COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak Food Service Discussion

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crescent-zephyr

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Do you have anything anecdotal to prove this? Although I'm a Marriott slave and "insider", I cheat at Drury Inns occasionally. I was under the impression that all hotels who provided a "buffet-style" service environment have had to suspend service or offer take-out bags - depending on jurisdiction of course. This has been responsible for the demise of the usual service at all the Marriott lower tier brands. (After living at a Residence Inn for a month before Covid, this is not good.)
Well sadly Drury changed the website to say “or grab and go varying by location” so I guess it’s a gamble just like the other hotel chains.
 

Steve4031

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I have been thinking about another trip on the second. My work around would be ordering pizza I Albuquerque to be delivered to the train.

On my planned ride on 449 I would order pizza at Albany.
 

Ferroequinologist

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Jan 18, 2016
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Guess I'm in big trouble if I hold my breath to wait for 'real' traditional rail dining service. I have actually experienced this on one of my very first rail rides in the 60's. The experience made the trip... and the best part of the vacation was the journey that got you to wherever you were actually going! Yup, I do anticipate someone will say you can get that on one of those beautifully restored private trains... but if you find one can you afford it???🤠
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This is beautiful but how many people nowadays would like this? It would intimidate most passengers. This sort of service survived into the 60s but even then society was changing. This kind of service doesn't mix well with customers in tank tops, shorts and ripped jeans.
 

Ziv

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Oct 25, 2011
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I hear you, AmtrakBlue, but the surge in new cases started in early June, right around 3 weeks ago, right about the time that the 7 day rolling average of test results surged up to around 460k per day. It had just gotten over 300k per day about 6 weeks ago in early May.
The 7 day rolling average of deaths have been trending down relatively steadily as the 7 day rolling average of new cases have been going up. It isn't cut and dried but it definitely doesn't look as bad as it did a month ago.
Here is hoping we are past the worst of it, but I won't bet the farm on it being over, though.

It can take 2 or more weeks from time of case to time of death. I wouldn't be so sure the death counts is looking so good...just hasn't caught up to the new increases in cases. ;)
 

MARC Rider

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Once something is downgraded at Amtrak it seems that restoration of a former better service is gone forever...
That's not always true. In 1990, I took the Crescent to Atlanta. It seemed like some sort of microwaved fish served on styrofoam picnic plates. The next time I took a long distance train was in 1997, and traditional dining service was back.
 

me_little_me

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It can take 2 or more weeks from time of case to time of death. I wouldn't be so sure the death counts is looking so good...just hasn't caught up to the new increases in cases. ;)
Not necessarily. A disproportionate number of deaths have been in long term care. Now that they have been forced (in some cases) and allowed (in other cases) to do something about it and since the numbers of residents have been reduced due to the disease, the death counts may not follow proportionally.
In our county (110K people) , we have had 49 deaths - 47 associated with long term care. About 80% of (non-death) cases were also long term care. Now, we're up to 50-50 and no increases in deaths in a while. The increases seem more to follow the increase in testing (how many untested cases in the past?) and much higher percentages of 20-59 y/o than in the past - and those generally survive better than us ancient ones.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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It can take 2 or more weeks from time of case to time of death. I wouldn't be so sure the death counts is looking so good...just hasn't caught up to the new increases in cases. ;)
Death count in Delaware just went up due to prior deaths they had been analyzing as to whether they were COVID-19 related.
 

crescent-zephyr

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This is beautiful but how many people nowadays would like this? It would intimidate most passengers. This sort of service survived into the 60s but even then society was changing. This kind of service doesn't mix well with customers in tank tops, shorts and ripped jeans.
Yeah just a few years ago on Amtrak I remember passengers across from me commenting on how the flowers on the table intimated them. Then when the wine was served in a real glass they said “oh I don’t like this... I was hoping it was served in a small disposable cup”
 

Bob Dylan

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Death count in Delaware just went up due to prior deaths they had been analyzing as to whether they were COVID-19 related.
Yep, the Death Count will mount no matter how hard the Politicians try to hide the Stats in some States and in Washington! 😣
 

desertflyer

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Jul 29, 2013
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I need to go see my family in Texas at some point in the next couple of months, and I'd like to use Amtrak to make the trip SF-Houston-SF. For social distancing I'd prefer to have all meals in my room. Why doesn't Amtrak let us order ahead and pick up our food from the dining car? Sleeping Car attendants have really not wanted to provide this service in the past, even when tipped well. It seems like something so easy that could make customers feel more comfortable.
 

MARC Rider

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Grab-n-go food items in the cafe car. They could even have an app where you'd enter your credit card and then be able to scan the grab-n-go item yourself. It would reduce the work for the cafe car attendant, speed up the line, as people wouldn't have to wait for the attendant to fiddle around putting their order together and ring up the sale, and it would allow people to get stuff while social-distancing the whole time. The cafe attendant wouldn't be put out of a job, as they'd still be needed to heat stuff, serve booze, and make sure nobody's shoplifting grab-n-go stuff. Kind of like a Pret a Manger on wheels, except I don't think Pret has the scan-it-yourself app.

Actually, I'd like to have a scan-it-yourself app for my local supermarket. Wouldn't have to wait in line to have may sales rung up.
 

desertflyer

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Grab-n-go food items in the cafe car. They could even have an app where you'd enter your credit card and then be able to scan the grab-n-go item yourself.
I think it's important to always have a cash option for people who don't have bank accounts. But, I don't think that's actually at odds with what you're suggesting. The concept reminds me of the Amazon Go stores here in SF where you tag in on entry to the store, bag up what you want to buy, and tag out on exit. Amazon charge you for whatever you walk out of the store with. They have a way to pay using cash and staff are still needed, just not as cashiers generally, and there is no need to scan each item.
 

