The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has roped in Pizza Hut and KFC in order to deliver pre-ordered meals to its passengers, reports ET Tech. IRCTC chairman & MD AK Manocha told the publication that the service will be rolled out to trains which do not have a pantry car, with plans to expand to trains like Rajdhani and Duronto (which have pantry cars).
Order 2 days before train journey
Apparently, passengers will need to order the food from the IRCTC website 48 hours prior to the date of the journey after which a password will be sent to the passenger’s mobile phone from the vendor. The passenger will need to mention this password at the time of the delivery. We couldn’t verify this independently and currently the e-catering website does not feature Pizza Hut or KFC. It is likely that this partnership is meant to be rolled out in the near future.
The report also mentions that the Indian Railways’ food plaza networks across stations could be used as the delivery network. Manocha also mentioned that IRCTC had received expression of interests from Subway, Bikano and Haldiram.
Dominos tie-up: Earlier in February, IRCTC tied-up with Jubilant Foodworks to deliver Dominos’ pizza to the passengers’ seats if they were traveling across selected stations in India. Passengers could book their pizza online, through SMS or through calls currently, in addition to using the IRCTC’s e-catering service which presently serves veg/non-veg thali and veg/non-veg biryani alongside. This service was pegged for trains which did not have pantry cars. At the time, IRCTC spokesperson Sandip Dutta had told Quartz that passengers would need to order pizza two hours before the train’s scheduled arrival at the station, and that this service would be extended to trains which have pantry cars and other stations in the future.
IRCTC to take over Railways’ catering?
Interestingly, the IRCTC is considering taking over all the catering activities in the Railways, as indicated by this The New Indian Express report. The report mentions that IRCTC currently handles only 3% of the catering inside trains and stations, with the rest being managed by the Indian Railways. It also mentions that IRCTC operates in 120 trains presently with plans for expansion to 220 more trains in the near future, while the long term goal is to serve in 1200 trains across the country. Apparently, the IRCTC had undertaken a pilot project for entire sections of Delhi-Amritsar and Delhi-Jammu in September 2014.
Image Credit: Flickr user Veeresh Malik