Indian Railways has undergone substantial improvements in the past few years, but their food has always been under public scrutiny. Passengers have constantly raised their voice of concern as it directly hampers their standard of train journey experience. To overcome this issue, IRCTC has decided to implement certain changes with respect to quality, preparation and delivery of food.
Minister of state for Railways, Rajen Gohain stated that Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will set up new kitchens and upgrade the existing ones. Multiple initiatives will be introduced to combat the shortcomings. The premier change will be a tradeoff between variety and quality. The number of options on the menu will be decreased to divert the focus towards the quality of prepared food. Railway Board Chairman, Ashwani Lohani revealed that combo meals could be introduced, consisting of two-three items rich in taste and quality.
New kitchens are expected to be ready by the end of 2019, and they’d be built in cities like Kanpur, Bilaspur, Howrah and many other places. Each kitchen set up is expected to cost over Rs 1 crore. Rajeev Mittal, the owner of RK Associates and Comesum stated, “The kitchen-wares would be replaced by new and better ones, along with distinctive cooking of Vegetarian and Non-vegetarian items. While the new cutlery will increase the speed of food preparation, the separate cooking will allow caterers to have a better focus and supervision of cooked food.” The group owned by Rajeev Mittal is responsible for the food and catering in several trains all over India.
Live-stream of kitchens is also going be introduced in the next few months. Passengers can log in to the website of Indian Railways, and enter their ticket credentials to tune into the stream. This would help passengers witness the level of hygiene and methods of food preparation employed by caterers. On this move, seasoned railway caterers Rajeev Mittal of RK Associates expressed the change’s importance that this would encourage transparency and help in providing the best catering experience.
Railway authorities have also given substantial importance to passenger’s response towards these changes. Officials will be present on every train with a Tablet. A mobile application will register the feedback of travelers and assist in highlighting the loopholes of the process. “Direct feedback from passengers is of the utmost importance. There is no better way of improving food quality and taste than the direct opinion of the customer”, added Rajeev Mittal.
Every kitchen will have a supervisor to assure that there is no compromise on the quality of food. They will oversee the preparation of food and use of safety equipment to increase the hygiene quotient. Plates made of eco-friendly material will be used and hand sanitizers will be given to each passenger before the meal is served to prioritize hygiene.
Indian Railways believes that the proper implementation and modifications in the above mentioned developments will surely break the pre-conceived notion about Railway catering. The persistent efforts from authorities and consumers will help in achieving the ultimate goal of customer satisfaction.