Aren’t train journeys the best? Sharing space with fellow passengers, munching on snacks and looking at the view outside are certainly the best things to do. Despite that, there have been a few roadblocks and IRCTC has received flak for the food quality, both on the stations and in the trains.
Indian Railways, in a bid to improve its’ standards, has taken a few steps. Improving the food quality and avoiding overcharging by vendors, railway kitchens are modifying their working methods. Also, incorporating artificial intelligence, railways have made efforts to give the passengers an improved experience.
IRCTC kitchens have been equipped with high definition cameras, vision detection systems and huge monitors. With 16 base kitchens formed so far, IRCTC is keen on bringing good quality food to the travelers. These systems will help track anything such as insects, rodents, etc., that hampers the quality of the food. They will also help in picking out any aberrations by employees, such as not following the standards cooking protocols, not wearing caps, while cooking and serving.
Any issue tracked will be directly reported to the official via a message on their phone. The raising of tickets is a very convenient method to keep track of whatever is happening in the kitchen. People like Manish Chandra (Rail Restro); Rajeev Mittal (RK Associates) and others believe this policy is very beneficial for the industry overall.
‘Menu on Rails’ app
The application launched by IRCTC is a step to provide convenience to passengers. With this app, the passengers travelling in the Mail and Express trains including, Rajdhani, Humsafar, Tejas, Shatabdi, etc., will be able to see the food menu of the station and the train they are traveling in. It will prevent the caterers from overcharging and thus, maintain transparency.
IRCTC is introducing a new menu. July onwards, trains like Rajdhani and Duronto Express will have these menus and will not include sandwiches and soups. The chicken and dal quantity will be reduced and the second meal will have egg curry and kofta. Rajeev Mittal, Comesum owner, considers this to be a game changer. This will help caterers focus more on the quality of food, and thus provide passengers with an enhanced eating experience.
Food packaging and serving
IRCTC has taken an eco-friendly step by using biodegradable bagasse bowls on various Shatabdi Express trains. Getting rid of plastic and aluminum, this will help the railways go greener and thus, positively impact the environment. Rajeev Mittal from RK Associates opines this to be an initiative that will further inspire various other government bodies to take the same step.
New aggregators and vendors are being tethered in order to fulfil the increasing demand. This is also helping in expanding the kitchens in more trains.
Indian Railways also announced the food would be provided free of cost if the vendor does not provide a bill after purchase. Point of Sales (PoS) machines are also being incorporated to maintain transparency in prices.