About a year ago United eliminated hot meals from domestic Business Class (except on premium service routes between JFK and LAX/SFO), even on 5+ hour transcon flights. The rationale was to reduce costs and attempt to distinguish First Class from Business Class, which up until that point featured essentially the same meal.
After receiving a great deal of feedback (including a personal appeal to UA’s head of catering from yours truly), United has restored hot meal service on these flights. Even though initial reports reveal there is only a single meal choice now, kudos to UA for listening to us! If you don’t like the selection, you can always request a BOB meal from the back (sandwich/wrap/salad).
Cold meals were not always bad, but a small fruit plate with yogurt hardly constitutes "breakfast" on a five hour flight that leaves LAX at 8am and does not arrive into IAD till almost 4pm. Dinner flights were even worse–a cold sandwich (served at about 45ºF that was mostly bread) with a side of cous cous or bed of iceberg lettuce with a few pieces of shrimp on top? Sorry, doesn’t cut it.
I have avoided these three-cabin flights this year despite the more comfortable international premium cabins because of the poor meal service. I look forward to returning to them.