F&B Working Group Sends Recommendations to Congress
May 12, 2023
After a year of study, the Amtrak Food & Beverage Working Group has included nearly two dozen recommendations in its report to Congress – ranging from simple steps like clear ingredients lists and new efforts around waste control to comprehensive technology improvements such as using satellite-based internet connectivity to keep food items appropriately stocked and allow on-board purchases.
May, 12th 2023
For Immediate Release (23-5)
Contact: Madison Butler ([email protected])
Food and Beverage Working Group Sends Recommendations to Congress After Year-Long Analysis of Amtrak Onboard Service
Washington, D.C. — After a year of study, the Amtrak Food & Beverage Working Group has included nearly two dozen recommendations in its report to Congress – ranging from simple steps like clear ingredients lists and new efforts around waste control to comprehensive technology improvements such as using satellite-based internet connectivity to keep food items appropriately stocked and allow on-board purchases.
Congress created the Working Group, a team of passenger advocates, onboard Amtrak employees, state partners, and Amtrak management, as part of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law which President Biden signed in November of 2021. That measure required the Working Group to file its report to Congress this month, and the team completed its research and analysis of Amtrak F&B services in early May.
Rail Passengers Association’s Communications Manager M. Ned Butler, an Escoffier-trained chef, spearheaded this project for the Association after working with President & CEO Jim Mathews to draft language included in the historic Investment Infrastructure and Jobs Act requiring formation of the Group to improve Amtrak’s food and beverage offerings.
“This is a truly intentional report. We want to empower the team at Amtrak to make smart choices that lead to more frequent ridership and better experiences on-board,” said Butler. “After our advocates worked diligently to remove the amendment to service dictating F&B must be profitable, we’ve opened up the potential to make meals an amenity that people will once again look forward to as they hop onboard.”
The report was filed with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure in the House of Representatives.
Included in the recommendations were short-term improvements, the establishment of follow-up committees to provide transparency and accountability, and requests made by both passengers and onboard employees addressing the different needs of different service models across the country.
Amtrak has 180 days to provide their response to Congress and come up with a plan to enact these recommendations. From handling immediate needs in the current environment to establishing industry best practices and looking to future tech solutions, this robust report makes a clear case for how Amtrak can improve over the next five years.
See One-Pager Here for Report Highlights
About Rail Passengers Association
The Rail Passengers Association is the oldest and largest national organization serving as a voice for the more than 40 million rail passengers in the U.S. Our mission is to improve and expand conventional intercity and regional passenger train services, support higher speed rail initiatives, increase connectivity among all forms of transportation and ensure safety for our country's trains and passengers. All of this makes communities safer, more accessible, and more productive, improving the lives of everyone who lives, works, and plays in towns all across America.
"The COVID Pandemic has been and continues to be the biggest challenge faced by Americans as it has taken a deadly toll on the world and on the world’s economies. During COVID Locomotive Engineers at Amtrak and other Passenger and Freight Railroads have embodied the definition of essential workers. This dedication by our members is not new. We applaud the Rail Passenger’s Association for recognizing the vital contributions of our members and their hard work moving Americans and freight during the COVID pandemic."
Dennis Pierce, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) National President
December 21, 2021, on the Association awarding its 2021 Golden Spike Award to the Frontline Amtrak Employees.