New Delhi: Indian Railways is likely to rope in big brands like Nestle, Brooke Bond, MTR, Haldirams and others to serve ready to eat meals on train.
Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is set to float a tender in the next 2-3 months from the manufacturers of ready-to-eat items to supply their food items directly on trains.
Railways will open up catering business to major players in the food processing industry like Nestle, MTR, ITC, Amul, Bambino, Britannia, Dabur, Defence Research Development Organization, Elite, Gits, Haldiram, Kohinoor Foods and Mc Can Foods.
Sources told Zee news that since a single company will not be able to cater to huge demand, Railways might go for zone-wise or train-wise tender. Though nothing has been finalised as yet, sources said.
Railways had earlier launched ready-to-eat meals in select railway stations and trains on a trial basis. It was being distributed through existing contractors of catering services,
However, after the formal tender process, ready to eat meals will be distributed directly by the manufacturers through their sales representatives on trains.
Ready to eat meals aims at ensuring safe and hygienic food with minimal human/physical interference. Secondly it also minimises the load of pantry car and staff in Railways.
About 23 million passengers travel on Indian Railways on a daily basis. Indian Railways provides approximately 1.1 million meals to passengers every day, out of which one million are provided on board.
IRCTC is also targeting to provide 1 lakh online meal or the E-TICKET catering orders per day in the next couple of years through its e-catering project.
e-catering was launched in September 2014, Currently, only about 7000 meals are being booked online every day with 193 stations and 1516 trains covered under the e-catering policy.
IRCTC has also invited multi-national players operating lounges in airports across the world like French food services and facilities management company Sodexo and Travel Food Services (TFS) to manage its base kitchens. The plan also includes a roadmap to upgrade at least 16 base kitchens.