West Coast Catering - Going, going, gone...?

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FGW wanted to remove buffets from all but the long distance sets in a move to try and improve performance by saving weight. After this proved impractical it decided to replace 15 buffets with mini buffets. It has since admitted this was a mistake and seeing that the 15 withdrawn buffets are being returned to service, albeit rebuilt as TSOs with the benefit of hindsight it would have been better sticking with the status quo.

Ahh, i see, thanks for that. It has been argued by many a manager on EC that trolleys take more revenue than buffets which may be true when both run, however i will always argue back if that you had to choose one or the other the buffet will always take more than just a trolley would.
 
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David10

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Ahh, i see, thanks for that. It has been argued by many a manager on EC that trolleys take more revenue than buffets which may be true when both run, however i will always argue back if that you had to choose one or the other the buffet will always take more than just a trolley would.
Remember in the dying days of GNER when they were trying to cut costs the trolley was the one that was axed, but then maybe the buffet was a franchise commitment.
 

rail-britain

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It has been argued by many a manager on EC that trolleys take more revenue than buffets which may be true when both run, however i will always argue back if that you had to choose one or the other the buffet will always take more than just a trolley would
The same even applied when trolleys were introduced under InterCity East Coast on IC225 services
Consequently this freed up the staff within the buffet to deal with First Class, and allowed an enhanced menu the year after electrification was completed (as had initially been trialled on the Leeds Pullman, as this set had two buffet cars, in 1988)

Trolleys were trialled on InterCity West Coast Glasgow services, but were not as successful, and so were withdrawn
This was eventually put down to the shorter train length in Standard (six Mark 3 TSO as against the seven Mark 4 TSO)
 

krisk

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So if there was no buffet or shop what happens when the trolley cant get through or there is disruption, who gives out comp tea and coffee as per passenger charter?

All sounds a lot of aggravation to me

Perhaps an onboard shop should be food and drink but also be able to selk travel cards and oyster top ups etc so people have a reason to visit
 

ivanhoe

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In my opinion Ryanair to Ireland is fine, four hours to the Canaries no thanks

There is no difference flying Ryanair to Tenerife than say Thomson or Thomas Cook. In all cases you have to pay for grub and the legroom is hardly different. You don't like Ryanair because of its Chief Executive. I probably think Willy Walsh is a plonker but it does not cloud my judgement (forgive the Pun) on BA. The difference is that BA are basically a London based airline whilst Ryanair et al serve the whole Country.
 

Masboroughlad

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Ryanair are awful! And it's not because I don't like the CEO (I don't by the way, I think he is an arrogant git). Sadly, you sometimes have no alternative but to use them. On board it's hideous, selling at you and wittering on all of the time. They congratulate themselves for arriving on time-isn't that what they are supposed to do anyway? Oh and it's like herded cattle trying to get on. So, yes, there are many reasons to prefer BA or other national carriers to Ryanair!
 
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I concur. Birmingham (maybe Wolverhampton) passengers will be lost to Chiltern and London Midland given that these two options are cheaper for journey times that are fast becoming comparable on Chiltern and LM on price (and those saddos like me who think Desiros are more comfortable than Pendos)

That said I'd imagine more people go first class for legroom and quiet than for a meal. I'm tempted to state that it's basically a fuss over nothing at the moment.

I'm a wolverhampton passenger and its much more convenient for me to get virgin even though I prefer chiltern's trains.
 

rail-britain

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So if there was no buffet or shop what happens when the trolley cant get through or there is disruption, who gives out comp tea and coffee as per passenger charter?
Complimentary food and drinks (normally only avaiable to First Class ticket holders) is not covered by the Passengers Charter of most TOC
However announcements should be made before passengers board the service
In general such customers, where the catering is cancelled, will receive a goodwill gesture only
 

SS4

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So if there was no buffet or shop what happens when the trolley cant get through or there is disruption, who gives out comp tea and coffee as per passenger charter?

All sounds a lot of aggravation to me

Perhaps an onboard shop should be food and drink but also be able to selk travel cards and oyster top ups etc so people have a reason to visit

until stocks are exhausted is the rest of that sentence in the passenger charter. I cannot imagine there'd be no tea or coffee. All it takes is an urn, some sachets of tea and coffee and a fridge to put milk in which would take up next to no room
 

4SRKT

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When I saw the thread title I thought it was a reference to Virgin Trains' portion sizes.
 

dk1

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I remember a comment from Virgin shortly before they lost XC that they where not interested in running a glourified bus service & emphasised that trains should be well staffed with catering options.

On-board catering is often seen as a loss leader in the same way as swimming pool at a hotel. Appealing when advertised in the brochure but rarely used.

I must admit i always go for trains with advertised catering just in case & usually buy something at some point.
 

island

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I am a fan of Virgin breakfasts. I have not yet had an EC one as the trolley was allegedly malfunctioning the only time I travelled EC first. I would be very slow to buy First Advances for the seat only.
 

chuckles1066

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What's the point of first class if you can't even get a meal?

