Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby andrewjw » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:55 am

Two key facts are being ignored in your calculation:

Vegetarianism is more prevalent among better-off people.
Non-vegetarians might order the vegetarian wrap for health or personal preference reasons.

I would be HIGHLY unsurprised if more than 5.4% of orders were the vegetarian option, no matter what the preferences of the members of this forum may be.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby andegold » Fri Jul 13, 2018 8:51 am

andrewjw wrote:Two key facts are being ignored in your calculation:

Vegetarianism is more prevalent among better-off people.
Non-vegetarians might order the vegetarian wrap for health or personal preference reasons.

I would be HIGHLY unsurprised if more than 5.4% of orders were the vegetarian option, no matter what the preferences of the members of this forum may be.


The link I included was to a vegetarian research organization. It admittedly used low percentages as compared to other sites. It reported approximately 3% on a nationwide basis, and agreeing withyour assumption of higher rates among wealthier populations 5.4% for the Northeast. That is why I used that percentage and an Acela. The number of customers I calculated was based on a sold out Acela and 5.4% vegetarian population. I agree that some percentage of the general population will also eat vegetarian options. But let's also accept the facts that: (a) not everyone on the train will eat something; (b) not every train is a sell out; and, (c) these options have a shorter shelf life than others. That all translates to it being a very expensive option to stock other than perhaps for a sleeper train that could and should make better use of modern logistics such as pre-ordering meals the same way such options would be done on an airliner.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:19 am

Were meals typically included in Pullman sleeper fares? I've never seen clarification on that and I ask only to understand better if there is some kind of institutional knowledge that supports inclusion of the meals in the Amtrak sleeper fare.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby JimBoylan » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:27 am

Inclusion of meals in Sleeper fares was an Amtrak innovation.
However, PennCentral started it for Metorliner MetroClub passengers and extended the practice to ordinary Parlor Car passengers if they were riding in a Parlor Club Car with "Meals and Beverages served at your seat". This was to copy something that airline companies were already doing.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:30 am

It costs little to separate meat from salads, and allows Amtrak to charge extra for the protein.
Salads are a valuable choice for those who eat Kosher and Halal meals.
They are nice for people who just don’t want another hamburger and fries while traveling.
They’re a good first course.

Why not include a (reasonably fresh) salad? Worst Amtrak could do is donate them to a food shelter if they expire, there’s plenty of need for fresh vegetables in NYC, CHI, LAX, and MIA.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby ExCon90 » Fri Jul 13, 2018 2:54 pm

gokeefe wrote:Were meals typically included in Pullman sleeper fares? I've never seen clarification on that and I ask only to understand better if there is some kind of institutional knowledge that supports inclusion of the meals in the Amtrak sleeper fare.

I have never heard of meals being included in Pullman fares. In fact, most railroad dining service was provided by the railroad, not Pullman; most Pullman dining service was provided by buffet facilities in lounge cars (Dover Harbor is a typical example) in trains where the railroad couldn't justify devoting a full diner to the service, the Montrealer north of New York being a good example. It dropped the PRR diner in New York, and the Pullman sleeper-buffet-lounge (which originated in Washington but didn't provide meal service until leaving New York) provided a late dinner for those boarding in New York, and breakfast into Montreal. None of that food service was included in the Pullman or railroad fare.

If any meals were included in the fare, it would have been in railroad diner or buffet cars, but I can't think of any.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:42 pm

JimBoylan wrote:Inclusion of meals in Sleeper fares was an Amtrak innovation.


Does anyone know when and why this was done?

Also remember that everyone gets "free" meals on the Auto Train and that is one of Amtrak's best financial performers.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:18 pm

JimBoylan wrote:Inclusion of meals in Sleeper fares was an Amtrak innovation.

VIA has done this too. And many overnight and long distance routes, coach passengers on airlines still receive meal service.

JimBoylan wrote:Penn Central extended the practice to Parlor Car passengers if they were riding in a Parlor Club Car with "Meals and Beverages served at your seat". This was to copy something that airline companies were already doing.
The term used here "Meals and Beverages served at your seat" is exactly the same as the service description as Acela First Class. Acela First Class owes much to the Metroliner Parlor Club (later known as "Club Class" in the Amfleet Metroliner years). How did Metroliner meals compare to Acela First Class meals in quality and selection and did the Metroliner parlor cars have mini-ovens like Acela First Class coaches for meal preparation?
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby andegold » Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:05 pm

Including meals in the auto train fare is much easier than any other train. It's a sealed train with all passengers riding end to end. As I've read here many times the train length is limited by the host, not by equipment or power. That's too bad. As it stands now it makes sense to run it all inclusive and charge as much as the market will bear. If the train could be longer or a second section added I'd bet they could sell it out a la carte too. Some people would definitely choose to ride as economically as possible and eat only what they might bring with them.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 10:52 pm

The length limit on the Auto Train has been adjusted as reported a couple of years ago.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby R&DB » Sat Jul 14, 2018 6:54 am

gokeefe » Fri Jul 13, 2018 11:52 pm

The length limit on the Auto Train has been adjusted as reported a couple of years ago.


That is something I have never understood. Why the Approx. 50 car limit when CSX trains on the same route exceed 100?
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Sat Jul 14, 2018 8:18 am

bostontrainguy wrote:From another online forum not verified:

Some adjustments are coming to the Lake Shore and Capital menus. Starting July 11, the beef tenderloin salad will be replaced with a hot short rib, polenta and vegetable entree. It will be served with a side salad and the same salted caramel cheesecake dessert.

The breakfast box is being slimmed down with mango and grapes replacing the fresh fruit mix along with the Kind bar and banana nut bread being removed.


From this same source. They are working on a hot breakfast item. Something upscale like quiche or "egg bites". Employees are encouraging people to write in and make their opinions known.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Jul 15, 2018 11:56 am

bostontrainguy wrote:From this same source. They are working on a hot breakfast item. Something upscale like quiche or "egg bites". Employees are encouraging people to write in and make their opinions known.


This may be something "off the shelf" aka bought at Costco/Sams Club.

One of them is Jimmy Deans' Delights: Turkey Sasusage and Bacon Frittatas. I had them for breakfast... and I'm not impressed. They're small (if you touch your index finger to your thumb, that's a rough size of an individual frittata) and not that good tasting. If I was on Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap I would rate it three trains our of ten.

Another I have is Kellog Special K's Sausage Pepper & Cheese Quiche which I have not tried yet.
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Sun Jul 15, 2018 1:24 pm

Who caters Acela First Class? And couldn't something similar to that menu be served in a dining car?
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Re: Amtrak Diner and Food Service Discussion

Postby Matt Johnson » Sun Jul 15, 2018 2:25 pm

This was my favorite breakfast item on the Amtrak menu. Taken aboard the Texas Eagle in 2015.
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