Food is an essential part of a journey, especially if you are travelling long hours in the Indian Railways. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC) has been subjected to constant criticism about the cooking, taste and overall delivery of food items. With careful consideration and discussion, the following changes have been made by the coalition of Indian Railways and IRCTC in order to face the long-pending food complaints:
- Revised Menu
IRCTC has decided to opt the ‘Quality over Quantity’ method. According to this, some of the food items will be knocked off the menu. . Rajeev Mittal, the owner of ‘Comesum’ food chain says, “Substantial reduction in the quantity of served food will be observed which will reduce the options for food items. However, this will ensure the top-notch quality of the food served by railway caterers.”
- Ready-to-eat and packaging
Food in premier trains like Duronto Express and Rajdhani Express will be served with an airtight sealed cover and trays made of environment-friendly material. A new initiative called ‘Ready-to-Eat’ meals will be initiated for increased options of food.
- Qualified Staff
The bar of educational qualification in any field has been raised by the Indian Railways. The authorities believe that this will streamline the professional behavior of respective staff.
- Improved Sanitation
The staff on train has been given strict instructions to use hand gloves. Simultaneously, the passengers will also be given hand sanitizers to promote hygiene at both the ends. “This decision will revive the passenger’s trust on the food served in Railways. Staff hygiene has been a point of concern for a substantial number of passengers and this development will end any questions regarding the same”, says Rajiv Mittal.
- On-board Supervisors
Trains will now have staff with pre-installed application on their Tablets. The agenda is to record the feedback from passengers so that the catering companies and IRCTC can take swift action on remaining shortcomings.
- Live-streamed kitchens
To ensure the passengers of their food quality, live-streaming of kitchen will be enabled. As of now, this has been implemented at the railway station in Pune. Travelers can observe the quality of food and precautionary measures taken in its preparation. This will directly bring the changes and issues to public opinion.
- PoS machines
Point-of-sale machines have been introduced in trains to bill every purchase made by a passenger. This has been introduced to eradicate the issue of over-charging in trains. Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal has clearly told the Indian Railways that if there is no bill, passenger may even get food free of cost.
- TSV through refreshment rooms
TSV (Train Side Vending) system is applicable for trains without pantry cars. As per TSV, around 10 vendors will ask the pickup point of the food selected by passengers and deliver it to them in the journey. The point of pickup will depend upon the food item selected by the passenger.
- Revision of service contracts
The contracts of railway caterers will be under the review process. IRCTC and Indian Railways will continue with vendors purely on the basis of food quality and performance. Experienced railway caterers like Rail Restro, RK Associates, Otik, etc, have backed this decision by the authorities. It is important to identify the caterers with quality issues and strict action must be taken against them because passenger experience is the top most priority, they added.
- Better equipment in kitchen
The equipment of around 15 base kitchens has been upgraded for efficient food preparation. Furthermore, kitchens will now have a supervisor to ensure hygiene of raw materials as well as quality of cooked food.
With the implementation of above mentioned points on regular basis, passengers are bound to have their next Indian Railways experience worth their while.