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Date: 07/08/19 11:38
Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: andersonb109

Sp why can't Amtrak do this? I just flew Delta One (Business Class) From Amsterdam to Detroit. The meal was great. Far better than the pre-packaged garbage Amtrak is passing off as food on the Capitol and Lake Shore.  There were three or four selections to choose from. I could order my selection in advance on line to insure it would be sure to be available. My chosen entree was a beef filet. It was of course pre cooked but they were able to put in the oven for a few minutes to get it well done. And the sauce was on the side. It was as good as any filet from the local meat market.  There were 36 of us in the cabin. Just a bit shy of a 48 seat diner. And all served at once by only two attendants in about one hours time. No cook or dishwasher needed. They even use real knives and forks. no doubt washed at the end of the trip. No plastic to be seen. And even a real napkin.  The desert tray included an actual ice cream sundae prepared by the attendant, not some over frozen stuff in a cardboard cup.  All this brought to you by Delta's former CEO Richard Anderson under who's stewardship the new Delta One was launched.  It would seem this process could easily be applied to an Amtrak diner. Using only two crew members.  And with way more storage and prep space. The service could be repeated two or three times depending on the load. And spoilage could be mostly eliminated by pre-ordering on line. Sure the fares are way higher than Amtrak, but who actually pays those Business Class fares. Many, like me do it with miles for upgrades. While not quite up to a normal Amtrak diner's standards, it was totally acceptable for an eight hour flight or in the case of Amtrak, an overnight trip. I doubt Delta would be offering this type of service if it were a money loser. Anderson of all people should know this.



Date: 07/08/19 11:49
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: Flyer92122

I don’t think Anderson is looking for long term, workable solutions. I agree with your point 100 percent though. The Ocean and/or Delta one type meals would satisfy the vast majority.



Date: 07/08/19 11:55
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: Lackawanna484

The food cost of a first class meal on an international flight is about $20, wholesale. Plus wine, which can skew the numbers all over the wing.

The labor cost of two flight attendants in first class for about 30-40 people would likely be a little lower than a comparable Amtrak dining car with four employees and 30 sleeper passengers. I believe Delta is in the middle of the pack with flight attendant salaries in the mid to high 50s.  Amtrak may have more people in the diner, serving them from a higher salary point.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/19 12:00 by Lackawanna484.



Date: 07/08/19 13:58
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: DevalDragon

Lackawanna484 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The food cost of a first class meal on an
> international flight is about $20, wholesale.

I am curious what you base this number on.

Also keep in mind $20 wholesale is more than the retail prices on most items on Amtrak's current menu.

Knowing this, common sense and logic would be valid reasons why Amtrak doesn't sell $20 meals for only $11.95.



Date: 07/08/19 14:48
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: Lackawanna484

I've read various estimates over the years. They sound reasonable although this site says $38.

https://www.express.co.uk/travel/articles/883867/flight-secrets-plane-inflight-meal-cost

Posted from Android



Date: 07/08/19 16:21
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: WP17

I've heard very good things about the food service on the Acelas. So why not load a set of Acela first class meals onto the Capitol in DC and have an attendant prepare/serve the meals as they do on the Acelas I would expect that the number of meals required for a days worth of Acelas would be much greater than the number needed for the once daily Capitol.

WP17



Date: 07/08/19 17:33
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: sums007

WP17 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I've heard very good things about the food service
> on the Acelas. So why not load a set of Acela
> first class meals onto the Capitol in DC and have
> an attendant prepare/serve the meals as they do on
> the Acelas I would expect that the number of meals
> required for a days worth of Acelas would be much
> greater than the number needed for the once daily
> Capitol.
>
> WP17

Apparently, that's beyond Amtrak's capability, for whatever reason.



Date: 07/08/19 19:22
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: bigmc83

International Business class on airlines is a great experience in general.  To your point about why Amtrak can't do this....they can, but it takes time and money.  Anderson has only been at the helm of Amtrak for a few years, so give it time.  Also, that business class fare costs 8-10x more than a coach fare.  Everyone already complains of Amtrak's high fares for sleeper class, so I don't know what the breaking point is for what people are willing to pay.  I can only hope that Amtrak's offerings and pricing can be competative to the airline's business class experience, but it takes time and money....

