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Date: 01/21/23 11:48
Diner to serve coach riders
Author: realistic

Tentative word on the California Zephyr effective 2/1/2023 is that they will allow coach passengers to eat in the diner. Just setting up pricing to charge.

No news on the other trains.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/23 11:50 by realistic.



Date: 01/21/23 11:57
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: johnambrose

Since the dining car has always been a financial loser why did they start prohibiting coach passengers to begin with? Seems like they would want as many people as possible to eat to bring in the revenue.

Posted from iPhone



Date: 01/21/23 12:00
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: joemvcnj

Anderson was cutting costs, cutting diner car staff 75%, and saying he wanted only 5 - 10 LD trains to survive. There was also the Mica F&B language, since revoked.



Date: 01/21/23 12:07
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: robj

johnambrose Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since the dining car has always been a financial
> loser why did they start prohibiting coach
> passengers to begin with? Seems like they would
> want as many people as possible to eat to bring in
> the revenue.
>
> Posted from iPhone

Covid first?   Then staffing?  I have no knowledge of staffing but once somethig is dropped it just east to leave dropped.
Now you have extra effort.  Pricing, protocols ie when they are served. Keeping a reservation list etc.  Menu chanes.Stocking etc.
Crews that have been away from dealing with coach proably like it that way.

My one memory of coach dining on Capitol is we got strong impression that we were an inconvenience.
You go into a resteraunt late and you expect not to be so welcome.  On the train, it is not your choice.

But speaking of capitol, with one sleeper, I wonder how many crew members they have for the diner and how much work can that be
even if everyone was on the run for the full trip and ate all their meals.?



Bob



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/21/23 12:08 by robj.



Date: 01/21/23 12:09
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: GenePoon

johnambrose Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Since the dining car has always been a financial
> loser why did they start prohibiting coach
> passengers to begin with? Seems like they would
> want as many people as possible to eat to bring in
> the revenue.


Amtrak's attitude is, "We lose money on every sale," thus shortsightedly and haplessly ignoring that fixed costs are offset by greater revenue.



Date: 01/21/23 13:08
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: pdt

As much as I agree that Amtk is run by a "race to a big pension" morons...  I have to agree with the diner to sleeper pax for now thing.  I think it really is a staffing issue...as everything with amtk is a staffing issue right now. as the dopes at the top refused to ramp up for post covid, as that would have been a short term expense...and heaven forbid that we spend any money now for long term purposes.

Im guessing (idk really)  that there are just 2 ppl working the diner on the "flex dining"  trains.  With 1 or 2 sleepers, thats about all 2 ppl could handle.    And the metrics on paper look better for serving free meals to someone with a $1000. ticket, than selling food to someone with a $100 ticket.         

And then there's the food stocking issue, and im willing to bet that 50% of coach passengers that would be using the dining car are "high maintenance" and low tippers.   

I can tell u from experience, that senior flight attendants would avoid working flights to Florida, cause the "flip flop" crowd was high maintenance, and the airplane would be trashed  by the time we got to our destination.



Date: 01/21/23 13:52
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: dan

I saw someone said like 45$  ???  for a three course dinner, etc, was that on the starlight?   Not a la carte pricing?



Date: 01/21/23 14:09
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: engineerinvirginia

dan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I saw someone said like 45$  ???  for a three
> course dinner, etc, was that on the starlight?  
> Not a la carte pricing?

They might could offer a la carte pricing...but the problem with that would be not knowing what items would be most popular...if you do know that you can stock extra portions to make sure you have enough...but I believe they want to be able to say...OK...we got 100 mouths to feed....and they stock say exactly 100 three course meals....but yes there are several meals to choose from so...well....maybe an a la carte price list WILL become available once they figure there's enough demand from the coach passengers that stocking their wishes is doable. As for a prix fixe pricing...45 sounds high alright...but alas...so is everything else these days...I honestly wouldn't know how to price an Amtrak meal...if it's always a money looser...the freight companies figured this out early...but kept good food available for the most part hoping that keep it good and affordable would keep people on buying tickets...were it me...it would still be that way...make what I can off the meals...but don't figure that food service is going to fund my retirement. And for sure I''s make it all available to all comers....both prix fixe and a la carte. And it would be tasty, fresh made food too...so if anything had to be prepacked and warmed over...it would have to be taste tasted by hundreds of people (especially the people who have to prepare it....) to make sure it will always taste good. And should any supplier give me garbage he will not be paid. And the decision not to pay will not necessarily be objective. If I don't like it...he don't get paid. 



