I like to judge a hotel by its house red in the evening and the sausage it serves in the morning. And obviously other than arriving on time and getting a seat, I judge a railway by the coffee it serves. On my last trip to France, I caught Eurostar. The coffee was so sensational, I had three cups over the two hour and forty-six minute journey.
It’s the little things that matter for a service brand. I think that if they’re paying close attention to the details, they are more likely to have paid close attention to the big things, like being on time and arriving in one piece. Being on time is what you pay them for. Good coffee is an extra and it’s the extra bits I remember and stay loyal too. With the Channel tunnel opening up to other competitors, I ask myself would I remain loyal to Eurostar?
I can leave my house at 5.45am, North London, check in without unpacking my laptop, or taking off my belt and shoes. I walk straight through passport control, Wait at the gate for only 10 minutes, with enough time to buy euros and a bottle of water. I board without the rush or a kick-bollock scramble because they are not trying to get 250 people through one portal, like a plane door. Then I’m greeted with the brightest smile from a maitre d’ in a sharp fitted suit, and finally in my seat with my newspaper asking for another cup of coffee.
So the answer is yes. I am a loyal Eurostar consumer to the point where I barely care whether Deutsche Bahn, Air France or NedRailways encroach around the Channel tracks, unless of course I hear that they serve even better coffee.