Before Fred Harvey–and his famous staff of Harvey Girl waitresses–came along (in 1876), patronizing a roadhouse that was near a water stop for the train was a traveler’s only food choice. Travelers often paid for the meal as part of their ticket, but when they arrived found the food not yet ready and pressure to re-board the train before they could eat. According to Wikipedia, such a meal “typically consisted of nothing more than rancid meat, cold beans, and week-old coffee.”
Harvey offered good food in large portions served on fine china and Irish linens that gave the customer good value. and became the ‘gold standard’ for fine dining while traveling. He also developed a system that allowed passengers to enjoy the food without feeling the pressure to re-board the train. They were given timely updates on when the train would leave the station. Travel became a pleasure–rather than a challenge!!