Railway Catering Services
article by: RS
Our volunteer catering provides a service to passengers in our Buffet Cars, on our train services, and in the Coffeepot Café on Winchcombe Station. We also provide the catering facility for many of our special events and private bookings. If you enjoy meeting people in a friendly relaxed atmosphere, are numerate and of smart appearance, whether you are single, or a couple who wish to enjoy their hobby together, then you may well enjoy working with us. No previous experience is required.
The day begins about an hour before the first departure of the train/arrival at Winchcombe to ensure that the buffet /café is correctly stocked and the necessary equipment is on and working. As a food environment there are regulations to be complied with. These are not onerous and essentially common sense and there is in-house training to cover this as well as the duties and operating procedures.
Most duties in the department include selling refreshments at the counter both on the trains and in the Coffeepot café at Winchcombe. This includes preparing hot drinks, using the till and keeping the displays stocked. Most of the food items on sale are ready-packaged such as crisps and chocolate. In the café a very simple range of sandwiches are offered which you may be involve in preparing but in the Buffet Car we offer our legendary bacon baps. The grilling of the bacon for these is an "optional extra" position that you may or may not wish to include.
Clearing tables after they have been vacated is all part of the work and, if working on the train, you are expected to help the Guard and Ticket Inspector clear tables throughout the train during the day.
All of the duties include washing up! The café has a commercial dishwasher but the Buffet Car, with 1950s technology, is the old fashioned way by hand!
Handling of cash and completing end of day returns is necessary but again training is given. You will be teamed with experienced staff until you are comfortable with the procedures.
The basic uniform is a white shirt or blouse with dark trousers or skirt which you are required to provide yourself and includes wearing a name badge.
The Railway Catering Service is a major fund raiser for the railway and our volunteer work is highly valued. In return you are expected to act responsibly in the small unsupervised teams, use your initiative if necessary and to work on the days that you have volunteered for. You can opt to work in whichever location(s) you prefer. Rostering is achieved via the Heritage Operating Processing (HOPS) web site.
We also supply catering for pre-booked parties on the train, usually cream teas, tea and cakes or fish and chip lunches. This requires extra staff for short periods who will be involved in laying up the tables, serving the food and drinks and clearing up afterwards. This is high-value business for the Railway and even if you can only help us with this aspect we would love to hear from you.
No specific fitness levels are required, although you should be prepared to be on your feet for a considerable period of time. A cheerful disposition, a sense of humour, enthusiasm and a willingness to help will make the day pass quickly by. In the process you will have the satisfaction of enhancing the day for our customers, enjoying the company of fellow volunteers and helping to add to the railway's funds.
If this sounds like something you would like to do please see here to find out how to become a volunteer.