Tadman wrote:Ron, a mom/pop restaurant compared to a railroad diner is a non-starter.
A railroad must have a large (think TGI Fridays+ sized) commissary at each end of a diner car route. They pay to build and maintain this facility. It probably costs a few million to build and probably requires $500k/year to maintain. If 10 people work there at $60k/year (guess) that's $80k/year fully allocated, or $1.3m/year annual costs, times two, for each end of the route. That's before you get to the dining car.
Which is why many airlines tend to outsource this. There are companies that do this sort of thing very cost-effectively.
And in any event that's also spread across multiple trains. In addition, in theory the costs should be fairly sub-linear. If you double the number of patrons, it shouldn't double the cost of your commissary.
Tadman wrote:Each dining car takes 3 ppl ($80k fully allocated lets say). It probably costs $10-20k/year of inspections and repair to keep safe on the road. That's $250k just to turn a wheel. At 500 ton-miles/gallon, you need 300 gallons to move it 1000 miles, that's $1200/trip. Because a dinning car does not turn a profit,the above cost is not recovered by the sale of food.
Contrast that with the mom/pop diner. They have less-than-minimum wage employees working for tips. They have no support facilities. They have no need to be maintained in order to move at 79mph, only enough to not fall apart when a fat man sits down.
I think you underestimate the costs of a mom-pop restaurant.
I'll assume your figures for fuel are accurate.