Date: 01/21/23 14:10
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: TAW

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> Amtrak's attitude is, "We lose money on every
> sale," thus shortsightedly and haplessly ignoring
> that fixed costs are offset by greater revenue.

That sounds pretty advanced. Doesn't it take like a triple PhD in ultratech micromacro economic subsystems, or a high school diploma, or something?

TAW



Date: 01/21/23 14:17
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: Lackawanna484

TAW Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> GenePoon Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
>
> > Amtrak's attitude is, "We lose money on every
> > sale," thus shortsightedly and haplessly
> ignoring
> > that fixed costs are offset by greater revenue.
>
> That sounds pretty advanced. Doesn't it take like
> a triple PhD in ultratech micromacro economic
> subsystems, or a high school diploma, or
> something?
>
> TAW

That's true to a point. The point is When you need to add another staff member to handle the incremental passenger(s)

Posted from Android



Date: 01/21/23 14:20
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: BrynMawr

In three RTs on the Coast Starlight (Sep,Nov, Dec 22) I observed dining service as a Bus Class rider.  Sometimes we were invited to the diner, but not always.  We were offered prix fixe pricing lunch 25, dinner 40.  I noticed that sleeping car riders did not always leave tips--so much for wait staff preference.  Sometimes the LSA in the diner insisted on cash from Bus Class riders.  Draw your own conclusions.   The classic steak has shrunk, the baked potato option is gone--you know the mashed are from a box.   Dinner salads not always available. 
Having often previously booked a roomette for these OKJ-SLO trips both for napping convenience and the food, I stopped when the roomettes became  overpriced.   For $100 saved, I am willing to recline in BC. 
FWIW, I do NOT expect the elegant and far tastier diner fare of my youth on the Capitol Ltd, or the 'real' (premerger) B'way., but when the steak arrives luke warm...   Certainly my next EMY-CUS trip will be in a sleeper, but I am likely to pack some decent food as I used to do decades ago when I made those trips in coach.    
In a juster world Gardner, Anderson et al would be incarcerated in the rubber room farm and fed Amtrak cafe food until they expire. 



Date: 01/21/23 14:23
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: goneon66

IF i have to pack food to take on a train trip, i will fly..............

66



Date: 01/21/23 14:32
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: cutboy1958

I  was  told  o  #4  2  weeks  ago  they  would  begin  feeding  coach  "this  month".   That  would  be  January. Need one  more  server in winter.    Working  on pricing  and  menu.  Hooray!!



Date: 01/21/23 14:41
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: OnTime

Glad to read reports the coach psgrs allowed in the diner soon. No brainier to me. Gives the diners a chance to bring in some prior non-existent revenue since they feed sleeper psrgs for free. Of course their will be logistical challenges but what's up with that? Where's the "can do" attitude? Amtrak fed coach psgrs for years. No problem.

Sure their are issues with quality of the food but that is an entirely separate issue. And it should addressed. Had a poor meal in the diner? Write to your congressional representatives and complain to Amanagement. Seriously. But how is that a logical reason not to allow coach psrgs in the diner?



Date: 01/21/23 15:41
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: dan

Well it is about time , we can all agree.  The problem with food and amtrak is inventory it seems to be quite hard.   Amtrak should keep the diner open more hours, and the crews don't really have enough to do as is, with the few sleeping cars passengers, with 2 sleepers max plus a few in the dorm.



Date: 01/21/23 16:06
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: SanDiegan

GenePoon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> johnambrose Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Since the dining car has always been a
> financial
> > loser why did they start prohibiting coach
> > passengers to begin with? Seems like they would
> > want as many people as possible to eat to bring
> in
> > the revenue.
>
>
> Amtrak's attitude is, "We lose money on every
> sale," thus shortsightedly and haplessly ignoring
> that fixed costs are offset by greater revenue.

