London and North Eastern Railway
This year, technology and associated products are going to be huge in rail catering. This move will make our jobs easier, as well as offering a better passenger experience as it will help us deliver the service they have come to expect. We currently offer pre-ordering for standard seats as there isn’t enough food onboard to feed everyone from the trolley. I am also seeing huge advances in the quality of food onboard, with a focus on sustainable and local sourcing. As an east coast service, we look to offer customers food from the east coast with plenty of Scottish items on the menu on our Newcastle-Edinburgh service.
Gin has also become a big seller with customers often keen to consume alcohol during their journey. We are also ramping up our capability for handheld payment technology, but we are still facing some challenges here due to connectivity issues while in transit.
Overall, passengers have high demands and there is not just one product or service that would make a journey for them – the onboard industry needs to continue innovating and upgrading technology in all areas to answer customer preferences. This goes from seating upgrades to food quality, ease of ordering and payment and technological devices that allow that to happen.
Passengers expect the best of everything and the World Travel Catering & Onboard Services Expo, which I have attended several times, is the best way to stay ahead of the competition and source the latest products and services for transitioning into the onboard industry for a forward-thinking, well-subscribed service.