Many of us take regular train journeys for work and probably don’t give the catering a second thought. Taking a trip on a train for pleasure, on the other hand, means a much keener interest in the dining carriage.
For the train companies, that poses a potential problem; when it comes to food, consumers are usually very quick to complain, so it’s really important for the caterers to get it right, or face adverse publicity very quickly. Poor food or service of food is one of the quickest measures to affect over passenger satisfaction, and it seems that there is a significant variation between operators – everything from Michelin-starred chefs right down to a lonely vending machine.
Some operators have taken the dining experience to the next level and gone to town with that as the USP, and the food is the reason for buying tickets rather than to get to a specific destination.
The Great Western Railway example
The Great Western Railway (GWR) is one operator that has really upped its dining game in recent years, engaging Mitch Tonks, restaurateur and chef, to create menus for the London to Penzance journey, specifically incorporating ingredients from local producers along the route.
GWR have made public their intention to recreate “the good old days” of luxury train travel as an experience in its own right, and they have incorporated all the details from linen tablecloths to silver service.
Start with the basics
All catering requires a behind the scenes operation, and for a company wanting to offer top-end eating experiences, an efficient kitchen is vital. The preparation area is very important but so too is storage. A display freezer from specialist retailers like Fridge Freezer Direct https://www.fridgefreezerdirect.co.uk/glass-door-refrigeration/single-glass-door-freezers can go a long way to building the foundations of an efficient kitchen, which allows the chefs to work their magic.
For more information on fine dining on the railways, and whether or not it is a positive move, see the article on the International Railway Journal.
There are some fantastic journeys available in the UK, as well as further afield in Europe on such services like the Eurostar or Deutsche Bahn, and high-end providers are realising the value of specialist menus, including vegetarian and even vegan choices to meet consumer demand.