Meals in the room?

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OBS

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Not sure which foodie thread this belongs in, but Trains.com reported this today:
Amtrak offering sleeping car passengers option of choosing meals in advance
Amtrak has begun offering an option for sleeping car passengers to choose their meals in advance on some routes. Customers holding reservations for private rooms on the Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, and Lake Shore Limited are now offered the chance to view menus and pre-select meals. An Amtrak spokeswoman reports the service is expected to be available on the Silver Star and Silver Meteor “in the coming weeks.”
I'm not sure what it is intended to accomplish, but we rode #49 on Monday out of NYP. We had preordered a couple days before. When we went to dinner, we were given menus and asked what we would like....No reference to if we had preordered, and my partner actually ordered something different based on the attendant's recommendations. Maybe it is just used to judge how many of each meal, because the attendant didn't seem to have any awareness or concern regarding the preorder.

Fwiw, I had the beef, very little flavor even with the high sodium level, and my partner switched from the pasta to the shrimp based on Attendant recommendation and he actually enjoyed it.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I'm not sure what it is intended to accomplish, but we rode #49 on Monday out of NYP. We had preordered a couple days before. When we went to dinner, we were given menus and asked what we would like....No reference to if we had preordered, and my partner actually ordered something different based on the attendant's recommendations. Maybe it is just used to judge how many of each meal, because the attendant didn't seem to have any awareness or concern regarding the preorder.

Fwiw, I had the beef, very little flavor even with the high sodium level, and my partner switched from the pasta to the shrimp based on Attendant recommendation and he actually enjoyed it.
Lol. You can’t make it up. Thanks for sharing.
 

Palmland

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If nothing else, I would think it would help Amtrak better manage the meal inventory for each train. That should result in less waste and not running out of something the passenger wants. That of course that assumes the passengers don’t change their mind.
 

Devil's Advocate

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If nothing else, I would think it would help Amtrak better manage the meal inventory for each train. That should result in less waste and not running out of something the passenger wants. That of course that assumes the passengers don’t change their mind.
Does Amtrak even let you change your mind? I never use the preorder option on airlines for the simple reason that I have no way of knowing what sort of meal I'll want to eat days, weeks, or months in advance. I guess the idea is that it doesn't matter since it will all taste like reheated casserole no matter what you order.
 

jiml

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Does Amtrak even let you change your mind? I never use the preorder option on airlines for the simple reason that I have no way of knowing what sort of meal I'll want to eat days, weeks, or months in advance. I guess the idea is that it doesn't matter since it will all taste like reheated casserole no matter what you order.
Speaking as an AA flyer, the only advantage of pre-ordering is improving the odds of getting something you may want, as opposed to something you definitely don't or are allergic to or have dietary/religious restrictions, etc. (I realize special meals are also available, but thinking where everything on the menu is fine save one item and it's the only thing left when they get to you.)
 

toddinde

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East German dining and sleeping cars were operated by Mitropa, carrying on the name of the pre-WWII company. They were taken over by the DB in "die Wende" (the merger changes) and then shut down. If the layoffs and position changes were not enough there also was an effort to find service jobs for the Ministry for State Security redundant staff (as illustrated in the closing scenes in the film 'The Lives of Others"). I had a nice chat in a railway museum dining car with a genuine embittered ex-Mitropa employee who did not take it out on his guests, but there may have been others out there who do. I tipped him though service is included.

I also have had some of the most wonderful service from DSG (the old West German counterpart to Mitropa) and enjoyed the hilarious reaction on a DB Bistro car when I noticed the attendant's surname was Merkel, so I asked in tourist English if she got the job by being a relative of the Chancellor. I tipped her though service is included.

Here's a Mitropa lunch favorite: Königsberger Klopse.

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Love the pictures, the story and the information! Thanks. Beautiful Germany! Can’t wait to get back 😊
 

lordsigma

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For those riding the eastern trains - i rode the star this past weekend - if you think you may want to eat in the diner make sure you make that clear to your attendant when they take your order That you’d rather collect your meal from the diner instead of room service as they are assuming most people want room service right now due to Covid. If you opt to pick up in the diner you can still bring it back to your room if you change your mind. I told her outright for lunch that I want to eat in the diner but that I wasn’t sure for dinner. I never saw her again to tell her I’d probably go to the diner again for dinner so she just assumed room service and I literally ran into my SCA in the hall bringing me my meal as I was working toward the diner. For breakfast they do things a little different - your SCA doesn’t come around the same way to take orders as they don’t do set meal times for breakfast so you just either walk to the diner and order if you want breakfast or you tell your SCA youd like to order breakfast and have it brought to you.

I believe on the auto train room service is mandatory due to the larger amount of passengers and the difference in the food preparation.
 
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AmtrakBlue

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On the Cardinal they’re only doing room service because they don’t have a diner, just the combined diner/cafe car.
 

