Amtrak Dining

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Cal

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TACO LADY? I am insultipated [sic] by your imposterably incorrectably [sic] answer. She is the famous BURRITO LADY. Please don't get them mixed up. The last thing we need is a justifiable invasion from our friends to the south for such a blunderbuss [sic].
DITTO! 😍
 

Cal

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On Instagram:1634597626917.png1634597642614.png1634597676112.png (From gwendolen_squires's story on Instagram"


In the picture of the salmon, the presentation looks amazing. Honestly, at first I didn't think it was even on the train. And that doesn't really look like the plastic plates to me, but it probably is. But glassware is shown in the third picture.
 

PVD

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Most but not all bread products like bagels or bialy would be Parve, neither meat or dairy, and barring unusual ingredients, Kosher. What you put on it is another story.
But a fresh bagel or bialy from a good bagel store will be made without preservatives, and has vey little shelf life. The bagel place on my corner sells off all remaining at the end of the day in mixed bags of 5 at half price, great for freezing/toasting, but otherwise, they are chewy/rubbery by day two.. Very few "packaged" products can come close.
 

OBS

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Amtrak management does NOT operate on a whim.

It operates on stupidity, bolstered by incompetence.
This became apparent to me my first year of employment. I was the LSA in the Dome Lounge on the Auto Train and some VP of passenger something came by and introduced himself. He then proceeded to "ask how thing were", " what could be improved", etc. I gave two or three suggestions, his eyes glazed over, He wrote nothing down, and He wandered off. I quickly learned that most Management was useless and had to identify who to actually approach to get things accomplished or resolved.....
 

jis

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This became apparent to me my first year of employment. I was the LSA in the Dome Lounge on the Auto Train and some VP of passenger something came by and introduced himself. He then proceeded to "ask how thing were", " what could be improved", etc. I gave two or three suggestions, his eyes glazed over, He wrote nothing down, and He wandered off. I quickly learned that most Management was useless and had to identify who to actually approach to get things accomplished or resolved.....
Unfortunately, today, this is true of not just Amtrak, but most large corporations, specially of the classical kind. A disturbingly large proportion of managers don't seem to have much deep knowledge about whatever is it that they are managing. They can only figure out some financial spreadsheets given to them and whatever is not captured in those, gets ignored even if those have more impact on the core business than whatever they can capture in a spreadsheet.

This revelation came to me when Mark Hurd, then CEO of HP (where I then worked), pretty much said that he cannot manage anything that cannot be measured in terms of numbers and placed on a spreadsheet. At a subsequent meeting I submitted a question stating "If all that you can manipulate are numbers on spreadsheets, why shouldn't you be replaced by a simple AI project?" Naturally that one fell on the cutting floor. So basically he manipulated the stock price higher, allowing me to sell my considerable stash of shares and options (for which of course I should be grateful I suppose ... afterall it did contribute mightily to my retirement, though none of it was in my tax deferred 401K), before things crashed and burned and HP was broken up into a dozen little companies naturally to get the most value. Mind you in the first place it had grown into the behemoth because of mergers that were extracting the most value too! But I digress....
 
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TaseMeBro

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Served tonight (10/23) aboard the Southwest Chief #3. Service was very good, presentation nice. Food good - the tamale appetizer (not shown) especially so.

As someone asked upthread, the plates were indeed plastic, but decent quality and Amtrak branded. Didn't, to me, detract from the meal at all. Wine was served in glassware, other drinks in plastic.
 

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IndyLions

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Over the last week - I’ve been on the Zephyr with two different dining crews. The first (CHI-DEN) was dynamic and energetic and very attentive. Also happened to be very young. The food was presented very close to what you see in the publicity photos. It was still Amtrak with some warts, but it was a B+ for execution and an A+ for effort. Everyone in the Dining Room had a great time. Mistakes were made but they were apologetic when they happened and due to the effort being expended nobody cared.

The second crew (DEN-EMY) was the jaded, wet blanket bunch. Just looking to get the meal over with - with the least amount of effort possible. They’d bring you something, but you’d have to ask twice. Do you want a roll? You need to ask for it. They didn’t offer or even bring it as SOP. If they weren’t taking your order or bringing your food, they were nowhere to be found. The food looked nothing like the publicity photos. Yeah - it was the same food but you couldn’t tell by looking at it. This bunch would get a D for execution and an F for effort.

