Onboard Catering - Passenger Poll (buffet/shop vs trolley)

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by NoOnesFool, 8 Aug 2019.

Do you prefer a buffet or an at-seat trolley servce?

  1. Buffet

    141 vote(s)
    73.4%
  2. At-Seat Trolley Service

    51 vote(s)
    26.6%
  1. NoOnesFool

    NoOnesFool Member

    Messages:
    297
    Joined:
    26 Aug 2018
    I work for a company contracted to provide catering on board trains. I conduct both buffet and trolley services. I am curious to hear what if passengers prefer a buffet or an at-seat trolley service. So, which do you prefer?​
     
  2. Registered users do not see these banners - join or log in today!

    Rail Forums

     
  3. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,812
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    Really depends on the service, for a much longer-distance service, ideally I'd have both.
     
  4. Ash Bridge

    Ash Bridge Established Member

    Messages:
    3,354
    Joined:
    17 Mar 2014
    Location:
    Stockport, European Union.
    I've ticked buffet as that would be my choice on an Intercity or long distance type of service. On the other hand I'd be quite happy with a trolley service on a regional train e.g. 158/170/175 etc.
     
  5. hexagon789

    hexagon789 Established Member

    Messages:
    5,812
    Joined:
    2 Sep 2016
    Location:
    Glasgow
    That would be my preference as well, certainly for long-distance journeys the greater stock availability of a buffet is useful compared to a trolley which can often run out but which would be such an issue on a shorter regional run.
     
  6. Peter C

    Peter C Established Member

    Messages:
    1,173
    Joined:
    13 Oct 2018
    Location:
    Loading...
    Personally, I'd prefer a buffet; going back to being able to go up to the buffet on a GWR HST is something I'll always remember. In my experience, a trolley is always in the wrong place at the wrong time for when you walk along the train.

    -Peter
     
  7. mm333

    mm333 Member

    Messages:
    367
    Joined:
    28 Aug 2008
    A buffet, as there's usually more choice and fridges to keep things chilled in.
     
  8. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,795
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    Both. Sorry to be difficult
     
  9. Shaw S Hunter

    Shaw S Hunter Established Member

    Messages:
    2,081
    Joined:
    21 Apr 2016
    Location:
    Sunny South Lancs
    I've voted for the trolley as it's more convenient when done properly. Otherwise frankly don't bother with on-train catering at all.
     
  10. theblackwatch

    theblackwatch Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    10,016
    Joined:
    15 Feb 2006
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    Absolutely regarding the last point. As a typical example, I was quite late arriving for my train at King's Cross and had to join near the back at walk through to my coach at the front of the train. It hadn't even left King's Cross, but the trolley was making its way through coach G so I had to wait to be able to get past it. The other thing is, you can't get a drink when you want one from the trolley. It might appear in an hour or two, or just at the point when you're about to get off.

    I do recall one of the TOCs claiming that they did a survey and people said they preferred a trolley to a buffet. However, the answer depends on how you as the question, which can easily be manipulated to steer people towards the desired answer. For example, if you ask "Would you like a trolley serving teas and coffees on the train?" people will, I suspect answer 'yes'. If it was reworded to say "Would you like us to get rid of the buffet and replace it with a trolley?" the answer may be different...
     
  11. Peter C

    Peter C Established Member

    Messages:
    1,173
    Joined:
    13 Oct 2018
    Location:
    Loading...
    Definitely. In my opinion, the trolley, if there is one on the train, it should not be "released" into the train until the train has left the origin station. That would avoid that sort of situation!

    -Peter
     
  12. trebor79

    trebor79 Member

    Messages:
    657
    Joined:
    8 Mar 2018
    Buffet. I only buy water and biscuits from a trolly as tea made with warm water is just disgusting.
    Trolleys I find can be a real nuisance, always seem to be in the way of someone wanting to get to the toilet, door etc.
     
  13. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

    Messages:
    206
    Joined:
    16 Jun 2019
    Location:
    London
    Buffet, since - at least in principle! - there's the possibility of better quality and better choice of things, including hot snacks. Oh for a simple beans-on-toast on a British train journey ... I'm sure I had something very basic like that once in an East German Railways catering car. They got some things right.
     
  14. sharpley

    sharpley Member

    Messages:
    110
    Joined:
    18 Aug 2018
    Neither... take my own food / drink on board if its a long journey. Set foot in a railway station / train and you're going to get ripped off with expensive small portions and mediocre food.
     
  15. tasky

    tasky Member

    Messages:
    202
    Joined:
    30 Oct 2018
    Buffet - partly because the physical presence of one is much more of a guarantee it'll actually be there and selling food. Trolley sometimes just don't happen. In the UK I never rely on on-train catering and always stock up at stations, because you never know if it's actually going to be running.

    Whereas if I'm taking an ICE in Germany, where the offer is consistent across the whole country, I'll happily trot along to the bistro car for a hot currywurst and draught beer - in fact it's part of the fun.

    This is one of the sad things about franchising as well, different routes have different standards and as someone who travels regularly by trains but not on the same route, it's hard to remember which franchise does what.
     
