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NativeSon5859

National Menu Changes?

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Has anyone heard anything regarding menu changes? I know in the past they were changed every six months. That definitely is no longer the case. On a recent Crescent trip, the SA told us to not pay attention to the menu since the desserts were different and they no longer carried at least two of entrees listed on the menu.

 

I can only guess that there are more changes on the horizon so maybe they figure why bother doing regular changes now. Still, the same old meals trip in and trip out do get a bit - old. I wonder if people complain about this. Just my two cents.

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I know that the updated the menu on the Meteor and a couple other routes pretty recently, so I disagree that they're not being changed up.

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8 minutes ago, cpotisch said:

I know that the updated the menu on the Meteor and a couple other routes pretty recently, so I disagree that they're not being changed up.

When?  I was on it a few weeks ago and the menu was not "new."  The desserts were "new," but the menu had not been updated.  I will be on the Meteor again fairly soon and will look again.  

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15 minutes ago, pennyk said:

When?  I was on it a few weeks ago and the menu was not "new."  The desserts were "new," but the menu had not been updated.  I will be on the Meteor again fairly soon and will look again.  

Hmm. Well maybe the menu has actually been this way for a while but they only recently updated the site, because up until a couple weeks ago Amtrak.com listed the Meteor's menu as having risotto and gnocchi at dinner, and now it's tortellini instead.

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1 minute ago, Mystic River Dragon said:

Penny, will you let us know if the salmon is still on the Meteor when you go? I'm going on it in December and was looking forward to that--thanks!:)

It was on the menu 2 weeks ago.

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With my luck, my next overnight rides early next year will see changed menus, too....'contemporary fresh choices'.  Should that happen, I'll 'pay again' for meals in the lounge car!

Edited by bratkinson

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At this point I don't believe that the poor choices food menu can or will change. The only option as I see it is to bring in a private catering company to serve meals in the dining car that's already there and used as a box lunch distribution point.  If this box lunch thing keeps up there's no telling what the negative long term effect on ridership will be. We have not taken an overnight trip since they decided to serve that junk food. Very stupid way to reward its highest paying customers.

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I agree the food is not so good anymore but at times I am surprised to the upside.  I however dont travel on the trains for the food.

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On 11/24/2018 at 10:30 AM, cpotisch said:

I know that the updated the menu on the Meteor and a couple other routes pretty recently, so I disagree that they're not being changed up.

There may be changes to the menu, but no updated PRINTED menu has been introduced.  When I rode both the Southwest Chief and California Zephyr in October to November, the menu had not been changed in way over a year but the servers stated that the risotto and gnocchi at dinner had been permanently removed from the menu and they were hoping a new printed menu would soon be available yet there was no assurance that a updated new printed menu would be provided anytime soon.  I hope they soon update the menu as I get tired of eating steak so I try to order some of the other items which limits me to the "vegetarian" dish since I do not eat salmon.  There had been no change in the desert menu on these two trains.  Personally, I would be happier if they would make the lunch items available on the dinner menu also.

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10 hours ago, tommylicious said:

This all sounds so very Office Space.

How? (I know the movie, but don’t get the reference)

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23 hours ago, Tennessee Traveler said:

There may be changes to the menu, but no updated PRINTED menu has been introduced. 

PRINTED anything costs money...just like time tables.  Even staff time to update the menus is likely being cut to the bone, just like updating timetable PDFs.  Maybe Amtrak will be going to more of 'ask your waiter about todays' specials...

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Amtrak starts doing what many roadside diners used to do...paper clip 3"x3" or 4"x4" pieces of typewritten paper on the edges of a menu showing various 'specials' etc. and on Amtrak menus, underneath those paper 'specials' was blank or taped-over space...akin to what I saw in the lounge car on #141  yesterday...some menu item blanked out with a permanent-looking 'sold out' sign when I boarded 15 minutes after it originated at Springfield MA.  So much for the 'new, improved' menus in the NEC.

Edited by bratkinson

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12 hours ago, bratkinson said:

PRINTED anything costs money...just like time tables.  Even staff time to update the menus is likely being cut to the bone, just like updating timetable PDFs.  Maybe Amtrak will be going to more of 'ask your waiter about todays' specials...

It wouldn't surprise me at all if Amtrak starts doing what many roadside diners used to do...paper clip 3"x3" or 4"x4" pieces of typewritten paper on the edges of a menu showing various 'specials' etc. and on Amtrak menus, underneath those paper 'specials' was blank or taped-over space...akin to what I saw in the lounge car on #141  yesterday...some menu item blanked out with a permanent-looking 'sold out' sign when I boarded 15 minutes after it originated at Springfield MA.  So much for the 'new, improved' menus in the NEC.

The problem with this, for long-distance trains, is that Amtrak has a captive clientele for days on end who need to rely on food they can eat being on board. Probably more important to have the menus up-to-date on Amtrak's website, so folks with dietary restrictions can assess before boarding whether they'll be able to eat what's on offer. 

Given the massive amount of paper and plastic the dining cars trash every day, I doubt that the cost of printing menus once in a while is prohibitive. More likely (and more of a concern for folks with dietary restrictions) the trains are now being stocked with varying odds and ends rather than a reliable menu. That's consistent with multiple trip reports on AU in recent months about lack of availability of menu items in dining cars, and sometimes offerings that aren't on the menu.

