Pre-Selection of Meals

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Dakota 400

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sometimes running out of popular items early in a trip with no restocking on the way. Or "forgetting" to stock something.
I still shake my head in amazement that before dinner was over on the SWC out of Los Angeles, the small bottles of white wine were not available. The larger bottles were available, however. I have wondered for a long time whether they didn't stock a sufficient number or the wine was a big seller that evening. (I was in the final seating of the evening.)
 

Bob Dylan

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I still shake my head in amazement that before dinner was over on the SWC out of Los Angeles, the small bottles of white wine were not available. The larger bottles were available, however. I have wondered for a long time whether they didn't stock a sufficient number or the wine was a big seller that evening. (I was in the final seating of the evening.)
I've been on plenty of LD Trains where @ the First Setting after leaving the Originating Station, the Wait person says " Were Sold Out of ______", only to see Crew Members eating said item(s) later.( especially Steaks and Deserts).
 

Devil's Advocate

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It's amazing to me that Amtrak can forget to stock or run out of items when the menu is so limited to begin with. I guess they just assume half the sleeper pax will never eat. This is why they need a purser. Expecting the conductor to keep tabs on stuff like this is no more logical than expecting the First Officer to monitor meal services on a plane.
 

PaTrainFan

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With all due disrespect to Mica, there must be a more efficient way for Amtrak to cater its food. You don't hear these bad stories from airlines. With the ability to pre-order meals online, Amtrak has to get its act together to provide a good supply chain with quality food with less "loss" and much better experience for its "customers." (I still call them passengers)
 

Bob Dylan

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It's amazing to me that Amtrak can forget to stock or run out of items when the menu is so limited to begin with. I guess they just assume half the sleeper pax will never eat. This is why they need a purser. Expecting the conductor to keep tabs on stuff like this is no more logical than expecting the First Officer to monitor meal services on a plane.
The Conductors have Zero to do with what's stocked in the Food Service Cars.

This is controlled by the Food Service employees @ the originating Stations of Trains,

LSAs can order items from the Commisary, but whether of not they are stocked is totally up to the Commisary staff.
 

Devil's Advocate

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The Conductors have Zero to do with what's stocked in the Food Service Cars. This is controlled by the Food Service employees @ the originating Stations of Trains, LSAs can order items from the Commisary, but whether of not they are stocked is totally up to the Commisary staff.
I agree that conductors should have nothing to do with the service side of the house, but Amtrak told me conductors are above the service staff for purposes of complaints and resolutions. In my experience the LSA's do not care if your preferred meal is available or not. Many of them seem to have a "take it or leave it" attitude and just because an LSA deflects all blame to some nameless commissary agent is no reason to actually believe them. It's not like the they're going to admit they forgot to order it or failed to check everything before the train left.
 
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Bob Dylan

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I agree that conductors should have nothing to do with the service side of the house, but Amtrak told me conductors are above the service staff for purposes of complaints and resolutions. In my experience the LSA's do not care if your preferred meal is available or not. Many of them seem to have a "take it or leave it" attitude and just because an LSA deflects all blame to some nameless commissary agent is no reason to actually believe them. It's not like the they're going to admit they forgot to order it or failed to check everything before the train left.
While Conductors do have Authority over every one on aTrain, there is absolutely nothing they can do about what is available in the food service cars as I said.

They do have the authority to handle any disputes or problems between Passengers and staff as you said, but cant do anything about the lack of Food and drink items on the train, they don't eat in the food service cars.

Their only connection to the Food and drink on the train is the Coffee they drink while on duty on the Train.

I agree there are lazy,non caring LSAs, but there are also really good ones as you know.

One thing to keep in mind, on some of the Two Night LD Trains, the entire Stock for the Food Service Cars is loaded in Chicago, and on the Texas Eagle it must last for the return trip also since there is no Commisary in San Antonio.

The best Diner crews I've ever had on an Amtrak Train in my 50 years of riding were on the Texas Eagle and Sunset Ltd Routes.
 
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Cal

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One thing to keep in mind, on the Two Night LD Trains, the entire Stock for the Food Service Cars is loaded in Chicago, and on the Texas Eagle it must last for the return trip also since there is no Commisary in San Antonio.
Really? Wow. I would think they could re-load in Albuquerque and Denver
 

Bob Dylan

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Really? Wow. I would think they could re-load in Albuquerque and Denver
Honestly, I was referring to the Texas Eagle in this instance since Chris lives in San Antonio.

I am unable to find a Current list of Amtrak Commisaries in the US.The latest Google Search I tried showed 12 Commisaries in 9 Locations but it was 8 years Old.

I did find a Government report that says that Amtrak has not used their own Employees in Commissaries since 1999, when everything was contracted out to bidders.

The only Commissaries I can find anything on are located in Sunnyside (NYC),Miami,Chicago,New Orleans,Los Angeles,Oakland and Seattle.

I do not believe Denver or Albuqurque,currently has a functioning Commissary,but since Food purveyors are located in all Major Cities, I see no reason why Amtrak couldn't resupply LD Trains wherever needed.

Hopefully one of our Amtrak Employee Members knows or one of our Computer Wizards can supply this info.
 
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OBS

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Honestly, I was referring to the Texas Eagle in this instance since Chris lives in San Antonio.

I am unable to find a Current list of Amtrak Commisaries in the US.The latest Google Search I tried showed 12 Commisaries in 9 Locations but it was 8 years Old.

I did find a Government report that says that Amtrak has not used their own Employees in Commissaries since 1999, when everything was contracted out to bidders.

The only Commissaries I can find anything on are located in Sunnyside (NYC),Miami,Chicago,New Orleans,Los Angeles,Oakland and Seattle.