  16. Tomos y Tanc

    Tomos y Tanc Member

    Messages:
    64
    Joined:
    1 Jul 2019
    As a fairly regular traveller between Cardiff and Bangor I'd opt for a dining car every time! Barring that I'd go for a buffet on anything longer than three or four carriages. Trolleys are fine on shorter trains.
     
  17. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Messages:
    42,868
    Joined:
    6 Jun 2005
    Location:
    Yorkshire
    If I am traveling with a group, a buffet is my preference as they can offer a better range and better quality products. It also avoids the aisles being blocked (I don't like getting stuck behind the trolley).

    However if I am traveling alone, I may not want to leave my seat (at least not for long enough to walk the length of a train), so a trolley would be useful.

    So it's difficult to give a definitive answer one way or the other.
     
  18. leytongabriel

    leytongabriel Member

    Messages:
    142
    Joined:
    27 Jan 2013
    Was on a GWR train Exeter-Paddington yesterday. The trolley only got as far as coach G. Just after Westbury ( so seemingly with plenty of time left), there was an unclear announcement that there would be a 'static trolley service' in the vestibule between cars G and D. Three or four people made it up there, leaving four cars out of nine (A-D) pretty much unserved and the trolley staff having a nice long break. When I asked about it, I was told it was because there 'might not be time' to get to the end of the train and back. It wasn't a particularly full service. Is this normal or was I justified in feeling grumpy? Should a bit more effort have been made?
     
  19. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,795
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    Indeed. I have been involved in these consultations and the questions are often something like:

    • Would you like an at seat service
    • Would you like to walk to the buffet and pick up your refreshments

    Most people will choose option 1 expecting that the buffet person will bring you something from the buffet menu rather than an often half empty trolley. The TOC wants you to choose option 1 because it reduces their overhead.
     
  20. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,100
    Joined:
    2 Oct 2009
    Location:
    East Anglia
    Thankfully on Anglia Intercity we have both & this tradition is set to continue with the new fleet & new trolleys have been purchased in readiness for them. Happy days.

    Personally wherever I travel by rail I always purchase something without fail from the onboard catering provision. Long may it continue.
     
    Last edited: 9 Aug 2019
  21. Mikey C

    Mikey C Established Member

    Messages:
    2,640
    Joined:
    11 Feb 2013
    Unless it's a really long journey, and in the UK very few journeys fall in that category, I prefer to raid the supermarket. Very few towns don't have a supermarket or convenience store chain near the station
     
  22. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,795
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    tea and a kit kat is about my limit unless I have been in a meeting all day, haven't eaten and had to rush for the train
     
  23. dk1

    dk1 Established Member

    Messages:
    7,100
    Joined:
    2 Oct 2009
    Location:
    East Anglia
    Yeah cuppa & flapjack at least for me. Something nice about hearing the trolley clanking over the vestibule & into your coach. Sadly unless it's Virgin or Cross Country I'm usually disappointed by the sandwich selection.
     
  24. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,795
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    they offer sandwiches? I assumed them to mythical like the unicorn or the griffin!
     
  25. gordonthemoron

    gordonthemoron Established Member

    Messages:
    5,948
    Joined:
    4 Sep 2006
    Location:
    Milton Keynes
    I'd prefer a BordRestaurant like you get on German ICEs, which anyone can have a sit down cooked meal in
     
  26. Mag_seven

    Mag_seven Established Member

    Messages:
    4,852
    Joined:
    1 Sep 2014
    Location:
    here to eternity
    Buffet all the way. Yesterday I completed a journey on a rural railway in Norway and faced a two hour journey on a long distance connecting train. I had not eaten so was pleased to see that Norwegian railways still provide a full buffet car selling not just cold sandwiches but basic hot food as well (I had a hot dog and a beer). It's a pity that such facilities are no longer regarded by Dft as being a requirement for long distance trains in this country.
     
  27. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

    Messages:
    21,795
    Joined:
    12 Oct 2010
    Location:
    Work - Fenny Stratford(MK) Home - Darlington
    when i was in Holland recently on train refreshment consisted of a man with a coffee backpack
     
  28. xotGD

    xotGD Established Member

    Messages:
    1,985
    Joined:
    4 Feb 2017
    Decent coffee is what matters to me - whether from a trolley or buffet counter. Walking down to the buffet car to be offered instant rubbish is vexing.
     
  29. westv

    westv Established Member

    Messages:
    1,961
    Joined:
    29 Mar 2013
    I thought for a moment this thread was a variation on Inspector Sands. "Would Passenger Poll please come to the ticket office".

    :D
     
  30. EE Andy b1

    EE Andy b1 Member

    Messages:
    796
    Joined:
    12 Dec 2013
    Location:
    CLC
    My option as well but on a busy Inter City service it is nice to have both rather than all queuing up.
     
  31. hluraven

    hluraven Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    4 Apr 2012
    Neither, or trolley for longer journeys if the train isnt full. The extra seating space is usually beneficial, certainly more so than the very rare occasions I have used a buffet (single figures in my entire life).
     

Share This Page