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On 59 today (same old barely mediocre meals of course) so for lunch just now of out Jackson I just went ahead and bought a burger/chips from the cafe.

After I bought it, as I was heading back to the sleeper, the LSA told me “oh I wish you would have told me you were in the sleeper, we’d have comp’d this for you.”

This is the first time I’ve heard that. Good to know for the future because on this train, the box meals would be an improvement.

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1 hour ago, NativeSon5859 said:

On 59 today (same old barely mediocre meals of course) so for lunch just now of out Jackson I just went ahead and bought a burger/chips from the cafe.

After I bought it, as I was heading back to the sleeper, the LSA told me “oh I wish you would have told me you were in the sleeper, we’d have comp’d this for you.”

This is the first time I’ve heard that. Good to know for the future because on this train, the box meals would be an improvement.

Interesting. So do you think this is an unofficial thing just being done by that crew or an actual Amtrak policy? :huh:

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On 11/28/2018 at 9:28 AM, cpotisch said:

How? (I know the movie, but don’t get the reference)

It just reeks of a disenfranchised, unempowered front line employee base trying to operate under a vague behemoth.  Think opposite of Southwest airlines, where staff are empowered to just get things done.

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3 hours ago, NativeSon5859 said:

On 59 today (same old barely mediocre meals of course) so for lunch just now of out Jackson I just went ahead and bought a burger/chips from the cafe.

After I bought it, as I was heading back to the sleeper, the LSA told me “oh I wish you would have told me you were in the sleeper, we’d have comp’d this for you.”

This is the first time I’ve heard that. Good to know for the future because on this train, the box meals would be an improvement.

Interesting offer indeed!  There are times when I really do not need a full dining car meal.  Having the option of a comp'd snack or sandwich from the Cafe Car would be appreciated by me.

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Interesting. So do you think this is an unofficial thing just being done by that crew or an actual Amtrak policy? :huh:
Just bending of the rules to take care of a passenger...
PRINTED anything costs money...just like time tables.  Even staff time to update the menus is likely being cut to the bone, just like updating timetable PDFs.  Maybe Amtrak will be going to more of 'ask your waiter about todays' specials...
It wouldn't surprise me at all if Amtrak starts doing what many roadside diners used to do...paper clip 3"x3" or 4"x4" pieces of typewritten paper on the edges of a menu showing various 'specials' etc. and on Amtrak menus, underneath those paper 'specials' was blank or taped-over space...akin to what I saw in the lounge car on #141  yesterday...some menu item blanked out with a permanent-looking 'sold out' sign when I boarded 15 minutes after it originated at Springfield MA.  So much for the 'new, improved' menus in the NEC.
I'm guessing the sold out sticker was red background, white find, all caps? The item was probably just sold out....that equipment originated in DC the day prior, and only restocking points for that equipment would have been NYP and WAS. The commissary could've ran out of an item, because with the limited shelf life of the fresh items they don't over order, so maybe that equipment got shorted. Or maybe they just sold out. Or maybe the LSA forgot to order additional items. Could've been an item containing romaine that was sourced from the affected area, and no replacement has been found yet.

No need to poke fun at the menu on the NEC. I'm sure there's a legitimate reason it was sold out.

Anyway, I would venture to guess you're stretching a little out there with the dining car menus. They haven't even released us the guides on the new menus yet, which is something they HAVE to do, so...just give it time... Things get rather screwy during menu changes. Why would they replace the menus when they're still trying to burn off old supplies first?

I don't like Anderson either, but none of this can be blamed on him. All of this is a regular occurrence.

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On 11/24/2018 at 11:59 AM, cpotisch said:

Hmm. Well maybe the menu has actually been this way for a while but they only recently updated the site, because up until a couple weeks ago Amtrak.com listed the Meteor's menu as having risotto and gnocchi at dinner, and now it's tortellini instead.

The menu on the website has this small type at the bottom of the back panel: "AMT SM 0916".

I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that means "Amtrak Silver Meteor effective September 2016".

 

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15 minutes ago, joelkfla said:

The menu on the website has this small type at the bottom of the back panel: "AMT SM 0916".

I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that means "Amtrak Silver Meteor effective September 2016".

It probably does mean that, however that is definitely not what I was served in January of this year. I know for a fact that they offered Butternut Squash Risotto and Sweet Potato Gnocchi at dinner, and I’m pretty certain the menu was listed as being from September 2017. So it seems like there’s a very high chance that they’ve actuallly gone back to an older version of the menu. :huh:

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The menu on the website has this small type at the bottom of the back panel: "AMT SM 0916".
I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that means "Amtrak Silver Meteor effective September 2016".
 
Which means the update wasn't posted on the website for the Meteor. If you'd like to see the menu that's being shown onboard, reference another train, that has a date of 9/17. All the menus for trains actually offering diner service (aside from the Auto Train) are all the same nowadays.

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Talking about Auto train I just looked up the menu. The coach dinner menu looks better to me then the “first class sleeper menu” (yes it’s still called first class). I’d rather have the coach menu as the nationwide menu we have now. 

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