June 11 2021  |  Catering

Amtrak adds back traditional dining

By Rick Lundstrom

Traditional, plated meals on new tableware will debut on Amtrak June 23

Amtrak announced recently it will bring back traditional dining service beginning June 23 on the California Zephyr, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Sunset Limited, and Texas Eagle (for service between San Antonio and Los Angeles).

Amtrak will serve a redesigned menu featuring chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and a three-course dinner. This includes selections for the children, a new array of appetizers and a complimentary alcoholic drink with dinner and table service offered in the Dining Car with glassware, cutlery and white linen tablecloths. Ceramic dishware is set to debut later this year.

“Amtrak is making many important investments to improve customer satisfaction, including restoring and reimagining our popular onboard dining experience with a service our customers will enjoy and our employees will be proud to offer,” said Robert Jordan, Vice President Customer Service Stations and Onboard in a recent announcement. “As the summer travel season approaches and service on our long distance routes returns to pre-pandemic schedules, customers can continue to feel comfortable traveling with essential Amtrak health and safety protocols remaining in place.”

Traditional dining will be offered as an exclusive, complimentary offering for passengers traveling in Bedroom or Roomette private rooms. Café service will continue to be available for customers in both coach and rooms with a variety of meals, snacks, and beverages available for sale. The Café menu will be updated this summer with more fresh selections added. Additionally, eligible coach customers can now place a bid for an upgrade to a Bedroom or Roomette private rooms before their trip via BidUp.

Amtrak is restoring traditional dining while ensuring appropriate coronavirus protocols are still in place for food and beverage service. This includes continuing to require wearing of masks for employees and passengers at all times except while eating or drinking, and to offering complimentary room service as a dining option. Amtrak has implemented guidelines with help from the medical director and partnership with George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.

In addition to restoring long distance schedules to daily service and recalling more than 1,200 furloughed employees, upcoming customer-focused initiatives include: a multi-year interior refresh program for the Superliner and Viewliner fleet, upgrades to the quality of soft goods in Bedroom or Roomette private rooms and the ability for coach passengers to purchase the traditional dining experience online or onboard.

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