• 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

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  by gokeefe
 
I know you might not believe that it matters but please take the time to send an email to Amtrak Customer Service at [email protected].

It helps **a lot** when they can get direct feedback from a knowledgeable passenger such as yourself. You may even get a response beyond "we're sorry the experience didn't meet your expectations" etc.

Just asking for "consistency" is very understandable.

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  by west point
 
IMO if Amtrak trains had 12 -14 revenue coaches and sleepers then dinning service would come closer to break even. Then Amtrak could have diner open 24 hours , staffed for same, and support commissaries at intermediate points. Right now there is not enough spare passenger cars to run even one train route that length.

Candidates for marketing and selling any route would be the present Florida Silver service, Crescent to Atlanta, LSL if NYP - Albany is solvable, CHI - DEN, CHI - MSP, LAX - Bay area.
  by exvalley
 
24 hour dining makes absolutely no sense on a train. It only works in fairly heavily populated areas in order to overcome the lack of demand for dining at odd hours.
  by SouthernRailway
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu May 28, 2020 7:38 pm I know you might not believe that it matters but please take the time to send an email to Amtrak Customer Service at [email protected].

It helps **a lot** when they can get direct feedback from a knowledgeable passenger such as yourself. You may even get a response beyond "we're sorry the experience didn't meet your expectations" etc.

Just asking for "consistency" is very understandable.

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Thanks. Any chance that on-board employees would receive my name if I write? I would assume that a cafe car employee might try to get back at me. On a recent trip, the sleeping car attendant mentioned some feedback that one customer had given to Amtrak and how upset the on-board staff was about it.

Employees on the Crescent are almost all very, very nice and professional. I'll assume that the cafe car attendants who tell me that I'm wrong when I order (such as being told that I'm wrong to come ask for breakfast myself) are simply trying to be helpful.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
exvalley wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 6:27 am 24 hour dining makes absolutely no sense on a train. It only works in fairly heavily populated areas in order to overcome the lack of demand for dining at odd hours.


It seemed to have made sense several years ago. How do you think things are different nowadays?

From Railway Age June 2018:

Almost 20 years ago, there was a good solution which Amtrak experimented with to make its dining cars on long distance trains perform better financially: It was the 24-hour dining car on the Sunset Limited. This was accompanied by an onboard promotion of “When You’re Hungry, You’re Hungry” and promotional materials were placed in every coach seatback and sleeping car accommodation.

It was a financially successful experiment that ended because the management of the Sunset went from one business group to another, and the succeeding business group management invoked the “not invented here” reason for ending it.
  by Tadman
 
exvalley wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 6:27 am 24 hour dining makes absolutely no sense on a train. It only works in fairly heavily populated areas in order to overcome the lack of demand for dining at odd hours.
I don't know that I agree with that. Although we accept that there is a concept of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there are so many exigencies that 24 hour dining might make sense.

1. Time zones
2. Travel patterns - "I've been driving three hours to a station" or "I've been waiting three hours at a rural station" or "I arrive at dinner time and won't be checked into my hotel until after dinner"
3. Personal definitions of when each meal is.
4 . Diner capacity limitations
  by bostontrainguy
 
exvalley wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 6:27 am 24 hour dining makes absolutely no sense on a train. It only works in fairly heavily populated areas in order to overcome the lack of demand for dining at odd hours.
Should be at least tried on the Lake Shore Limited. Nice test bed I would think.
  by Alphaboi
 
I like to stock up at Pret A Manger if I can before train or bus trips if I can. I think this might be a better model than Flexible dining, especially if the diners just become bistro cars for the entire train. Sleepers can go buy on board (except maybe for breakfast).

https://www.pret.com/en-us/our-menu

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  by SouthernRailway
 
Alphaboi wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 11:41 am I like to stock up at Pret A Manger if I can before train or bus trips if I can. I think this might be a better model than Flexible dining, especially if the diners just become bistro cars for the entire train. Sleepers can go buy on board (except maybe for breakfast).

https://www.pret.com/en-us/our-menu

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This, exactly.

It's much better than the cafe car microwaved, plastic-covered junk food, and in case of starvation due to Flexible Dining, it's good to have.

Why does Amtrak sell microwaved, plastic-covered junk food in cafe cars, and not something better? As though someone paying top dollar for sleeping car space wants a microwaved Jimmy Dean Egg McMuffin and a plastic-covered muffin? Nothing healthier?
  by Tadman
 
Lately a lot of bigger cities have had a food truck culture exploding. Given the mobile nature of a food truck and the GPS tracking on Amtrak's website, what's to stop a handful of food trucks from descending on PDX when each Talgo comes through? Or Albany when each motor change happens?
  by STrRedWolf
 
Alphaboi wrote:I like to stock up at Pret A Manger if I can before train or bus trips if I can. I think this might be a better model than Flexible dining, especially if the diners just become bistro cars for the entire train. Sleepers can go buy on board (except maybe for breakfast).

https://www.pret.com/en-us/our-menu
Pret A Manger would get my vote if it marketed better. Right now, I pass it for Au Bon Pain or Johnny Rockets. I kinda shift between "Gimmie a sausage egg and cheese and some coffee and nobody gets hurt" to "Pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, coffee. I got time."

The thing is now... well... you gotta get something on the way to the train. For example, Pittsburgh... you're stuck with Buerger's Bagels or Starbucks... and train boarding starts at 7am. Buerger's Bagels is decent if you want it on a bagel, and the coffee is good. Starbucks, you're doing a mixed drink and the food makes Amtrak's cafe look good.
  by gokeefe
 

SouthernRailway wrote:Thanks. Any chance that on-board employees would receive my name if I write? I would assume that a cafe car employee might try to get back at me. On a recent trip, the sleeping car attendant mentioned some feedback that one customer had given to Amtrak and how upset the on-board staff was about it.

Employees on the Crescent are almost all very, very nice and professional. I'll assume that the cafe car attendants who tell me that I'm wrong when I order (such as being told that I'm wrong to come ask for breakfast myself) are simply trying to be helpful.
Extremely unlikely they would be given a name. On the other hand context such as the above helps.

Simply writing, "I really appreciate how nice the staff is but each crew seems to handle meals a little differently and I'm never quite sure if I should go to the cafe to pickup my meal or not. If this procedure could be clarified in as kind a way as possible it would mean a lot to me. I ride quite frequently in the sleeper cars."

That should do the trick.


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  by John_Perkowski
 
Tadman wrote: Fri May 29, 2020 12:49 pm Lately a lot of bigger cities have had a food truck culture exploding. Given the mobile nature of a food truck and the GPS tracking on Amtrak's website, what's to stop a handful of food trucks from descending on PDX when each Talgo comes through? Or Albany when each motor change happens?
So the Conductor comes through and shouts “Next stop Denver, twenty minutes for supper!” And this happens

Or this Master of the House
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  by mtuandrew
 
Short of a proper dining car & grill serving at least fast-casual food and made-to-order drinks, preferably a two-car articulated unit, I’d like to see a company selling box lunches at certain train stations. Could be an individual food truck, could be a local caterer or restaurant, but you can’t get a good fresh option on Amtrak. That would fill the niche until Amtrak gets its food & beverage service together, if it ever does.
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