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Who's running Amtrak f&b!?


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#21 pksundevil

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 02:38 PM

I do agree Amtrak is amazingly disjointed.  The Acela serves good food.  My trip on the Capitol Limited had good food.  My experiences on the Carolinian have had good food on the cafe car.

 

But business class... it is a random draw outside of the Carolinian as to what I've gotten.  And the random opening and closing times of cafes on other trains have made it seem that there is no "standard" service.



#22 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 03:05 PM

All depends on what you call "Disney food" - you can get the worst over-priced burger in your life at electric umbrella... Or have a AAA 4 or 5 diamond rated meal at Jiko or Victoria and Alberts. And everywhere in between all over property.


As an adult I've simply tagged along with other people who were more into Disney stuff than I was and ate wherever they chose. Disney trips aren't really my thing so I left the details to others figuring they'd know best. I've never eaten at Jiko or Victoria or Alberts so I'm guessing they require a carefully planned reservation or expect you to wait for a long time or show up during a very specific window?
 
 

I consider myself a foodie, and some of the best meals I've ever eaten have been at Disney in Florida.  Some of those were at the signature restaurants at the hotels (I would put Sanaa and Artist Point up against almost anywhere), but I've had some absolutely great food in the parks (Columbia Harbor House, Sunshine Seasons, etc).  The thing I like about Disney is you can get healthy options throughout the park- anyone calling it cafeteria food is clearly not paying attention.


It's entirely possible that the most exclusive and longest wait restaurants are amazing, but the few dozen Disney owned restaurants I've visited so far have indeed been nothing more than generic cafeteria food. Not just the walk-up counters in the park but also the hotel meals and rainforest cafes and Epcot restaurants as well. If I were to ever go back I'd be willing to check into fancier options but the honest truth is that it's hard to get excited about a $500 meal when all the previous $5-$50 experiences have been so disappointing. Also, after Disney intentionally neutered the formerly invaluable fast pass system I lost all interest in spending any more time there.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#23 crescent-zephyr

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 04:10 PM

DA.... Sunshine Seasons, as was mentioned is a counter service place at EPCOT where I usually get wood fire roasted salmon with a tomatoe relish and roasted potatoes. That's counter service for $13. So good options do exist.

I'm not arguing there is some terrible quality food at disney. But some very good finds are out there.

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#24 niemi24s

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Posted 12 June 2017 - 06:15 PM

Sorry if I misled anyone with my "Mickey Mouse" comment as it really has nothing to do with Disney.  It harks back decades ago as a GI when Mickey Mouse was synonymous with rinky-dink, cheesy, nit noi, junky, etc., etc.  It was so widespread, the OCS marching band at Randolph AFB did a superb rendition of it back in the early 1960's.    



#25 dlagrua

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 08:36 AM

The food on Amtrak ranges from very good to not so good.  Overall the recent menus on the LD routes are IMO very good. Steaks and shrimp are excellent, while other items can vary in taste and quality. The deserts don't seem so good these days and the food served on the Cardinal and CONO needs improvement.  Its a mixed bag for sure but for the one or two days that you ride the train its not bad.



#26 VentureForth

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 09:47 AM

Who's running Amtrak f&b!?


Some Swedish dude...

Swedish_poser.jpg

14,223 Amtrak Miles. Many more to go.
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Also Ridden: Carolinian, Crescent, Pacific Surfliner, Piedmont, Southwest Chief, Silver Meteor, Silver Star, Texas Eagle


#27 A Voice

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:28 PM

 

Who's running Amtrak f&b!?


Some Swedish dude...

Swedish_poser.jpg

 

 

Well, that would explain a lot:

 

https://youtu.be/B7UmUX68KtE


Edited by A Voice, 13 June 2017 - 12:30 PM.


#28 Steve4031

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 03:51 PM

I was on 29 thus morning and over heard Amtrak management types discussing various improvements that they thought should happen.

One was noting that during a meal in the diner she discovered that new pax were not aware of the metropolitan lounge in Chicago. She noted that onboard announcements might help. Not sure we need more announcements but perhaps this would work.

Another discussion covered the idea of selling alcoholic beverages in the lounge.

They were discussing dining car inconsistencies. And the need to improve the conl. I chipped in at this point and pointed out that the menu on the conl was particularly bad, to the point that I did not consider it for a trip down to new Orleans to take a cruise in August. One guy agreed and chatted with me a minute. He enthusiastically acknowledged the issues with 58-59.

