Questions about the quality and standard of catering service in Indian Railways keep arising every now and then. It mainly accounts for the glitches in proper management and customer services. However, in its attempt to keep a check on such issues, the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has been constantly working on the ways to improve the catering system in public transporter.
IRCTC is looking forward to implementing the airline catering model, where the mini-meal facility will be available for the passengers. It will follow the menu card of airlines. Soon the passengers will be served dry food items, just like flight food.
Aimed at ensuring better food services for passengers, the model is sure to enhance the standard of catering service in Indian Railways. Various private players and contractors like RK associates by Rajeev Mittal, Rail Restro, are considering rehashing their food menu as per the new catering system.
Reportedly, the railways will be adopting the concept of mini-meals as per the airlines and serve packed foods for the passengers. Along with high-quality food, it will help in ensuring good hygienic conditions as well.
The Railway Committee has already started working upon its menu. A report to the board has already been submitted for the same. The final decision will be implemented according to it.
Last year, the committee suggested that Railways should mainly serve ready-to-eat items. Thus, the new menu is expected to include food items without gravy. Passengers should be served vegetarian biryani, rajma chawal, hakka noodles, pulav, and laddo, the committee suggested.
It is likely that the services will start only in the trains whose catering facilities are controlled by IRCTC. Also, the change in food menu will also result in an increase in the prices. The passengers will have to spend more after the new menu is released.
The catering charges will not be included in the tickets. This will provide the passengers an option to avail or discard having food in the train of their journey. The passengers would not be required to pay anything extra.
Two basic rates will be fixed for the mini-meal. The veg mini-meal is estimated to cost Rs 70-80 while the non-veg mini-meal will be priced at around Rs 140-150. However, the passengers need to pay separately for the items not included in the meal, except for cold drinks.
The new catering system was already implemented in Delhi-Firozpur Shatabdi and Bihar Sampark Kranti as part of the trial last year. It was assessed on the basis of customer feedback through an online form on the tablets, which majorly showed positive results.