Catering for any type of transport is not an easy task. Based on historical experience, passenger reviews and our own practice, the RBE group of companies delivers ready meals to branded and high-speed trains.
In 1967, thanks to George Mortimer Pullman, the first restaurant car was introduced to the world. It was a skillfully equipped railway carriage, its purpose was to provide tasty, satisfying and hot food to passengers during the trip. The refined cuisine offered to travelers corresponded to the famous Del Monico restaurants, while drinks and dishes were served in fine porcelain dishes, which later became collection items. All this, together with the constantly changing picturesque landscape outside the window, turned the dining cars into an elite resting place.
In Russia, the service for providing meals to passengers on the railway appeared in 1837, with the opening of railway stations (Tsarskoye Selo and Imperial). The audience was attracted by the excellent French cuisine in the restaurants of the train stations, chic interiors, and great music. Catering services along the route in Russia originate from the dining car, which became part of the Imperial train. In those days, the train servant provided passengers with coziness, comfort, as well as appetite. Train staff, waiters, conductors valued their reputation, as their work was highly paid. A waiter with a bell invited the travelers to the dining car-restaurant, exclusively first-class cooks were selected, and the signature dish in those days was a hodgepodge in a monastic way.
In Soviet times, such cars belonged to various departments. Initially, to the Ministry of Railways, from where they were then transferred to the Ministry of Commerce on a rental basis. The restaurant-cars in the ministry were operated by the ZhelDorRestoran trust. With the development of railways, the supply system for restaurant cars was debugged. At large hub stations, their own power plants, train supply and supply bases were created. A similar system gradually began to collapse in the 90s. along with the formation of new commercial structures.
Until 1992, there was no guaranteed catering service included in the price of tickets for passengers of luxury cars. However, the introduction of such a service would significantly improve the service and enjoyment of passengers from the trip. The first attempts to add guaranteed food to the ticket price were made on the October Railway. The experiment was a success, and gradually such a practice began to spread on all the railways of Russia. “Edible kits” were subject to stringent requirements regulated by existing sanitary rules, GOSTs and OSTs for catering and railways. They should have included long-term storage products that can withstand complex logistics on trains. According to the results of strict selection, mainly canned foods that could be stored without cooling were included in the diet.
In 1984, an ER-200 high-speed train was launched between Moscow and St. Petersburg. By 2001, it was overhauled and modernized. At the same time, the Nevsky Express high-speed electric train was launched. It was designed and built at the Tver Carriage Works. The task that was set during the development of the restaurant car was as follows: it was necessary to provide guaranteed hot meals to each of the 700 passengers on the train. For this, high-preparedness diets were needed, which only needed to be warmed up.
In the early 2000s, catering establishments began to grow rapidly in St. Petersburg and Moscow, producing ready-made rations for the distribution network. The quality of the products was low, new production and storage technologies were not available due to the high cost of technological equipment.
In 2005, the management of Russian Railways decided to launch a project to develop high-speed traffic in Russia. So began the development of the first high-speed train, which was later called the Sapsan. The project provided several types for serving passengers with meals - in the saloon of a bistro carriage, in business-class cars using aviation technology and in economy-class cars using mobile bars.
In 2007, on the territory of the Metallostroy depot, the modernization of the depot for servicing Sapsan trains was launched with the aim of constructing a factory for the production of high-grade diet. Production Unified Power Network, part of RBE Group , producing high-preparedness diets, has become the most reasonable solution to the problem of supplying trains with guaranteed nutrition. To do this, the factory used the most advanced foreign technologies known as long life fresh food. Only a few around the world use them in their production.
In the future, the level of service will differ even more depending on the class of service. Individual service will remain in the first and business class according to the a la carte system. Passengers will be served by specially trained stewards who have a good knowledge of the menu, wine list, with knowledge of foreign languages and experience of individual service. In classes where food will not be in demand, or if passengers cannot afford it, it will be excluded from the fare. Moreover, according to surveys, about 15-20% of passengers are ready to pay for meals on the train. Passengers whose fare does not include meals can be offered, but cannot be imposed. Without a doubt, the possibility of pre-ordering food with the choice of ration when purchasing an electronic ticket will become more widespread.
Passengers will pay more and more importance to the quality and safety of food as factors that determine their state of health, and RBE is closely monitoring these criteria. Preferences will be given to dishes prepared from high quality natural products without the use of preservatives.
In accordance with the latest trends in public catering, cooking and storage technologies will be improved, and the composition of dishes will be simplified. A simple but expensive high-quality natural food accepted for consumption in the regions of residence is in fashion. RBE specialists monitor reviews customers, as well as trends and bring it all to life.