Amtrak dining service

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I had the salmon/shrimp dish and it came properly heated, a tender piece of salmon and as large as ones I’ve had when going out to lunch, plus about 4 decent-sized shrimp, all in a delicious sauce, and with the brown rice and veggies cooked just right.
I've had a delicious salmon dish, too. But on the other leg of the same trip, the salmon was dry, the sauce coagulated, and the broccoli and half of the rice burnt. And the same goes for the curry noodles.
 
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I just returned on Dec 26th NYC-Deland,Fl, the conductor said dining service would resume Jan 6th of this yr., several of the other workers said it won't be quite what we have seen in the past. It will be under staffed (on purpose) according to them, to make it fail. I look forward to trying it, as I'm sure you will be, kudo's to Amtrak.
 

Cal

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I just returned on Dec 26th NYC-Deland,Fl, the conductor said dining service would resume Jan 6th of this yr., several of the other workers said it won't be quite what we have seen in the past. It will be under staffed (on purpose) according to them, to make it fail. I look forward to trying it, as I'm sure you will be, kudo's to Amtrak.
Hmm. We will HOPEFULLY see tomorrow.
 
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I just returned on Dec 26th NYC-Deland,Fl, the conductor said dining service would resume Jan 6th of this yr., several of the other workers said it won't be quite what we have seen in the past.
We'd already heard that it might be a limited version, like maybe a reduced number of selections, which may be OK for single-night trains. I'll be happy just to get fresh-cooked pancakes, french toast, or waffles with bacon in the morning. I hope it's not just egg dishes.

It will be under staffed (on purpose) according to them, to make it fail. I look forward to trying it, as I'm sure you will be, kudo's to Amtrak.

Or maybe it will be understaffed because they're still trying to find and train the staff.
 
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Prior to cutting down to flexible dining on the Meteor and Crescent I think it was just 3 in the diner when they ran it in the Viewliners. An LSA-diner, one server (SA), and the chef. I don't believe there was a food specialist.

If they're doing it with less staff it's probably not designed to make it fail - it's probably more management (for better or worse) trying to have it both ways and hit a sweet spot between the labor costs of traditional dining and the flex meals with their higher food costs. Basically trying to find a way to take advantage of the lower food costs of traditional dining without the full labor costs of traditional dining out west while improving CSI a bit. I think the higher food costs of flex dining on the longer single level routes like the Meteor where they have to buy a lot more of the individual meals from the vendor nullify some of the savings of reducing the labor. I think that's what the idea is. Whether this approach will work we shall see. I did suspect it would probably be not quite what they're doing out west with less staff. And its probably appropriate on a single night train. The question is whether it will work and will the staff be able to handle it.
 

AmtrakBlue

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Or maybe it will be understaffed because they're still trying to find and train the staff.
I heard that the current class of trainees has been delayed in completing their training. And that the start date was pushed back because of this.

Any talk about “to kill it” is just that, talk.
 

jis

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Maybe February, maybe March, maybe April, maybe May, maybe June.
That is the very nature of discussing unfounded rumors, quite a bit more so than Amtrak official announcements which also move sometimes, but much less often than the "My SCA told me so" ones. ;)
 
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They couldn't hit a sweet spot on the side of a barn made out of s'mores.

We shall see whether the attempt to have it both ways is feasible. That’s just what I see as the rationale from some remarks they’ve made - whether it will work out with the staffing they’re assigning it or whether people will be satisfied remains to be seen. I do think it doesn’t have to be 100% the same as out west in order to satisfy most riders and for it to be an improvement, but I do hope the desire to try to do it with less staffing doesn’t overwhelm the staffing assigned. I’d think they’d need at least 2 dedicated staff with possibly an SCA helping at busy times. The V2 diner certainly has fewer tables than the Superliner so they don’t need a staff of 5 but again we shall see.
 
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railiner

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It could be that they simply don’t know how long it will take them to reintroduce full service dining. It is better to not announce a firm date, and then fall short, and have to keep pushing it back, losing whatever credibility they may have left.
Instead, when they are ready, just quietly start it, and when they are satisfied that it is going according to expectations, perhaps then announce it with some hoopla.
JMHO…
 
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I just finished a trip in n the Coast Starlight. I observed 2 employees working in the dining car. They actually did a good job. They wore down at the end of the trip when we had a several hour delay near Portland. They delayed the start of dinner because I think they were waiting to find out what was going to happen. When passengers came in an hour later than normal one said something snarky and one of the employees was not pleased. The other tried to calm him down but was perhaps too bossy. They ended up in a heated argument. I got up and told them they had done an outstanding job for the trip and conditions. They settled down and kept working.
 