Cho Cho Charlie

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I've never had a DB staff member bark at me for doing something wrong. I have had Amtrak OBS bark at me for not waiting for them at the end of the dining car, then bark at me for not coming to the middle of the car to speak to them for my table assignment on the same trip.
I had one OBS bark at me for waiting in the end of the dining car. I replied that I had a 6pm reservation and it was 6pm. She replied that it isn't 6pm until she announces it is 6pm over the PA.

I walked away mumbling that the PA system in the sleepers wasn't even working, and isn't knowing that part of her job?
 

crescent-zephyr

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I had one OBS bark at me for waiting in the end of the dining car. I replied that I had a 6pm reservation and it was 6pm. She replied that it isn't 6pm until she announces it is 6pm over the PA.

I walked away mumbling that the PA system in the sleepers wasn't even working, and isn't knowing that part of her job?
Pretty sure I had that LSA once! As I’ve mentioned before I was also scolded for waiting at the end of a via diner on the Canadian. I was told that it was proper etiquette to announce ones arrival. ??? Dining Cars are just weird lol.

On both Amtrak and VIA I try to follow other guests into the car and let them take the wrath of the lsa / steward. Ha.
 

tgstubbs1

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Could be, but I don't recall fries ever on the Dining Car's menu offered as the side on the kid's menu.
I seem to remember somebody telling me the danger of a deep fryer full of hot oil could be a safety risk.
A hot air fryer is almost as good for frozen stuff, if you ask me.
 

crescent-zephyr

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I seem to remember somebody telling me the danger of a deep fryer full of hot oil could be a safety risk.
A hot air fryer is almost as good for frozen stuff, if you ask me.
It would be a safety risk. But I’m sure there are good quality pre-cooked fries available from Aramark. Now I want some potato wedges!
 

Dakota 400

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I had one OBS bark at me for waiting in the end of the dining car.
I have not been barked at but have been asked to wait in the Lounge Car until my seating was called. The PA was working in the Lounge Car; it was not working in my Sleeper than the crew member did not know that.
 
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OK, if you don’t tip, you’re a cheap skate. Dining cars, when they come back, 20% of the price of the meal if you had paid for it. The fact that it was included doesn’t mean you can leave a buck. Service attendant, $20. Just because workers are in a Union doesn’t mean you don’t tip. Try that in Vegas or New York where they’re all in the hotel and restaurant workers union. Yes, you tip!

Planning first trip on Amtrak so Is it suggested $20/night or trip for the service attendant?
 

crescent-zephyr

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Planning first trip on Amtrak so Is it suggested $20/night or trip for the service attendant?
I usually do $10 a night for my sleeping car attendant and go up to $20 a night for excellent service.

On my most recent trip I tipped $20 for one night because my sca was excellent and she also took my orders and delivered my meals.

I did not tip the LSA for handing me a yogurt and a coffee in the morning.
 
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I usually do $10 a night for my sleeping car attendant and go up to $20 a night for excellent service.

On my most recent trip I tipped $20 for one night because my sca was excellent and she also took my orders and delivered my meals.

I did not tip the LSA for handing me a yogurt and a coffee in the morning.
Thanks so much for the information.
 

MARC Rider

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I don't think there is any good solution here to avoid tipping. Not having the cash to tip, does not by itself, give one permission to stiff the person of their due tip. In this case, whether you eat in your room or eat in the dining car, you still need to tip someone (either the SCA or the waitstaff serving you). Its part of the cost of going on the trip in Sleeper class.

It would be like going into a restaurant and enjoying a $50 meal. When the check comes, you only have $50 in your pocket, so its OK to not leave a tip? That's wrong. If you had only $50, you should have only had a $42 meal, and therefore, had enough to also leave a tip.
As has been pointed out, tips are not required. Also, as has been pointed out, Amtrak OBS are not like most service workers in that they are relatively well paid. Thus, one should not feel like you are "stiffing" anyone by not tipping. That said, if you've just paid 100s of dollars for a sleeping car ticket, you probably have enough money to afford another $20 - $30 in tips to service workers you encounter along the way. If you're taking a long train trip, you should remember to bring the extra cash, and in small bills, too. Of course, if the service is substandard, there's nothing wrong with not tipping, especially because the service workers earn a decent wage.

I personally tip OBS. I tip the SCA $5 -$10 a night, depending on the quality of the service. For traditional full-service dining, if it ever comes back, I estimate that the Dinners are around $25 -$30, so I will tip $3 -$5, which is about a 15% tip. Breakfasts and lunches are priced at about $10, so I tip $1.50 - $2.00. On the trip when I did flex dining, I didn't tip on the Capitol when I had to line up, pick up my tray and take it to my seat and then put it in the trash myself, but I did tip the attendant on the Cardinal, who served me my flex dinner as if it were a real dining car meal.
 
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