Trogdor

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I think it's important to always have a cash option for people who don't have bank accounts. But, I don't think that's actually at odds with what you're suggesting. The concept reminds me of the Amazon Go stores here in SF where you tag in on entry to the store, bag up what you want to buy, and tag out on exit. Amazon charge you for whatever you walk out of the store with. They have a way to pay using cash and staff are still needed, just not as cashiers generally, and there is no need to scan each item.
Maybe I’m misreading what you’re saying, but how is it possible to pay at Amazon Go using cash? I’ve visited several in Chicago and SF and, as far as I can tell, there is no mechanism whatsoever to pay with any method other than the app, since there actually is no “check out” process, per se, at all.
 

Michigan Mom

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I believe the reduction in food service on the western trains will result in ridership stagnating or decreasing. This will cause Amtrak to cut more. This thought process is flawed.

Hotels that decide not to provide breakfast service (full service and HGi type hotels) are also going to continue to suffer. I do research and call ahead and ask. When some millinial
Nitwit cheerfully informs me that a grab and go bag serves as breakfast I cheerfully tell them I’ll stay someplace else. I’ll just pick the cheapest property in the area and find a local place serving breakfast.
The "millenial nitwit" is doing a job that you wouldn't want to do. Considering they are going to have to clean up after the messes left by "boomers", I think maybe, a little understanding is in order. It might interest you to know that their perception of us is along the lines of us disregarding the very generation that will be taking care of us.
Beyond that, this is an unfair characterization of a very hardworking generation. I've had several millenial interns with a work ethic that easily surpasses us elders.
 

Bob Dylan

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I need to go see my family in Texas at some point in the next couple of months, and I'd like to use Amtrak to make the trip SF-Houston-SF. For social distancing I'd prefer to have all meals in my room. Why doesn't Amtrak let us order ahead and pick up our food from the dining car? Sleeping Car attendants have really not wanted to provide this service in the past, even when tipped well. It seems like something so easy that could make customers feel more comfortable.
Hopefully Houston and Texas will have gotten the current Covin Out of Control situation stopped by then. Houston is on the verge of becoming the Hot Spot that New York City was!

You might want to wait till Sept for this trip, but don't wait till Oct when the I'll advised 3 days a week Schedules for LD Trains kicks in!
 

desertflyer

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Maybe I’m misreading what you’re saying, but how is it possible to pay at Amazon Go using cash? I’ve visited several in Chicago and SF and, as far as I can tell, there is no mechanism whatsoever to pay with any method other than the app, since there actually is no “check out” process, per se, at all.
San Francisco changed the law when the Amazon Go stores started opening. Now all stores in San Francisco are required to accept cash payment, even now during COVID-19. There is a process for Amazon Go stores although I'm not entirely sure how it works. I believe it involves store employees stoping whatever else they are doing and checking in/out the cash customer.
 

me_little_me

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San Francisco changed the law when the Amazon Go stores started opening. Now all stores in San Francisco are required to accept cash payment, even now during COVID-19. There is a process for Amazon Go stores although I'm not entirely sure how it works. I believe it involves store employees stoping whatever else they are doing and checking in/out the cash customer.
Shouldn't even be necessary. Look at your paper currency. It clearly states "THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE".
 

jebr

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This thread is specific to the COVID-19 impacts on Amtrak Food Service. Please keep all discussion in the realm of Amtrak food service impacts, or closely related items/discussion. Some off-topic posts have been hidden.

Amtrak discussion that isn't food service specific can go in the thread COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic: Amtrak-related Discussion, and general discussion can be done on this thread: https://www.amtraktrains.com/threads/covid-19-coronavirus-pandemic-general-discussion.76916/.

Thanks for your understanding and continued cooperation.
 

me_little_me

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jebr

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So the law says the bills are violating that law by making a false and misleading claim? Does that mean that U.S. bills are fake? That mean using the bill means you are a party to falsified information? That the bills are part of "Fake News"? :)
It's a bit more fine-grained than that. The bills say that they're payment for any debt, public or private. If you're at a store and trying to purchase something, the ownership of the item is still with the store until the item/product is purchased. Thus, they can simply refuse to accept cash for the purchase of the item, and that's perfectly fine.

Now, if they let you walk out of the store with it and let you pay for it later, then they have to accept cash for it (or simply forgive the debt.) Same with paying a loan of some sort. The line might get a bit fuzzy at a sit-down restaurant, where you order/eat your food first and then pay, but that'd probably be the closest thing to a "debt" that one could argue where accepting cash would be required.

Thus, if Amtrak goes completely cashless, they'd probably be fine in the cafe car, since payment generally happens before the food is eaten. In the dining car, they'd want to take payment first before making the food, both from a practical standpoint (someone may simply not have a card on them, and there's no way to get a prepaid card while on board) and possibly from a legal standpoint.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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Thus, if Amtrak goes completely cashless, they'd probably be fine in the cafe car, since payment generally happens before the food is eaten. In the dining car, they'd want to take payment first before making the food, both from a practical standpoint (someone may simply not have a card on them, and there's no way to get a prepaid card while on board) and possibly from a legal standpoint.
Amtrak is currently cashless.
 
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