FRANCE: SNCF has embarked upon a progressive renewal of the catering offer on board its TGV services, following the start on November 1 of a new contract awarded to a joint venture of Newrest and Elior.

According to Barbara Dalibard, Director General of the long-distance passenger business unit, SNCF hopes to improve the quality of products offered on board, improve the efficiency of on-train catering and appeal to the widest possible range of customers, both in terms of price and other factors such as dietary requirements.

Working alongside a new SNCF business unit dedicated to catering, Newrest-Elior is responsible for on-train personnel and their training, as well as sourcing the products that form a key part of the strategy. From January 2014 new uniforms will be introduced for staff and TGV bar cars progressively refurbished, using traditional materials to create a more welcoming atmosphere.

For both bar sales and at-seat catering in first class, new products familiar to passengers from the high street include Illy coffee as well as bread and pastries from Paul. Main dishes are from the organic Boco range created by chefs Vincent and Simon Ferniot.

On international routes to Germany and Switzerland, menus have been adapted to reflect national tastes, with passengers on Alleo services to and from Germany offered draft beer and pretzels.

  • International Rail Catering Group President Roger Williams examined current trends in on-train catering in the July 2013 issue of Railway Gazette International, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.