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Author Topic: Jay Rayner on GWR catering  (Read 972 times)
Richard Fairhurst
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« on: October 20, 2019, 07:30:08 pm »

A column on the state of public transport catering, with particular reference to GWR services, by the ever entertaining Jay Rayner:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/17/flaccid-croissants-oil-drenched-carbs-train-jay-rayner

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In Bristol or Peckham or Ancoats right now it’s all ’nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta. Meanwhile, on the 11am to Temple Meads it’s “Would you like to avail yourself of our coffee and Twix deal for £3?” and “Just how bad would you like to feel about yourself today?” The fact is you can have anything you like when you’re on the move in the UK as long as it’s a bolus of oil-drenched carbs. There are sugar-spiked muffins, and dismal croissants so flaccid no form of culinary Viagra would ever get them up again. The buffet car sandwiches taste of profit margin and old age. The “healthy option” on board is a bag of salted peanuts.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2019, 09:07:22 pm »

A column on the state of public transport catering, with particular reference to GWR services, by the ever entertaining Jay Rayner:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/17/flaccid-croissants-oil-drenched-carbs-train-jay-rayner

Quote
In Bristol or Peckham or Ancoats right now it’s all ’nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta. Meanwhile, on the 11am to Temple Meads it’s “Would you like to avail yourself of our coffee and Twix deal for £3?” and “Just how bad would you like to feel about yourself today?” The fact is you can have anything you like when you’re on the move in the UK as long as it’s a bolus of oil-drenched carbs. There are sugar-spiked muffins, and dismal croissants so flaccid no form of culinary Viagra would ever get them up again. The buffet car sandwiches taste of profit margin and old age. The “healthy option” on board is a bag of salted peanuts.

Broadgage.......count to 10 & take deep breaths...
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didcotdean
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« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2019, 09:18:53 pm »

Since there is reference to a buffet car it can't be on GWR can it? Unless it is nostalgic 😁

He does align with my view that nearly all on board railway snack catering remains very carb heavy. Crisps, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches etc.

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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2019, 06:23:56 am »

He does align with my view that nearly all on board railway snack catering remains very carb heavy. Crisps, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches etc.

Not just GWR ... so probably systemic. Could it be:
* by popular demand
* easier supply train onto the train to run / products last longer
* better profit margin
* less smelly when eaten so more acceptable to passengers around
* less messy when eaten / easier to clean train
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2019, 10:22:48 am »

I think "long lasting" is a key factor.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2019, 12:16:41 pm »

Quote from: grahame
Quote from: didcotdean
He does align with my view that nearly all on board railway snack catering remains very carb heavy. Crisps, biscuits, cakes, sandwiches etc.

Not just GWR ... so probably systemic. Could it be:
* by popular demand
* easier supply train onto the train to run / products last longer
* better profit margin
* less smelly when eaten so more acceptable to passengers around
* less messy when eaten / easier to clean train

I wasn't originally going to respond to this topic because the article seemed to be an updated version of the "curly British Railways cheese sandwiches" type gags that the likes of the then contemporary comedian Tommy Trinder was doing 70 years ago, but now you two have made it interesting... Wink

Any retail outlet, from Marks & Spencer to a trolley on an IET, are only going to stock things that will sell in sufficient numbers. It's all very well talking about "nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta" but how much of that sort of thing is likely to be shifted by a trolley attendant on the 11am from Paddington? My guess is not much, whilst chocolate bars, biscuits, tea and coffee most certainly will.

Another point that I am very familiar with from personal experience (having an "other half" of Greek descent who spent much of her adult life in South Africa) is that, in our increasingly multi-cultural society, there is a much greater range of foods, diets and preferences than there used to be when Tommy Trinder was entertaining his "lucky people." Back then, the then-traditional British snack diet could easily be catered for - bung out trays of ham and cheese sandwiches, and a few salmon and cucumber ones for the better off, and Bob would have been your uncle. Now it's not so straightforward.

Trolleys are going to be stocked with merchandise that will definitely sell, and if you are insistent on "nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta" then I am sure you could find a dose of it somewhere close to the station before you get on the train or after you get off.