I do not believe Denver or Albuqurque,currently has a functioning Commissary,but since Food purveyors are located in all Major Cities, I see no reason why Amtrak couldn't resupply LD Trains wherever needed.

Hopefully one of our Amtrak Employee Members knows or one of our Computer Wizards can supply this info.
Also Boston has a full commissary. Otherwise, you are pretty accurate.
 

joelkfla

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I do not believe Denver or Albuqurque,currently has a functioning Commissary,but since Food purveyors are located in all Major Cities, I see no reason why Amtrak couldn't resupply LD Trains wherever needed.
Exactly. Maybe the OBS aren't to blame, but there's no reason Amtrak couldn't restock every day, if they had the will to do so.
 

MARC Rider

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Exactly. Maybe the OBS aren't to blame, but there's no reason Amtrak couldn't restock every day, if they had the will to do so.
It really depends how much it would cost to have that capability. Remember that the whole point of the sleeper service on is to skim off the premium fares to cross-subsidize the cost of the entire train. Amtrak isn't just buying generic food items form the grocery store, they're buying specific pre-cooked meals from a specific contractor. Making sure extra portions of those meals are available for restock every day on every long-distance route where there are no commissaries is going to entail extra costs. And given the staffing on the food service cars, they really can't do more than heat and serve pre-cooked meals, even if they do revert to "traditional dining" in some form.

In all of my travels on long-distance trains, the unavailability of food items happened to me only once, and that was because the grill on the Heritage diner was fried by leaks on a rainy day, so they couldn't prepare the steaks. I had the (pre-cooked) roast chicken instead, which was perfectly good, even if it wasn't what I had wanted. (And fortunately, the grill dried out by morning, so I was able to get an omelet for breakfast.)
 

joelkfla

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It really depends how much it would cost to have that capability. Remember that the whole point of the sleeper service on is to skim off the premium fares to cross-subsidize the cost of the entire train. Amtrak isn't just buying generic food items form the grocery store, they're buying specific pre-cooked meals from a specific contractor. Making sure extra portions of those meals are available for restock every day on every long-distance route where there are no commissaries is going to entail extra costs. And given the staffing on the food service cars, they really can't do more than heat and serve pre-cooked meals, even if they do revert to "traditional dining" in some form.

In all of my travels on long-distance trains, the unavailability of food items happened to me only once, and that was because the grill on the Heritage diner was fried by leaks on a rainy day, so they couldn't prepare the steaks. I had the (pre-cooked) roast chicken instead, which was perfectly good, even if it wasn't what I had wanted. (And fortunately, the grill dried out by morning, so I was able to get an omelet for breakfast.)
Sure, it always comes to down to minimizing costs vs. meeting customer expectations, and we all know which usually wins out in today's corporate culture.

But surely the people whose job it is to know about these things can come up with a way to keep the customers happy without bankrupting the railroad. Perhaps a little "outside the box" thinking is in order.
 

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I do not believe Denver or Albuqurque,currently has a functioning Commissary,but since Food purveyors are located in all Major Cities, I see no reason why Amtrak couldn't resupply LD Trains wherever needed.
Back when they started extending the Desert Wind and the Pioneer thru to Chicago, and especially when they separated the Pioneer at Denver, they opened a "mini-commissary" at Denver. Previously, only bags of ice, were resupplied at Denver, but later, they built a freezer, FDA storage racks, and other accommodations for resupplying diner's. Commercial vendors such as Sysco made daily deliveries, and in addition, the train would sometimes request other items, which we went shopping for at a local market. With the rebuilding of the station, I don't know if Amtrak has anyplace where they could do that today...
 

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cho
I've been on plenty of LD Trains where @ the First Setting after leaving the Originating Station, the Wait person says " Were Sold Out of ______", only to see Crew Members eating said item(s) later.( especially Steaks and Deserts).
That is really bad, someone clearly did not do their job.
In my experience, if you wanted to get your choice, it was usually available at the first or second seating, but popular items often were gone by the last seating. So I learned to always choose the first seating.... :)
 

Bob Dylan

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That is really bad, someone clearly did not do their job.
In my experience, if you wanted to get your choice, it was usually available at the first or second seating, but popular items often were gone by the last seating. So I learned to always choose the first seating.... :)
Ditto!
 

Dakota 400

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One thing to keep in mind, on some of the Two Night LD Trains, the entire Stock for the Food Service Cars is loaded in Chicago,
Do you know if that is true for the SWC out of Los Angeles? If there is no stocking of the dining car in LA, then that would help explain why they ran out of the small bottles of white wine.
 

jis

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The only Commissaries I can find anything on are located in Sunnyside (NYC),Miami,Chicago,New Orleans,Los Angeles,Oakland and Seattle.

I do not believe Denver or Albuqurque,currently has a functioning Commissary,but since Food purveyors are located in all Major Cities, I see no reason why Amtrak couldn't resupply LD Trains wherever needed.
I am almost certain that there are Commissaries in Ivy City (Washington DC) and Southampton St. (Boston) at least for the Acelas, if not for the Regionals too. I think the Cap is also served by Ivy City.
 

Cal

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Do you know if that is true for the SWC out of Los Angeles? If there is no stocking of the dining car in LA, then that would help explain why they ran out of the small bottles of white wine.
I think they meant running Westbound. Running eastbound they would be re-stocked in LA.

Having stock for 40 hours is good, but I don't think they can stock it for 80
 

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I am almost certain that there are Commissaries in Ivy City (Washington DC) and Southampton St. (Boston) at least for the Acelas, if not for the Regionals too. I think the Cap is also served by Ivy City.
Absolutely. I didn't even catch DC missing from the list.
 
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