Of course, I’m no rookie - so the wet blanket bunch won’t spoil my trip. But I feel bad for those who had higher expectations and were disappointed.
 

20th Century Rider

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Over the last week - I’ve been on the Zephyr with two different dining crews. The first (CHI-DEN) was dynamic and energetic and very attentive. Also happened to be very young. The food was presented very close to what you see in the publicity photos. It was still Amtrak with some warts, but it was a B+ for execution and an A+ for effort. Everyone in the Dining Room had a great time. Mistakes were made but they were apologetic when they happened and due to the effort being expended nobody cared.

The second crew (DEN-EMY) was the jaded, wet blanket bunch. Just looking to get the meal over with - with the least amount of effort possible. They’d bring you something, but you’d have to ask twice. Do you want a roll? You need to ask for it. They didn’t offer or even bring it as SOP. If they weren’t taking your order or bringing your food, they were nowhere to be found. The food looked nothing like the publicity photos. Yeah - it was the same food but you couldn’t tell by looking at it. This bunch would get a D for execution and an F for effort.

Of course, I’m no rookie - so the wet blanket bunch won’t spoil my trip. But I feel bad for those who had higher expectations and were disappointed.
This is definitely a flaw at Amtrak... employee attitudes are inconsistent and range from good to unacceptable... I recently experienced horrific rudeness and minimal service on the Cardinal. You are so right in your assessment... there is no excuse for any service which is less than stellar. All that said, Amtrak continues to have staffing and hiring issues which will only get worse on November 22 when the vaccination mandate goes into effect.

Good luck to all of us! :eek:
 

TaseMeBro

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Over the last week - I’ve been on the Zephyr with two different dining crews. The first (CHI-DEN) was dynamic and energetic and very attentive. Also happened to be very young. ....
This is very close to my experience - but among different members of the same crew aboard this train. The younger crew members have all been friendly, engaging, made a few jokes, etc. The older ones have been.. the polar opposite. It's a phenomena I've also seen with aircrews a number of times.

It's a shame the service isn't more consistent, but there's just so many human factors, training issues, and management factors I imagine are at play that I couldn't speculate on how to "fix" it.

Still a very nice trip, though.
 

Cal

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On my SWC Trip in late July the LSA was fantastic. He made some corny, yet funny jokes over the PA, was engaging, fun, and got the job done. Presentation, I felt (although I am by far no expert in this), was great. I believe he also tried to get the Amtrak logo facing towards the person dining.

The SA wasn't the same. She got the job done, but when we were seated for breakfast it took her a considerable time to come. Now, I get that she has other tables but it felt like a prolonged response. When she did come, service was not that engaging nor friendly. But the food did come fairly quick with good presentation.
 

neroden

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I have pretty low standards for on-board service, but I have also experienced wild differentials. Some really great people (especially the crews out of Boston), and a few really hopelessly terrible ones who didn't do the basics *and* were rude about it.
 

Mr.Technician

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Is the dining car open to coach passengers on long distance routes? I may take the CS from LA to EMY and would take coach. If not I'd make sure to pack enough food + supplement with the cafe car.
 

Rasputin

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Is the dining car open to coach passengers on long distance routes? I may take the CS from LA to EMY and would take coach. If not I'd make sure to pack enough food + supplement with the cafe car.
No. The dining car is not open to coach passengers from everything I have read.
 

Cal

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Is the dining car open to coach passengers on long distance routes? I may take the CS from LA to EMY and would take coach. If not I'd make sure to pack enough food + supplement with the cafe car.
No. The dining car is not open to coach passengers from everything I have read.
Correct, but the diner is intended to open to business class passengers on the Starlight later this year. It won't nearly be as costly as a roomette, and will grant you access to the diner. Meals will most likely have to be paid for, they won't be in the price of the ticket.

And this might be delayed.
 

Mr.Technician

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Correct, but the diner is intended to open to business class passengers on the Starlight later this year. It won't nearly be as costly as a roomette, and will grant you access to the diner. Meals will most likely have to be paid for, they won't be in the price of the ticket.

And this might be delayed.
That's good to know! Business class isn't typically offered on LD trains, right?
 
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