New dining options (flex dining) effective October 1, 2019

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Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
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Apr 9, 2009
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I think you might be eating in the wrong restaurants. It’s not a problem I generally encounter, although I avoid sit-down chains like the plague.
No, its just the reality of restaurants.

My kid is a chef. He will bake "X" chicken pot pies, or "Y" regular pies, as part of this daily prep tasks. If there is an atypical run on them, the waitstaff will have to apologize and inform customers they are out.

Restaurants that regularly prepare food excessively, will soon be out of business. ☠
 

Cho Cho Charlie

Conductor
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Apr 9, 2009
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2,166
And don't get me started on how they take up two tables for all of their setups and personal stuff.
I thought they only served a fixed number of tables, regardless of the equipment they are on for that trip. If you sat yourself at one of those two tables, you would probably never be served. Do you really want that?
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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I thought they only served a fixed number of tables, regardless of the equipment they are on for that trip. If you sat yourself at one of those two tables, you would probably never be served. Do you really want that?
It depends on the staffing. Many times, Amtrak dining Cars are not staffed to be able to seat all tables.

I do think it looks bad to have staff and supplies spread out on tables in the dining room, but that’s how Amtrak does it. (It’s not a dining car thing, VIA rail manages to use the stewards desk and storage areas as originally designed).
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
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Jul 15, 2019
Messages
929
I guess I'm glad I have never used a sleeper on the Silvers - I ride coach. I have ridden both the Silvers and have never had a rude attendant or server in the coach car or the café car - and, yes, I have taken the Star to and from Tampa.

I will agree that they use a table in the café for their stuff, but I have not seen them using all the tables - or even multiple ones if there were passengers who needed a seat.
 

crescent-zephyr

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Oct 21, 2015
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I’ve had had great dining car servers on the silver trains, and some that were just ok. The absolute worst dining car crews I’ve seen were on the coast starlight. But again I had some good crews on that train too. Just depends who you get.
 

IndyLions

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Nov 6, 2016
Messages
321
Now that truly surprises me...I can understand getting them for being inconvenienced by a documented very late arrival...but due to perceived rudeness? That is a subjective opinion, that unless verified somehow with a video, or witness testimony, cannot be documented. I am not disputing that employees have indeed been rude, just surprised that a complaint proves sufficient grounds for being compensated...
I don’t find it surprising at all. I’ve worked with customers for many years, just in a totally different industry.

Companies that are successful especially in the customer service area often go by the mantra that “the customer is always right.” Of course they know that is not explicitly true, but they also know another mantra “it’s easier/cheaper to keep an existing customer then to find a new one”.

Instead of trying to prove that the customer is correct or incorrect, a modest voucher to encourage the customer to give the product/service another try is often employed in the many industries. We use it in our business when customers complain. Sometimes their complaints are quite justified – and other times we know they’re just blowing off steam for a situation beyond our control. In either case, it’s something we use to try and retain customers and more importantly to treat customers fairly. Because we know we don’t always screw up - but we aren’t perfect either.
 

jiml

Conductor
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Feb 27, 2019
Messages
1,139
No, its just the reality of restaurants.

My kid is a chef. He will bake "X" chicken pot pies, or "Y" regular pies, as part of this daily prep tasks. If there is an atypical run on them, the waitstaff will have to apologize and inform customers they are out.

Restaurants that regularly prepare food excessively, will soon be out of business. ☠
This is a very accurate statement. One small restaurant we patronize (not lately :( ) always has a finite number of "the special", which is usually pretty good. It's understood that if you want it you go early. They're just too small to be able to afford to "over-prepare".
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,937
Silver Service mostly. They make you feel as you enter the car like you are invading their space. The attitude is there. And don't get me started on how they take up two tables for all of their setups and personal stuff.

One trip to Tampa on the Star we went into the dining car around noon. We were due in around 12:45 I believe. The crew was all sitting around chatting and told us they wouldn't be opening until after Tampa! What?

We went back to our room and the attendant asked us why we were back so fast so we told her what happened. She said you go back there and tell them that you are entitled to your lunch and serve you. We did. They reluctantly cooked us up two burgers. We were the only passengers in the car. The attitude is bad, period.
The Silver Service is one in which I've done a lot of my riding. Once I had a waiter at lunch who was a bit slow. But his attitude was OK. I've never had anyone kicking me out because they didn't want to work. As for the tables set up for crew, well, that's a bit unprofessional looking, but as long as I get seated and served, what do I, as a passenger care? (And one problem with our society in general is that we care more about appearances than about more substantive things.)
 

niemi24s

Conductor
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Feb 11, 2015
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2,235
The Indian picture shows more tracks together than we can see any where in the USA
Bullfeathers!

Open up Google Earth and lay your Orphan Annies on the Bailey Yard outside of North Platte NE. If you can count, you'll find about seven times as many tracks as in the Indian picture.
 
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me_little_me

Conductor
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Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,109
No, its just the reality of restaurants.

