Hyderabad-based Hello Curry has tied up with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) to provide meal options for railway passengers during their journeys, starting with the Secunderabad station, reports ET. The report adds that Hello Curry’s menu will be available for passengers in Delhi, Bangalore, Vizag and Pune soon. Orders can be placed on from the IRCTC’s catering website. While Hello Curry is listed as a food partner on the e-catering site, its menu is not available yet.
This is IRCTC’s third food tie up this year, after it tied up with Pizza Hut and KFC and Jubilant Foodworks, which owns Domino’s Pizza, to deliver pre ordered meals and Domino’s Pizza to passenger seats. Note that this overhaul is a part of a bigger program the railways proposed in the rail budget in February this year, and includes unreserved tickets on smartphones, SMS alert service, multi-lingual e-ticketing portal, on-board entertainment and Wi-Fi to Category B stations. More on that here.
Paratha Post acquisition: In May, Hello Curry’s parent company Red Sprout Foods acquired the online food ordering and delivery service Paratha Post for an all cash and stock deal, without disclosing further financial details. The company had previously raised Rs 3 crore in seed funding from SRI Capital in March last year. The Hyderabad based Paratha Post offered 55 varieties of parathas and curries and claimed to have sold around 3 lakh parathas last year with over 60,000 deliveries.
MediaNama’s take: Hello Curry will benefit from this partnership, given IRCTC’s scale and the exposure that it will provide, especially in smaller towns and cities, if that comes into effect. IRCTC’s overall food partnerships will be useful for consumers (who want standardised experiences) at large, and the e-catering service may even be a hit at lesser known/less populated stations, given that bigger stations already have established food courts or restaurants. Unrelated to the development and alternatively, we’re also mourning the slow death of railway food being replaced by larger, more generalised food chains offering a uniform experience.
IRCTC’s other partners include Mio Amore, Only Alibaba, KFC, Domino’s Pizza, Wimpy, Cafe Lite, Street Foods by Punjab Grill and Ratna Cafe. IRCTC currently lists 47 stations where passengers can get food delivered to, and has plans to expand them to other stations as well. Interestingly, even wait listed passengers and partially confirmed bookings (say 3 tickets out of 5) can order meals through e-catering.
Our IRCTC coverage here.