Monitoring temperature of train catering
According to Amtrak’s January 2017 financial report, F&B revenues are forecasted to be approximately $133m(4) for the year, covering just over half of their costs (5). Addressing this situation is an urgent priority for the company as the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which was passed in 2015, directs it to develop a plan to eliminate the operating loss for onboard F&B services. Moreover, from 2021 the act bars the use of federal funds to cover any such loss.
( 2 ) Amtrak Monthly Performance Report For January 2017 page A 1-3 forecast column
( 3 ) Ibid.
( 4 ) Ibid.
( 5 ) Ibid., A 2-1: F&B Cost Recovery Ratio
Amtrak contacted Timestrip because it had the best prices on an 8°C product and were inert prior to activation. Tim says that the company in fact only needed a 4-hour 8°C TTI, so Timestrip created this product specifically with them in mind, which is now the TP-349 Food 8°C/46°F.
An unexpected outcome was that by creating a smaller time window, Timestrip were able to help the company reduce costs further. The procedure Amtrak now operates involves the last F&B crew placing numerous TP-349 labels on the tops of yogurt containers (which have an aluminium cover) before leaving the train in the evening. The following day, the first crew must check to make sure that none of the yogurts in the various refrigeration units have had a breach of temperature.
Because of the successful use of Timestrip Food Temp TP-349 TTI on Amtrak’s West Coast line, further use of the product will be rolled out elsewhere on the national network.