-Sean



Date: 07/08/19 20:27
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: gbmott

Here's what Delta was offering in old International 1st Class in 1994 on an L-1011 from Atlanta to Frankfurt.  I'm not inclined to trash Amtrak as I don't entirely disagree with some of the things that they are trying to do, but as to food on LD trains I think they are falling short.  There is hightech food handling equipment available today that was not available twenty-five years ago and certainly the galley in a V-II diner is easier to work from than that in the belly of an L-1011. I had the chicken on this particular flight and it was so good that the next time I was in Atlanta I went to Pano's & Paul's to have it again and found that it had actually been better on the plane!

Gordon



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/08/19 20:28 by gbmott.








Date: 07/08/19 23:52
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: SP4360

Amtrak doesn't fly to Amsterdam, thought you knew this.



Date: 07/09/19 04:05
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: Red

SP4360 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Amtrak doesn't fly to Amsterdam, thought you knew
> this.

Yet, what difference does this make in the end? We all know that Amtrak needs to do much better! And the idea of downgrading the new View liner IIs is a dumbnidea,, certainly. I also like the idea somebony else posted about commonality with Acela...food. most people seem to like it.N the idea of catering to millenia that I recently read of, giving them kids meals I guess? Another nonstarter!

Posted from Android



Date: 07/09/19 04:40
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: raytc1944

The food in Acela first class (the only first class service on Amtrak) is just fine.  I can't imagine why Amtrak can't provide the same level of service and food on LD trains.



Date: 07/09/19 04:58
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: sums007

raytc1944 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The food in Acela first class (the only first
> class service on Amtrak) is just fine.  I can't
> imagine why Amtrak can't provide the same level of
> service and food on LD trains.

Perhaps this:  it would attract customers to the service that they're trying to make unpleasant as possible for long distance travelers.



Date: 07/09/19 08:24
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: jcoons

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> And all served at once
> by only two attendants in about one hours time.
You forgot the third that assists in the galley, so this is really ~2.5 bodies, not insignificant from a labor cost point of view.

> No cook or dishwasher needed.
Really? So they just throw the china and flatware away at the end? (sarcasm). You forget the significant caterer infrastructure that is involved in warehousing, preparation, assembly of out bound meals and the massive inbound diry receiving process that dowloads the carts, conducts garbology and cleans/sanitizes all service ware for the next use. So yes, there are cooks and diswashers needed.

> It would seem this process could
> easily be applied to an Amtrak diner. Using only
> two crew members.  And with way more storage and
> prep space.
> The service could be repeated two or
> three times depending on the load.
Yes and no. The meals you are talking about are boarded freshly prepared and can hold for 10-12 hours, chilled. That's it. Given the higher meal cost AMTK would need to consolidate to a smaller number of kitchens whcih would necessistate boarding frozen entrees that can be reheated (this is very common practice in airline catering for business class meals). Choosing to do it "fresh" as the Delta One meal was done would require multiple kitchens and catering points along the LDT itinerary. Cost prohibitive and logistically complicated beyond the value of the effort.

> And spoilage
> could be mostly eliminated by pre-ordering on
> line.
Correct, However, this forum hyperventalates about any suggestion that customers "do things themselves" like checking in, and frequent citations are made about how many (or most) customers don't use smart phones. So if that assertion is true as proposed by the members of this board, selecting a meal on line would be a bridge too far.

> Sure the fares are way higher than Amtrak,
> but who actually pays those Business Class fares.
> Many, like me do it with miles for upgrades.
Not just higher, higher in many, many multiples. And yes, most folks in that cabin are actually paying for the seat as most are on business and fall under corporate travel policy that permits booking in the premium cabin. Sure there are a few on mile upgrades or using some form of global upgrade certificate, but that is a very small percentage of the total. Cabin level revenue is materially different than anything on Amtrak.

 



Date: 07/09/19 08:52
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: bluesboyst

Anderson is here to get rid of the LD Trains....let's go Propeller Head....hopefully he will be out soon.



Date: 07/09/19 11:37
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: JohnM

jcoons Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> > And spoilage
> > could be mostly eliminated by pre-ordering on
> > line.
> Correct, However, this forum hyperventalates about
> any suggestion that customers "do things
> themselves" like checking in, and frequent
> citations are made about how many (or most)
> customers don't use smart phones. So if that
> assertion is true as proposed by the members of
> this board, selecting a meal on line would be a
> bridge too far.
>

Dumping the senior discount would fix that.  