The more sales the greater the loss.



Date: 01/21/23 16:08
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: SanDiegan

BrynMawr Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> In three RTs on the Coast Starlight (Sep,Nov, Dec
> 22) I observed dining service as a Bus Class
> rider.  Sometimes we were invited to the diner,
> but not always.  We were offered prix fixe
> pricing lunch 25, dinner 40.  I noticed that
> sleeping car riders did not always leave tips--so
> much for wait staff preference.  Sometimes the
> LSA in the diner insisted on cash from Bus Class
> riders.  Draw your own conclusions.   The
> classic steak has shrunk, the baked potato option
> is gone--you know the mashed are from a box.  
> Dinner salads not always available. 
> Having often previously booked a roomette for
> these OKJ-SLO trips both for napping convenience
> and the food, I stopped when the roomettes
> became  overpriced.   For $100 saved, I am
> willing to recline in BC. 
> FWIW, I do NOT expect the elegant and far tastier
> diner fare of my youth on the Capitol Ltd, or the
> 'real' (premerger) B'way., but when the steak
> arrives luke warm...   Certainly my next EMY-CUS
> trip will be in a sleeper, but I am likely to pack
> some decent food as I used to do decades ago when
> I made those trips in coach.    
> In a juster world Gardner, Anderson et al would be
> incarcerated in the rubber room farm and fed
> Amtrak cafe food until they expire. 

The quality of the steak has gone down as well



Date: 01/21/23 16:11
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: SanDiegan

OnTime Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Glad to read reports the coach psgrs allowed in
> the diner soon. No brainier to me. Gives the
> diners a chance to bring in some prior
> non-existent revenue since they feed sleeper psrgs
> for free. Of course their will be logistical
> challenges but what's up with that? Where's the
> "can do" attitude? Amtrak fed coach psgrs for
> years. No problem.
>
> Sure their are issues with quality of the food but
> that is an entirely separate issue. And it should
> addressed. Had a poor meal in the diner? Write to
> your congressional representatives and complain to
> Amanagement. Seriously. But how is that a logical
> reason not to allow coach psrgs in the diner?

They aren't feeding the sleeper passengers for free. They doubled the fares many years ago to cover the cost (meals were not included). Sleeper passengers are essentially paying $250 for dinner now.



Date: 01/21/23 16:23
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: TomG

Working on menu and pricing. Probably means they are turning it over to thier award winning IT department so it can be like the Amtrak website. A web based reservation system and demand pricing. Something that wont work and cost you a lot more.

Tom
Weaverville, CA



Date: 01/21/23 16:35
Re: Diner to serve coach riders
Author: joemvcnj

SanDiegan Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> OnTime Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Glad to read reports the coach psgrs allowed in
> > the diner soon. No brainier to me. Gives the
> > diners a chance to bring in some prior
> > non-existent revenue since they feed sleeper
> psrgs
> > for free. Of course their will be logistical
> > challenges but what's up with that? Where's the
> > "can do" attitude? Amtrak fed coach psgrs for
> > years. No problem.
> >
> > Sure their are issues with quality of the food
> but
> > that is an entirely separate issue. And it
> should
> > addressed. Had a poor meal in the diner? Write
> to
> > your congressional representatives and complain
> to
> > Amanagement. Seriously. But how is that a
> logical
> > reason not to allow coach psrgs in the diner?
>
> They aren't feeding the sleeper passengers for
> free. They doubled the fares many years ago to
> cover the cost (meals were not included). Sleeper
> passengers are essentially paying $250 for dinner
> now.

Sleeper car rates were gouged further as a direct result of throwing coach passengers out in 2018, along with their revenue. Slashing staff 75% didn't help much. There is still the overhead cost of the diner car itself and the commissary with the entire overhead cost spread over just 25% of the remaining passengers. 

The pre-prepared meals on a per plate basis are just as expensive as buying raw food and cooking it on board. It is not hard to see why. Check out the prepared food prices at the super market, also loaded with so much sodium to choke a pig for a preservative. For either reason, I won't buy it.  

Amtrak was never very good at cost accounting. Any undergraduate management student that has gotten through micro-econ, managerial econ, and managerial accounting can see that.
 



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