From another thread on here, Virgin's first-class weekend catering appears to consist of:

2 Jacob's table crackers
1 small packet of pretzels
1 Speculoos biscuit
1 traditional flapjack
1 Valrhona dark chocolate stick
1 Kiri cheese spread
1 plastic spatula and napkin

Now I have no idea whether that is true but I would ask.........where does "a meal" even come close to matching what I've posted above?
 

WestCoast

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I'm not convinced at all about this, a complete withdrawal of catering sounds ridiculous to say the least. I could perhaps foresee a slight reduction in the catering offer on WC, but not a complete removal of all catering.

However, having said that, I can perhaps see why catering isn't as popular as it might have been in the past. I don't often buy the Virgin Trains standard class catering myself, except for tea and coffee. I think this is the case for a lot of travellers on Virgin's services. Firstly, a lot of the journeys aren't particularly long - a majority of travellers on WC services must spent 2h15m or less onboard. This is different from lengthier journey times in the past. You can spend that sort of time on some regional services with limited or no catering and most people are happy enough.

Secondly, Britain has a bit of a "sandwich culture". Don't get me wrong I like nice sandwiches as much as everyone else, but sandwiches can be prepared at home and they also available at stations in many different outlets. They are really easy to pop in your bag for later. Also, the rise of the "meal deal" in the UK, has made it quite reasonably priced to pick up a decent sarny (or salad), snack and drink from multiple station outlets (e.g Boots, WHSmith, Upper Crust).

What is the main core of daytime catering onboard VT at the shop? Sandwiches/wraps, snacks and drinks. All available from numerous outlets at large stations. There are other things, of course, like hot burgers but aside from the breakfast items, sandwiches and snacks seem to be the prime offering in terms of food for the rest of the day. That's not a criticism, because it's what many travellers in the UK tend to want to buy.

First Class catering, at least on weekdays, is a whole different situation however...
 

chuckles1066

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Secondly, Britain has a bit of a "sandwich culture". Don't get me wrong I like nice sandwiches as much as everyone else, but sandwiches can be prepared at home and they also available at stations in many different outlets. They are really easy to pop in your bag for later. Also, the rise of the "meal deal" in the UK, has made it quite reasonably priced to pick up a decent sarny (or salad), snack and drink from multiple station outlets (e.g Boots, WHSmith, Upper Crust).

A couple of bits of bread encompassing some dodgy cheese and tomato (30p tops), a flapjack nearing it's sell-by date (20p) and a bottle of diet coke (you can buy them at trade prices for about 30p) for £4?

If you're chavvy enough, you can venture into a Wetherspoons and get a "curry" and a pint along with the waitress's phone number (if you've got the look) for £5.

Rip-Off Britain is alive and well.
 

Bridge189

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Ahh, i see, thanks for that. It has been argued by many a manager on EC that trolleys take more revenue than buffets which may be true when both run, however i will always argue back if that you had to choose one or the other the buffet will always take more than just a trolley would.

Didn't EC not consider binning the trolley last year in favour of more CSAs working first but the idea was shelved?

FGW have proved that the buffets are more successful than trolleys if it's a one or the other scenario.
 

spacehopper

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Ryanair are awful! They congratulate themselves for arriving on time-isn't that what they are supposed to do anyway?

OT: that's what they want us to do on Northern! They even cite Ryanair as the example- yes lets celebrate our on time arrival because its not as if it doesn't happen all time on most trains :roll: - I would also like to congratulate myself for getting out of bed this morning...
 

Skimble19

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Sounds like most stuff the RMT churns out these days; nothing to pay attention to.

A couple of bits of bread encompassing some dodgy cheese and tomato (30p tops), a flapjack nearing it's sell-by date (20p) and a bottle of diet coke (you can buy them at trade prices for about 30p) for £4?

If you're chavvy enough, you can venture into a Wetherspoons and get a "curry" and a pint along with the waitress's phone number (if you've got the look) for £5.

Rip-Off Britain is alive and well.

Someone's got a chip on their shoulder! Did the waitress not give you her number? :p

:lol:
 

WestCoast

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A couple of bits of bread encompassing some dodgy cheese and tomato (30p tops), a flapjack nearing it's sell-by date (20p) and a bottle of diet coke (you can buy them at trade prices for about 30p) for £4?

If you're chavvy enough, you can venture into a Wetherspoons and get a "curry" and a pint along with the waitress's phone number (if you've got the look) for £5.

Rip-Off Britain is alive and well.

Some of the stuff in Boots is actually quite nice (high quality and tasty) and will have cost more than a few pence to prepare, although some other station outlets do have rather dodgy looking pre-packed food..;) You can't take your Wetherspoon's curry on a train, although they aren't exactly freshly prepared!

Don't ask me why but that 'Delice de France' place always cracks me up. It's next to Burger King at Euston I think and it's supposedly like a French bakery but seems to have all the class of a truck stop on the A1. Maybe it looks better elsewhere, but Euston's fast food area was dirty and full of pigeons (!) last time I was there. No joke, there was bird swooping around the room...
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Ryanair are awful! And it's not because I don't like the CEO (I don't by the way, I think he is an arrogant git). Sadly, you sometimes have no alternative but to use them. On board it's hideous, selling at you and wittering on all of the time. They congratulate themselves for arriving on time-isn't that what they are supposed to do anyway? Oh and it's like herded cattle trying to get on. So, yes, there are many reasons to prefer BA or other national carriers to Ryanair!

