SRY: maybe the answer is for Amtrak to build kitchens at its stations that only need to be staffed and operational when a train is nearby. Of course not every station needs a kitchen, so to ensure they are in the right place at the right time, they’d better build mobile kitchens in railcars. That of course means Amtrak would have to haul these mobile kitchens on its own trains (why pay a Class 1 to spot them for you?) And since setting out cars and loading hundreds of meals costs a lot of time, may as well just have these “kitchen cars” travel end-to-end with the rest of the consist. Oh, did I mention that they would need a seating area so as to reduce the amount of food contamination between cars? At that point, best to include windows, tablecloths, and waiters like a restaurant. Since it’s not just a kitchen anymore, maybe we could call it a “dining car” or “diner” for short?
The only place I’ve ever seen the Harvey House model work like a charm is on the Cumbres & Toltec, where they make a meal stop for a homestyle luncheon at Osier. It works beautifully when you have no freight interference and some schedule flexibility.