals. To keep this rail related, two of them were going to take The Crescent back to Wash. I showed them Train Status (think #20 was about an hour late that evening). I suggested they "split the difference" i.e. make like half hour late. They were such nice young people that, had I not been drinking, I would have offered to fetch my auto from the valet and taken them to Peachtree. I presume they used Uber, something that young people seem to use all the time, but which I have never.

Now what I really took offense to was a Trip Advisor review I read about that hotel (Crowne Plaza Ravinia). The reviewer noted in essence "nice hotel, but would have been nicer without all those wierdos running around".

So sorry, Mr. Wolf; you impress me as a "heads up guy" around here. So sorry your other hobby need put up with crud like that.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:44 am Mr. Wolf, here is the fantasy convention, Jordancon, with which I have familiarity.

They were convening at an Atlanta hotel at which I was staying. I met several participants at the Bar - and they really seemed like level headed, college degreed, professionals. To keep this rail related, two of them were going to take The Crescent back to Wash. I showed them Train Status (think #20 was about an hour late that evening). I suggested they "split the difference" i.e. make like half hour late. They were such nice young people that, had I not been drinking, I would have offered to fetch my auto from the valet and taken them to Peachtree. I presume they used Uber, something that young people seem to use all the time, but which I have never.

Now what I really took offense to was a Trip Advisor review I read about that hotel (Crowne Plaza Ravinia). The reviewer noted in essence "nice hotel, but would have been nicer without all those wierdos running around".

So sorry, Mr. Wolf; you impress me as a "heads up guy" around here. So sorry your other hobby need put up with crud like that.
Thanks. We have our ways. We had some 4chan protestors at Anthrocon a few years back, and it was raining... and they didn't have any rain gear or whatnot. So the chairman and some of the board went out with umbrellas and stood with them while it was raining... which was filmed by "the Germans" (a group who runs Eurofurance in Germany with a film editor from RTL TV there, who makes documentaries of the conventions as a hobby).

Later that day, a few of said protestors were registering for the con. ;)

That said... Atlanta... I think that's Furry Weekend Atlanta... damn, canceled this year. Would be interesting to get down there... although from Peachtree to the hotel would be a walk and ether two buses, or a bus and a subway.
  by David Benton
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 8:05 am Colonel, I don't drink beer - well at least since college and service.

But as I recall, the "drink on the cheap" was a six pack of a beer out of Detroit - Stroh's - that could be had for $2.99 in Champaign.

Don't know what a six pack of Ba Moui Ba ran. :P

Mr. Rockingham, you do raise an interesting point. Amish are loyal Amtrak customers; they give no one trouble over anything. To my knowledge, they don't fly; so their apparent no credit religious conviction is a non-issue.

But do their convictions include instruments such as a prepaid debit card? If such is against credit, i.e. borrowing, a prepaid instrument would not appear to violate such. A bank issued "debit card" that includes overdraft protection would. After all the "$50 latte" - drink and OD fee - would certainly appear to be against those convictions - including mine.
Is there a Restaurant , form of transport , or entertainment venue (other than casinos) where you would expect to pay supermarket prices for beverages?
I would think the pricing is also to discourage passengers from getting blotto , and causing trouble, usually resulting in a delay to the train while they are taken to alternative accommodation . with room service i guess , but no beer.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 5:24 am That's great. I think the difference, though, is that menus used to have prices listed for each item. The upcoming ones do not AFAICT, so how does one decide how much the cost would be? Again, I think pre-paying would be the way to go. That, or put back the prices for each item, and use credit / debit cards only.

But that leads to another issue already discussed: what about people who use ONLY cash, such as the Amish?
I'm getting the impression from some of the talk is that menu items will not be priced - when they do reintroduce it to coach passengers it will be as an upgrade charge - meaning a coach passenger can pay for an upgrade to get access to the dining car for their whole trip and maybe individual meal packages where you pay a fee for a single visit to the dining car - but it sounds like that is still being worked out and probably wont happen until COVID is completely in the rear view mirror as far as restrictions on the train.
  by David Benton
 
It seems Amtrak is going for the lowest cost , lowest risk course. Fair enough , maybe given its service record. But given the high fixed costs of hauling a diner and staff, (plus staff accommodation), the cost of getting food on the train, etc, you would think they would try to sell as much food as possible. Coach passengers are a large captive audience. some will pay to eat in the diner , or have diner meals delivered to their seat or the cafe.Either the diner needs to be open longer , or extra staff put on at mealtimes.
  by lordsigma12345
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 3:17 pm $6.50 a beer for US domestics?

I can carry on for less than that.
Overpriced but those drink prices are pretty much the standard Amtrak fare. I think a Bud Light is 6.50 system wide including in northeast corridor cafe cars. One thing they are carrying over from flexible dining is the “first drink on us” and complimentary soft drinks for the duration of your trip. The only outlier is the auto train which is “first wine on us.”
  by daybeers
 
Woot!! I hope it will be sooner rather than later; the article says later this year or early next.
  by west point
 
Have to wonder if this really meets the will of the restoration legislation? + Biden and company.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'm speechless:

Here are some Fair Use quotations from the TRAINS material Mr. Johnson linked:
[CHICAGO — Amtrak plans to again offer dining car meals to coach passengers, and to again offer meals prepared onboard on its eastern overnight rains, as part of coming enhancements to its long-distance operations.

