Elegant dinner service aims to improve customer satisfaction
Beginning today, real china, table linens and glassware are returning to Amtrak’s popular Coast Starlight long-distance train to provide an elegant dining experience for passengers and is the latest service change aimed at further improving customer satisfaction on the west coast route between Los Angeles and Seattle.
The re-introduction of full china service —and the move away from disposable plastic dinnerware— is one result of a comprehensive Route Performance Improvement (RPI) analysis undertaken by Amtrak to enhance Coast Starlight customer service, product quality and market performance.
"Amtrak listened to what passengers were telling us when they said ‘a premium train service deserves a premium place setting for meals—not throwaway plastic’," said Brian Rosenwald Chief of Product Development. "We are committed to customer satisfaction and in favor of eliminating plastic in favor of ‘green’ alternatives wherever possible."
Fiscal year 2009 was one of the most successful ridership years for the Coast Starlight, welcoming over 432,000 passengers, a 22.3 percent increase over the previous year. Customer satisfaction scores during the year also showed improvement, with 83 percent of customers ranking Coast Starlight service as excellent, up from 79 percent in fiscal year 2008.
The RPI analysis has resulted in Amtrak making other changes to Coast Starlight service. For example, sleeping car passengers may experience the Pacific Parlour Car, a lounge venue featuring alternative meal service, specialty coffees, a daily wine tasting, and private movie theater. In addition, Amtrak upgraded sleeping cars, enhanced room service, and re-trained employees to focus on high-level customer service delivery.
Other Amtrak trains that feature full china service include the Empire Builder (Chicago - Seattle/Portland), and Auto Train (Lorton, VA. – Sanford, FL).
In addition, this year Amtrak is performing an in-depth evaluation of other long-distance routes to identify and implement changes where possible to improve key measures such as customer service, ridership, and financial performance. The five routes being analyzed are the Sunset Limited (Los Angeles – New Orleans), Cardinal (New York – Cincinnati - Chicago), Texas Eagle (Chicago – San Antonio), Capitol Limited (Chicago – Washington, D.C.), and California Zephyr (Chicago – Emeryville/San Francisco).