#29 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:42 PM

Wow! Some managers got out of their offices to see real life.  More should be required to ride a few weeks every year, then maybe they would support some needed changes.  Also the affect of negative changes on the passengers.



#30 railiner

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 07:51 PM

Wow! Some managers got out of their offices to see real life.  More should be required to ride a few weeks every year, then maybe they would support some needed changes.  Also the affect of negative changes on the passengers.

Required to ride?

If I was one of them, I'd turn to my associate, and exclaim:  "Can you believe they actually pay us to do this?"   :)


metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#31 Anderson

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:27 PM

A few thoughts about food at Disney...

I worked for the Mouse for 8 years (5 in Tokyo and 3 in Florida). I'll only refer to my time in Florida.

The quality of the food and the value paid has generally been better than its competitors. As much as I complained about the cost at Disney, when I went to Universal or Sea World, the prices scared me.

My first job at WDW was working in F&B at the Yacht and Beach Club resort hotels. The cast member (employee) cafeteria was located in between the two hotels. They offered food left over from the restaurants from both hotels. Most memorably, they served AWESOME New England Clam Chowder from Cape May Cafe for only 90 cents.

Then Aramark signed a contract with the company to provide for all the food service to the employees. Prices tripled and quality deteriorated. Meanwhile, the customers could still rely on Disney-Employee-Prepared food "on stage". Only the cast backstage had to suffer.

Then the newest (at the time I was there) resort opened - Coronado Springs. In addition to Fulton's Crab House and most of the Pleasure Island restaurants being contracted out, for the first time, a Disney resort was outsourcing their F&B. By that time, I left, and I have no idea what's happened since 1998.

That all being said, for the most part, you won't be getting bargains at Disney - but you tend to get decent value - a differentiation from other themed properties.

Amtrak's F&B is one of the most disjointed operations that I'm aware of being under one company banner. Even though some routes are subsidized by states, etc., the inconsistencies in Business Class are legendary - with absolutely no apparent effort in the past TWO DECADES to correct (or improve).

I find ways of talking myself out of riding Amtrak more and more lately.

You know - the Shinkansen in Japan when it opened in 1964 made the 320 mile journey in around 4 hours. Now it takes as little as 2 hours and 22 minutes. The dining and buffet cars were abolished not necessarily due to revenue/cost, but because the necessity of it was obsoleted by the speed. The only staff on board the train are pushing trolley carts or the conductor and assistants. No OBS or car attendant. Everyone knew where their seat was.

(1) I'll generally agree about the decent value.  I will also say that the food at WDW (particularly Epcot) is definitely better than at Sea World and somewhat better than at Universal (though the Harry Potter areas are better than the parks tend to be on average).  It depends on where you go, though, to be fair (and Magic Kingdom has traditionally lagged the other parks in this respect).  I will say that while I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg dearly, outside of the Food & Wine Festival the in-park options leave something to be desired (though I should check out some of their overhauled venues this year).

(2) The disconnect reached an all-time peak when they forced Ed Ellis to label what he was offering on the Hoosier State as "Business Class".  When I compare the salmon and fresh-baked cookie I had in February with the complementary soda or juice on a Regional...dear gods, it was an absurd contrast.  Amtrak really needs to work up some sort of way to differentiate the service differences a little bit (even if it's pointedly labeling different BC offerings by their service names).  Of course, I'd also love to see them actually offer something "better than" Regional Business Class on some of the VA Regionals...but that's another rant entirely.

 

(3) I cannot speak to transitions over time in Japan, but I also wonder if the abolition had something to do with the rise of available grab-and-go food options at stations as well?  I can imagine that this has improved since the 1960s as well.  I remember a mention that the rise of vendors at Grand Central was dinging the performance of the New Haven Line bar cars.


Edited by Anderson, 13 June 2017 - 11:28 PM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#32 Lonestar648

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Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:36 PM

One major company I worked at for a couple decades found the managers became attached to their desks and the office.  It became a comfort zone, so more and more managers did not get into the field.  The CEO decided to show up unannounced for a customer meeting first level sales was having. One day turned into a whole week.  The following Monday, there was a mandatory conference call with every VP in the company hearing about the brand new "AIC" program, effective immediately, completion was required for any bonus payout and/or merit pay increases.  I can tell you things changed, mostly good, a few bad, but field staff attitudes had positive change as did our customer satisfaction.  Amtrak needs to unglue all their managers ASAP.