Dates and details for the roll-out of those changes are still to come, says Robert Jordan, vice president operations and customer services, at.a Tuesday event at Chicago Union Station previewing the return of traditional dining and interior improvements to the Superliner car fleet.

The exact timing and nature will largely depend on reaction to the new dining-car menu, to be rolled out on western long-distance trains as of June 23.

“A lot of it is centered on two things,” he says. First will be passenger reaction to the menu. “Do we need to make any adjustments? What is the most popular, and how long each of those items takes to cook, because we imagine that whatever is popular with our [sleeping-car passengers] is going to be as popular with our coaches,
And, "the topper":
[The menu, Jordan says, was developed with the input of both in-house and outside chefs. Cuisine Solutions — which, among other items, makes the sous vide egg bites served at Starbucks — was involved in several of the items; Aramark and other distributors are also represented on the menu.

“We also flew our own chefs in from Seattle, LA, and Chicago, once we were down to a near-final menu,” he says, “and they didn’t change a thing, which was a real ring of endorsement for us.”
The "Flex" meals were serving their purpose, and after a "learning curve", they were providing adequate food service. The cost savings of needing only 1 FSS, 1 LSA, and 1 SA per Superliner Diner serving Flex could not be ignored.

Now we're talking 2 FSS, ! LSA, and 2 SA per Diner. Figure $100K annually for each position and "we're talking folding change".

Sooner or later, "the Son of Mica" will rise in the halls of Congress, and it will be time to repeat this whole cycle of "enhancing the product just to cut it" start all over again. But then Managers can make their "brownies" my means of saying "look how I enhanced the product".

Now time for a purge, and the new gang comes in saying "look at all this fat we cut; look at all the saving we uncovered".

And so goes the cycle.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I am surprised what they are saying about the eastern trains. As for the west they have said all along they were going to bring traditional dining back. But For those celebrating I would do so cautiously. I still don’t see them going back to a full diner crew in the east - they have made conflicting statements about the plan for the east saying they are going to make changes but that they don’t plan to implement exactly what they are doing in the west to the east. I wouldn’t be surprised if they make improvements to the presentation but only an abridged menu - in such a manner that doesn’t require them going back to a full crew - can’t ignore the fact they aren’t returning a full crew to the TE. Also remember that before the first iteration of flexible dining there were only full diner crews on the Meteor, Crescent, and Capitol Limited. If they simply reversed flexible dining full crews would return only to those plus the Texas eagle. If they added full diner crews to trains like the lake shore, city of New Orleans, cardinal, and silver star it would be the first time those trains had them in a number of years which would make costs higher than pre flexible dining. And Amtrak’s most recent five year plan - along with saying they were bringing back traditional dining to the west still mentioned the desire for a single food service car in the east. What I could instead see is - conversion of the VL2s into a single food service car - and maybe a crew of two or three at the most for that car - one LSA and perhaps convert the cafe car LSA into a FSS. That might allow them to improve the presentation a bit while not dramatically increasing costs. Could be wrong but Proceed with caution. I personally still think single food service cars will stay at least on some of them with the possible exception of the silvers and lake shore.
  by lordsigma12345
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Wed Jun 16, 2021 6:55 am The cost savings of needing only 1 FSS, 1 LSA, and 1 SA per Superliner Diner serving Flex could not be ignored.
My return trip will feature the new traditional dining - I will be sure to report the crew makeup.
  by Ridgefielder
 
lordsigma12345 wrote: Mon Jun 07, 2021 6:14 am
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 3:17 pm $6.50 a beer for US domestics?

I can carry on for less than that.
Overpriced but those drink prices are pretty much the standard Amtrak fare. I think a Bud Light is 6.50 system wide including in northeast corridor cafe cars. One thing they are carrying over from flexible dining is the “first drink on us” and complimentary soft drinks for the duration of your trip. The only outlier is the auto train which is “first wine on us.”
$6.50 is actually cheap compared to bar drinks in Manhattan (at least, drinks in any bar frequented by >23 y/olds.) And that's not that far out of line w the price per can charged by most the carry-out places in GCT (can't speak for Penn).
  by Ken W2KB
 
Excellent quote of Amtrak VP from above fair use article post for use by airlines for advertising. The ad would say, even Amtrak's senior management realizes that for business travel, airlines are superior: "“We also flew our own chefs in from Seattle, LA, and Chicago, once we were down to a near-final menu,” he says, “and they didn’t change a thing, which was a real ring of endorsement for us.”"
  by Alphaboi
 
So the takeaway I'm getting is that once traditional dining is restored we should hurry up and take a LD trip while it lasts

Sent from my SM-G998U using Tapatalk

  • 1
  • 121
  • 122
  • 123
  • 124
  • 125
  • 126