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I just finished a trip in n the Coast Starlight. I observed 2 employees working in the dining car. They actually did a good job. They wore down at the end of the trip when we had a several hour delay near Portland. They delayed the start of dinner because I think they were waiting to find out what was going to happen. When passengers came in an hour later than normal one said something snarky and one of the employees was not pleased. The other tried to calm him down but was perhaps too bossy. They ended up in a heated argument. I got up and told them they had done an outstanding job for the trip and conditions. They settled down and kept working.
Wow, I don't recall ever seeing actions like this years ago. Customers were served and employees didn't argue (at least not in front of customers) about who was going to do the work and who wasn't.
 
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Wow, I don't recall ever seeing actions like this years ago. Customers were served and employees didn't argue (at least not in front of customers) about who was going to do the work and who wasn't.
Welcome to the real world. It happens. I was at the Tavern On The Green in NYC. An employee was saying derogatory things in Spanish about a colleague why she waited on me. I spoke in Spanish to let her know I had caught on. The look on her face was priceless.
 
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Welcome to the real world. It happens. I was at the Tavern On The Green in NYC. An employee was saying derogatory things in Spanish about a colleague why she waited on me. I spoke in Spanish to let her know I had caught on. The look on her face was priceless.
When this gets routine on Amtrak, please let me know. I sense that things are moving in that direction.
 
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My recent trip on the CZ had an interesting scenario in the dining car. One server was in charge of one side of the dining car, the other server had the other side. The Christmas week train only had one sleeper and a dorm that was not booked ( I had one of only 2 roommetes in the dorm sold for the entire EMY-CHI trip).

The two dining attendants did not work together. One server did the early breakfast other did the last hour of breakfast. Very noticeable at dinner, we did the 5pm seating at the end of our meal around 5:50pm the other server came in the dining car with her backpack and shortly after called the 6:15 seating to her side. It worked out well. They both perfusely apologized to coach passengers saying it was a management decision to “take prices off the menus and make the diner sleepers only“. I knew one of the servers from trips past and she blamed it on management, not labor as they had and have had the full compliment of dining crew on the CZ. My dorm sleeper attendant echoed the same sentiment. Literally only having 2 passengers the entire trip he was in sweats at least half the day, both days Lol. Id give the food a solid grade B, employees an A.

We talk about bad employees going off script quite a bit. These were all good senior employees off script but they had a system that worked. Thinking of my other recent trips on the CZ and SWC the servers and cook for most of the dining periods just sat a table and surfed the net on their phones. If they aren’t needed in my opinion it’s just as well they stay in their dorm room if they want. The diner this recent trip had a more professional feel doing it how they did.


Do I wish there was standardization and enough business to keep everyone busy all the time? Yes, but that’s not the case overall on the west coast diners now.
 
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When you cut labor and increase workload it increases stress on the employees involved. You put enough pressure on a person and their human side will show. The waiters on the Coast Starlight employed a similar system where each worked one-half of the diner. After their disagreement, both did a professional job working with the passengers. They did their best not to let their disagreement affect the passengers.
 
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I think the CS is a different beast. Having ridden it 50 plus times when we lived in cali that train is special, it’s the perfect long distance train over multiple corridors, hence it carries a lot of corridor traffic in addition to 500 plus mi riders. The dining car was always busy.

It seems to me more local management needs to be involved in the long distance trains and especially the diners. Programs like, “Amtrak West”, “TEMPO”, empowered employees like BrIan Rosenwald, all got the job done. Waiting a year for a central dining committee to make recommendations is a noble thought and effort but it needs to be at a more local level. Traditional dining lunch served on the CS between LAX and SBA is a lot different than the same lunch on the SWC passing through Lamy, NM.

Management needs to ride the entire network, eat the food, experience the service or delegate it to someone who will.
 
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arrow3

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Thinking about booking a trip on the Coast Starlight this summer. I was wondering about single passengers in the dining car. Do you share a table with other single passengers like in the past, or do you get your own table now? Thank you.
 
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