My kid is a chef. He will bake "X" chicken pot pies, or "Y" regular pies, as part of this daily prep tasks. If there is an atypical run on them, the waitstaff will have to apologize and inform customers they are out.

Restaurants that regularly prepare food excessively, will soon be out of business. ☠
Making a chicken pot pie can take some time if it is made from scratch or even from a frozen state. Does he have to do the same with the burgers? Or the regular (pre-cooked) chicken? Is he limited to the same four entrees every dinner for months on end? On Amtrak, that includes the vegetables and potatoes. They have had only the one salad (unless it's a lunch entree) every day for the last hundred years.

IMHO, Amtrak chefs are only chefs in the sense that they can get creative (if they want) more by the presentation than the product.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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IMHO, Amtrak chefs are only chefs in the sense that they can get creative (if they want) more by the presentation than the product.
Well your opinion is wrong according to the new oxford dictionary -

chef
noun
a professional cook, typically the chief cook in a restaurant or hotel.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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If you google Chef vs. cook, there's a different perspective.

Difference Between Chef and Cook
Yes.. the dictionary is wrong, but the internet is right!

Also... in the real world the person in charge of a commercial kitchen is a chef. At Disney World for example... if you have a question about ingredients because of an allergy, you have to talk to a “chef” there is a chef at a food court or a snack bar.

Now Disney world also has chefs at AAA 4 and 5 diamond restaurants. Disney knows the qualifications are crazy different for the chef at the pop century food court and Victoria & Alberts. But the title is the same.

Many of the Amtrak dining car chefs actually do have culinary education. Amtrak isn’t hiring people off the street for those jobs, it’s not a simple or easy thing to do.

Of course... it’s a silly point to make now. The LSA’s who are heating up the frozen dinners are not chefs or cooks.
 

NativeSon5859

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 5, 2003
Messages
937
Funny thing, I didn't have a problem with the new meals. The portions were good enough, they tasted fine. The salad was pretty much the same as what was offered before, as were the hot rolls. I tried four out of the five meals on a recent trip. Breakfast was fine... I don't need a heavy meal of pancakes every morning anyway...just wished they'd offer some hard boiled eggs again. I think the only thing missing is some sort of deli sandwich... I didn't really feel like a heavy meal for lunch. Dessert, well... the blondie brownies are actually really good... do I miss the days of the apple pie and cheesecake? Sure, but I've had enough of those to last a lifetime.

The traditional dining I miss is the traditional dining from the 80's and 90's and early 00's. The 2019 version of traditional dining, with the same menu on every train, average eggs, a passable but not great cheeseburger, and a steak that reminds me of steak night at your local bar, didn't really get me all that excited. Would I say the traditional menu is better than the flexible menu? Yes, but that's not going to stop me from riding.
 

crescent-zephyr

Conductor
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Oct 21, 2015
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The traditional dining I miss is the traditional dining from the 80's and 90's and early 00's.
Just in the 20 years of 2000’s we went from real traditional dining with multiple cooks in the kitchen and full staff to “simplified dining” which was all pre-prepared... the days of the Bob Evans breakfast scramble.... back to an enhanced simplified dining (a few things cooked on board like eggs and steaks), and then we had the chef inspired menus and true dining service back on trains like the builder, Capitol and starlight.... then the intro of cross country cafe with with the all day menu that lasted only a few months....

And now this. Hopefully it will get better again before they totally gut and scrap the diners.

It’s truly amazing to me how ANYONE who has tried the contemporary dining would defend it... but it takes all of us to make the world go around.
 

Chey

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Sep 27, 2014
Messages
475
But, according to the article, 80% of people "like" the new flex dining and meals :eek: according to Amtrak :rolleyes:
Yeah that's why "it's evaluating when it can safely begin full meal service again." Sheesh.
 

Manny T

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jun 7, 2015
Messages
477
Did Amtrak lie or mislead in response to the Business Insider inquiry? In the article Amtrak is quoted as saying the following:

"While there were approximately 1,200 customer service cases on flexible dining over the specified period of time, ridership on these six routes during this period exceeded 800K," Amtrak said in a statement. "On each route with flexible dining, at least 80% of customers selected a top range score in customer satisfaction surveys."

What relevance is the 800,000 ridership number? We know 800,000 riders didn't try the flexible dining; only sleeping car PAX were offered flexible dining, and not all of them tried them.

The 1,200 customer service cases were generated by a much smaller group than 800,000 riders, yet Amtrak makes it seem otherwise in its response.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,109
Statistics .... the art of making number say whatever you want them to say
Some appropriate thoughts on Amtrak's numbers:

“There are three types of lies -- lies, damn lies, and statistics.” - Benjamin Disraeli

“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” - Mark Twain

“99 percent of all statistics only tell 49 percent of the story.” - Ron DeLegge II

“Most people use statistics like a drunk man uses a lamppost; more for support than illumination” - Andrew Lang

"Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure." - attributed to Mark Twain but the thought preceded him
 
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