Date: 07/09/19 12:21
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: SP4360

Doin't get old and don't ride Amtrak--that fixes that.

JohnM Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> jcoons Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > > And spoilage
> > > could be mostly eliminated by pre-ordering on
> > > line.
> > Correct, However, this forum hyperventalates
> about
> > any suggestion that customers "do things
> > themselves" like checking in, and frequent
> > citations are made about how many (or most)
> > customers don't use smart phones. So if that
> > assertion is true as proposed by the members of
> > this board, selecting a meal on line would be a
> > bridge too far.
> >
>
> Dumping the senior discount would fix that.  



Date: 07/09/19 13:23
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: Lackawanna484

The Amish might be inconvenienced, too. It is widely held that they don't use credit cards or smart phones.

Posted from Android



Date: 07/09/19 18:35
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: ShortlinesUSA

> And spoilage 
> could be mostly eliminated by pre-ordering on 
> line. 
Correct, However, this forum hyperventalates about any suggestion that customers "do things themselves" like checking in, and frequent citations are made about how many (or most) customers don't use smart phones. So if that assertion is true as proposed by the members of this board, selecting a meal on line would be a bridge too far. 

Thank you for the best laugh of the night.  And you're spot on.  As for meals, I can't think of any city from which an LDT originates where a major flight kitchen does not exist.  Who provides the diner meals at Amtrak?  I can recall in the late 80s and early 90s that many of the major airlines had their own kitchens, and some outright riots occurred when cost-cutting moves saw the move to outsourced food providers.  Do Amtrak employees make the meals for the LDTs?  And by that, I don't mean onboard...the predepature preparation that likely goes on.

I've enjoyed some nice diner meals on Amtrak over the years.  Until reading this thread, I really never thought much about what goes into delivering it to the diner table versus a flight attendant placing a nice ice cream sundae in front of me (hint: dry ice makes that possible).

 



Date: 07/09/19 20:39
Re: Delta One Dining as Related to Amtrak
Author: jp1822

Just out of curiosity, do we have an example or definition of "millennial food?" I have some business associates that are millennial and they basically eat the same food as me. I don't consider myself a millennial...... I find some millenniums are really "foodies." They want, and will pay for, a good meal. And typically it is not a fast food meal that one would find with the arches out in front - food that I don't eat either and never really have. So I am not sure that Amtrak's Cafe service is even in the realm of "millenia food." Perhaps Acela Express food gets close. Not sure how many millenniums are flying first class, unless the company is paying for it. Haven't noticed, haven't flown as much this past year. 

I have an assistant who is a millennial, and even though she is not the slimmest person, she does watch what she eats in terms of it being healthy or "good to eat," but I find she will certainly sit down to a large calorie meal (per say) as long as it is a "good meal." I think she'd have a tough time on Amtrak though, as I don't think the standard would be good enough. She wants, pays for, and expects good food. She would NOT want the food offered to sleeping car passengers on the Capitol Limited and Lake Shore Limited. She'd probably find something on the National Menu to eat for one night then struggle the second night.........And I can honestly say her eating habits are similar to other millenniums I know and have dined with, be it for business, family, or pleasure. I have also noticed millenniums being particular about their food. Examples could be substitutions, no tomato, no croutons, sauce on the side, etc. This also doesn't work too well for Amtrak in pre-package and re-heat world. It did work when most things were more cook from scratch....

I frankly see Amtrak as having a great opportunity for providing food service on its trains as a way to attract riders and millennial riders. Amtrak has - or had, depending - an interesting environment to create a good "experience" with food. The full service diners of the past had chefs that could create interesting meals and "specials." The Viewliner II Diner had full service diner capabilities as delivered. I understand the labor costs and food service economics aboard the train. I just don't think Amtrak is aligning them still with what people want or what is often associated with their generation, despite Anderson's rhetoric. 

Hence, I could see a millennial ordering more off VIA Rail's Canadian menu than Amtrak's cafe or diner menu. VIA's chefs and wait staff also seem more forgiving and flexible in comparison to Amtrak, and perhaps true considering the food/hand they are dealt with! Or perhaps those millenniums in my company and family are a rare breed. 

So again, what is "millenia food?" 

EDIT - SPELL CHECK!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 07/09/19 20:43 by jp1822.



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