Meanwhile, in our house, I am often reminded of that song by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren - for our younger readers, this one:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGFpVN2xwXU

I doubt GWR or anybody else wants a trolley attendant to get into that sort of conversation on that apocryphal 11am from Paddington....
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didcotdean
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« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2019, 12:38:53 pm »

I guess the thing is that there is a much greater variety of food sold on major stations at least that can satisfy much of the demand of people who want something else. There is somewhat of a circular argument, in that different things won't be stocked because there is no perceived demand or certainty that they will sell (although the 'sandwiches are reduced' announcement itself is not obsolete) but also that as there is no expectation of such goods being available to purchase on board people will bring their own.
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grahame
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« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2019, 12:03:04 am »

It's all very well talking about "nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta" but how much of that sort of thing is likely to be shifted by a trolley attendant on the 11am from Paddington? My guess is not much, whilst chocolate bars, biscuits, tea and coffee most certainly will ...

It rather depends if people know it's on the trolley.   Your question / guess reminds me of the somewhat-nicer real coffees (do they still carry them?) that you drink through a mesh - for which I'm sure sales are / were lower because they weren't offered with the same degree of promotion and expectation as regular coffee.  Get Dean Ahmad, Scarlett Allen-Horton, Jemelin Artigas, Souleyman Bah, Lewis Ellis, Lubna Farhan and Riyonn Farsad to sell off the trolley and you might be surprised- especially if they sell it with Sugar.

You're right about buying supplies before you board ... indeed the tempting range of outlets at places like King's Cross really compete with (and must abstract) business from the on-board offerings ...
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2019, 11:19:24 am »

Indeed - on occasion train companies have put menus by every seat, whether in the seatback pockets or those funny little card holders that the (F)GW HSTs had. That struck me as a good way of publicising the buffet/trolley.

There's still a lot of journeys which don't pass anywhere near a food outlet, of course. On Sunday I travelled from the wasteland that is Worcester Shrub Hill, where the cafe closes at 5pm. Sadly there was no trolley on the (fairly busy) train.
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IndustryInsider
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2019, 11:36:52 am »

On Sunday I travelled from the wasteland that is Worcester Shrub Hill, where the cafe closes at 5pm.

It really is a wasteland isn't it!  One cafe with limited opening hours which is also cash only, another (much better) cafe three minutes down the road but that shuts early afternoon and absolutely nothing else within a sensible walk away.
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broadgage
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« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2019, 03:10:51 pm »

A column on the state of public transport catering, with particular reference to GWR services, by the ever entertaining Jay Rayner:

https://www.theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/17/flaccid-croissants-oil-drenched-carbs-train-jay-rayner

Quote
In Bristol or Peckham or Ancoats right now it’s all ’nduja and seared hispi cabbage and roasted golden beetroot with whipped feta. Meanwhile, on the 11am to Temple Meads it’s “Would you like to avail yourself of our coffee and Twix deal for £3?” and “Just how bad would you like to feel about yourself today?” The fact is you can have anything you like when you’re on the move in the UK as long as it’s a bolus of oil-drenched carbs. There are sugar-spiked muffins, and dismal croissants so flaccid no form of culinary Viagra would ever get them up again. The buffet car sandwiches taste of profit margin and old age. The “healthy option” on board is a bag of salted peanuts.

Broadgage.......count to 10 & take deep breaths...

The article contains too much nonsense to be worthy of any detailed reply.
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
BerkshireBugsy
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« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2019, 05:18:02 pm »

On Sunday I travelled from the wasteland that is Worcester Shrub Hill, where the cafe closes at 5pm.

It really is a wasteland isn't it!  One cafe with limited opening hours which is also cash only, another (much better) cafe three minutes down the road but that shuts early afternoon and absolutely nothing else within a sensible walk away.

I may be getting my Worcester stations mixed up but seem to remember that one of them had a mini supermarket more or less next to it? It has been a few years.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2019, 08:55:26 pm »

That’s Foregate Street....Tesco Express
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