Not sure what this has to do with WC catering but you have Ryanair to thank for keeping the rest of the industry on their toes actually. They're pretty honest about what they're giving you - A to B transport, nothing more. They don't dress it up in fabulous marketing speak like some of the TOCs do. When it comes to legroom, on-time performance (they pad schedules but then all airlines do for various legitimate reasons) and fleet age, they score rather well actually. Not sure where Virgin WC fits into this at all, totally different company with a different philosophy.
 
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SS4

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Onboard prices are too high and will always be too high compared to making your own. I'd rather they concentrated on providing things which cannot be easily obtained off the train. For example a hot drink or a hot sandwich or a cold beer. When I travelled with Chiltern in May (yay for the 50p special) the cold bottle of cider I got from tesco was room temperature by Solihull.
 

noddy1878

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A couple of bits of bread encompassing some dodgy cheese and tomato (30p tops), a flapjack nearing it's sell-by date (20p) and a bottle of diet coke (you can buy them at trade prices for about 30p) for £4?

If you're chavvy enough, you can venture into a Wetherspoons and get a "curry" and a pint along with the waitress's phone number (if you've got the look) for £5.

Rip-Off Britain is alive and well.

Well I'm not chavvy and I'm quite happy to go into a wetherspoons. Food is reasonable for the price and I've rarely had a bad pint. Most are cask marqe certified. I'll admit some wetherspoons are horrible and would never go back to them but some are very good.
 

All Line Rover

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In Virgin's defence, they are forced to charge VAT (20%) on onboard food and drink, unlike station outlets and supermarkets which don't. This makes them uncompetitive and explains why they can never match station prices.

If The Shop was scrapped, why not give free tea, coffee, water and perhaps even a biscuit to Standard Class passengers? The cost would be negligible and it would please a lot of people, whilst also reducing the impact of closing the shop in that passengers still have access to drinks.
 

sprinterguy

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Well I'm not chavvy and I'm quite happy to go into a wetherspoons. Food is reasonable for the price and I've rarely had a bad pint. Most are cask marqe certified. I'll admit some wetherspoons are horrible and would never go back to them but some are very good.
Hear hear! :)
 

SS4

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Well I'm not chavvy and I'm quite happy to go into a wetherspoons. Food is reasonable for the price and I've rarely had a bad pint. Most are cask marqe certified. I'll admit some wetherspoons are horrible and would never go back to them but some are very good.

Hear Hear! Especially with the Summer of Cider on at the moment :D

In Virgin's defence, they are forced to charge VAT (20%) on onboard food and drink, unlike station outlets and supermarkets which don't. This makes them uncompetitive and explains why they can never match station prices.

If The Shop was scrapped, why not give free tea, coffee, water and perhaps even a biscuit to Standard Class passengers? The cost would be negligible and it would please a lot of people, whilst also reducing the impact of closing the shop in that passengers still have access to drinks.

I doubt it would be logistically possible due to the trolley continually having to go back and forth to get hot water since naturally there'd be a greater uptake if it were free. Some form of discount/subsidy would work better, say charge 80p for tea and coffee
 

WestCoast

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Midland Mainline offered complimentary tea and coffee to passengers in standard class, this practice stopped when EMT took over. Although IIRC you had to collect it from the buffet (or at least you did on the times when I travelled with them), which is quite sensible really.
 

317666

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Midland Mainline offered complimentary tea and coffee to passengers in standard class, this practice stopped when EMT took over. Although IIRC you had to collect it from the buffet (or at least you did on the times when I travelled with them), which is quite sensible really.

Didn't Grand Central used to as well (or they might still do)?
 

Butts

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Midland Mainline offered complimentary tea and coffee to passengers in standard class, this practice stopped when EMT took over. Although IIRC you had to collect it from the buffet (or at least you did on the times when I travelled with them), which is quite sensible really.

What excuse did EMT give for suspending the "free tea run" -no doubt they were going to improve Customer Service in other areas :oops:
 

142094

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Nothing wrong with a Wetherspoons. Not everyone likes or can afford to go into pretentious wine bars where everything is a rip off.
 

chuckles1066

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Someone's got a chip on their shoulder! Did the waitress not give you her number? :p

:lol:

:D

I actually didn't realise I was in a Wetherspoons until I'd ordered a drink and we were browsing the menu. It's the one in Weston-Super-Mud just as a heads up.

I think it was the wall-to-wall Croydon facelifts, tattoos on the nape of the back, belly-button piercings, young kids by the name of "Britney" running around everywhere and the shouts of "Gazza, what you drinking babe?" that alerted me.

:cry:
 

MidnightFlyer

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Yet more hyperbole I see. I was in a Wetherspoons just the other day, no chavs, no undesirables, nothing. If anything it was full of relatively normal looking people ordering breakfast, including myself! I passed it again in the afternoon and even then I couldn't see any of the people you describe.
 
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