 

("AIC" = ass in car) 



#33 Ryan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 05:32 AM

Do you actually have any data to support your contention that Amtrak managers never get out of the office, or is that just another one of those "realities" that found their way into the "everyone knows" category without any actual connection to reality?
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#34 Triley

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 07:55 AM

Wow! Some managers got out of their offices to see real life.  More should be required to ride a few weeks every year, then maybe they would support some needed changes.  Also the affect of negative changes on the passengers.


My now former OBS manager just took a promotion and is essentially in charge of all OBS managers on the west coast. He flew out Monday morning, and he's already been out to see the Capitol Corridor or San Joaquins, I'm not sure which. Thursday he says he'll be out on the Pacific Surfliner. I'm sure he'll keep at it, knowing him. Some here do take pride in their job.

I told him to just let me know when he gets to the Cascades, since that's all I'm curious about!

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#35 Bob Dylan

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:01 AM

Sounds like the New Management Philosophy @ Amtrak is starting to take effect.😎

Hopefully Chicago will receive long needed attention!
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#36 Triley

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 08:03 AM

Do you actually have any data to support your contention that Amtrak managers never get out of the office, or is that just another one of those "realities" that found their way into the "everyone knows" category without any actual connection to reality?


I can't speak for upper level managers, but lower level managers such as OBS managers, and even the OBS supervisors that work in crew base fielding any problems that might arise for us, are definitely -required- to do a certain amount of ridealongs.

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#37 ehbowen

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 12:40 PM

I can't speak for upper level managers, but lower level managers such as OBS managers, and even the OBS supervisors that work in crew base fielding any problems that might arise for us, are definitely -required- to do a certain amount of ridealongs.


What concerns me is the well-known tendency for employees to be on their best behavior while The Boss is watching but then go back to business as usual when the coast is clear. I'd expect most OBS to recognize their managers and supervisors. Is there much cross-pollination between regions so that someone other than a familiar face is doing the checking up?

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#38 Triley

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:33 PM

I can't speak for upper level managers, but lower level managers such as OBS managers, and even the OBS supervisors that work in crew base fielding any problems that might arise for us, are definitely -required- to do a certain amount of ridealongs.

What concerns me is the well-known tendency for employees to be on their best behavior while The Boss is watching but then go back to business as usual when the coast is clear. I'd expect most OBS to recognize their managers and supervisors. Is there much cross-pollination between regions so that someone other than a familiar face is doing the checking up?

I don't remember what the OBS managers from NYP or WAS look like, and they've visited me.

My posts are my own opinions and do not represent the views of my employer in any way, shape, or form. ~ Now back to your regularly scheduled program.


#39 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:38 PM

I can't speak for upper level managers, but lower level managers such as OBS managers, and even the OBS supervisors that work in crew base fielding any problems that might arise for us, are definitely -required- to do a certain amount of ridealongs.

What concerns me is the well-known tendency for employees to be on their best behavior while The Boss is watching but then go back to business as usual when the coast is clear. I'd expect most OBS to recognize their managers and supervisors. Is there much cross-pollination between regions so that someone other than a familiar face is doing the checking up?


I don't remember what the OBS managers from NYP or WAS look like, and they've visited me.


If they were checking on your performance discretely how did you even know they visited you?

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#40 rland54

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 02:16 PM

 

I can't speak for upper level managers, but lower level managers such as OBS managers, and even the OBS supervisors that work in crew base fielding any problems that might arise for us, are definitely -required- to do a certain amount of ridealongs.


What concerns me is the well-known tendency for employees to be on their best behavior while The Boss is watching but then go back to business as usual when the coast is clear. I'd expect most OBS to recognize their managers and supervisors. Is there much cross-pollination between regions so that someone other than a familiar face is doing the checking up?

 

Amtrak should employ "secret shoppers" of sort.  And it would be quite easy to do.  Every so often, contact a ticketed customer, be it someone in coach or first class, and ask them to do a survey of food service from the staff to see how they are doing and include the food itself....taste, selections, availability, suggestions, etc.  They would then be comped a percentage off of the cost of their trip.  Or else they could "hire" people to ride the different trains and ask for their reviews.  The crews would not know who or if a secret shopper was on their train.  Personally, I would volunteer whole-heartedly for that job.  






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