Indian Railways E-Catering Service extended from existing 45 Major Stations to 408 Designated Stations
Extension of E-CATERING Service
- Initially, e-catering service was train specific and made available in 1350 trains which did not have services of Pantry car or Train Side Vending.
- As a major initiative during September 2015, this scheme has been reoriented to make it ‘Station Based E-Catering’ in place of train specific e-catering.
- In the first phase, a pilot project is undertaken on 45 major stations
Passengers travelling from these stations are now able to access E-Catering facilities for all trains passing through these stations.
- IRCTC is facilitating booking of meals through a specified phone number/ website / SMS / Mobile Apps etc. Passengers having mobile number are able to book meals under this scheme. CoD facility to passengers under this scheme has also been made available
- A Mobile App along with four digit (1323) all India Toll Free number has also been launched by IRCTC.
- All caps of Menu items and tariffs have been removed for E-Catering services as it is for the passenger to decide what they wish to eat at the price they wish to pay. However, IRCTC is to charge 12% as commission on the food costs from the vendors/aggregators.
- Expression of Interest (EOI) has already been floated by IRCTC separately for vendors and Food Aggregators to ensure participation of experienced professionals, reputed chains / brands as well as reputed food aggregators for empanelment/shortlisting.
- Empanelment of some women Self Help Groups (SHGs) as vendors in E-catering is also under process.
· A major revamp of E-Catering services in September 2015 also permitted Food Aggregators to join the E-Catering initiative.
- Foodpanda, one of the global leaders in online food delivery, has already been empanelled with IRCTC and started its operation at New Delhi Station. This has enabled passengers to order meals from a variety of options.
- There are several players in the food aggregation and delivery system operating on IR. Many of them have already applied to IRCTC for empanelment as Food Aggregators for E-Catering services and some of them have already empanelled.
- Integration of systems of booking meals through e-catering with the reputed aggregators like Travelkhana, Food Mera Choice etc. is underway. This would expand the reach of Railway passengers to e-catering and ensure no leakage of information and revenue to IRCTC/Railways.
- IRCTC has launched efforts to empanel additional major food chains/aggregator in the country and it is expected that most of the major brands will be available shortly. BTW, Haldirams, Domino’s, KFC etc. have already started their services
- ·IRCTC has launched a massive E-Campaign for encouraging passengers to use these services when they book their ticket through its website.
- Emails are sent on daily basis to lakhs of passengers to book their meals through E-Catering services.
· IRCTC is also extending its Call Centers and upgrading its IT infrastructure to book meals services through E-Catering users.
- Substantial increase in E-Catering services in the next few months is expected due to expansion of e-catering service on all ‘A-1’ & ‘A’ category of stations which is being introduced.