Amtrak has announced it will be cutting back on its traditional dining car service on select routes beginning October. Instead of feasting on meals freshly cooked on board, Amtrak will dish out pre-packaged meals. There will, of course, not be white linen tablecloths to go along with its new ‘flexible dining' offering.
Not all Amtrak passengers will be affected by the soon-to-be-implemented change, at least for now. Passengers traveling on one-night routes on the Lake Shore Limited, Capitol Limited, Cardinal, City of New Orleans, Crescent, Silver Meteor trains will be the first to experience Amtrak's new ‘flexible dining' product. The ‘flexible dining' service will be rolled out on the Silver Star train next year. According to Amtrak, Coach and Sleep Car customers on these routes can still purchase meals, drinks and snacks as these routes offer Café service.
Why is Amtrak cutting back on its dining car service despite the associated old-world charm that many passengers actually appreciate? Intentionally or unintentionally, Amtrak has placed the blame on millennials.
In a bid to up its appeal to millennials who largely like all things to be as convenient as possible, Amtrak will offer ready-to-eat meals instead of freshly prepared food. While many do not agree with Amtrak's odd justification, the move to swap traditional dining car service with ready-to-eat meals is said to save Amtrak approximately $2 million annually. At this time, it is not known whether Amtrak's other overnight routes will be impacted in the near future.
On a brighter note, passengers on these routes get to enjoy flexible dining times without the need for reservations, plus unlimited soft drinks.