The Railway Board has given its catering and tourism arm Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) the flexibility to customise its menu to include local and regional cuisines as well as food suitable for diabetics, infants, and health aficionados.
As per the inputs from PTI, a note has been given by Railway Board to the IRCTC with the aim of improving the catering services on trains by providing more options and choices regarding their health and taste purpose.
“As a measure to improve catering services on trains, it has been decided to give IRCTC the flexibility to customize the menu to include items of regional cuisines/preferences, seasonal delicacies, requirements during festivals, food items as per the preferences of different group of passengers such as diabetic food, baby food, health food options, including millet-based local products among others,” the note included.
At present, IRCTC needs to make food items approved by the Railway board before introducing them on the trains. IRCTC has to get the menus, comprising mostly of standardised food items and beverages.
The note also stated that for ‘prepaid’ trains, in which catering charges are included in the passenger fare, the menu will be decided by the IRCTC within the tariff already notified.
In addition, the sale of a-la-carte meals and branded food items on MRP will also be permitted on these ‘prepaid’ trains. Menu and tariff of such a-la-carte meals will be decided by the IRCTC, it noted.
For other Mail/Express trains, a menu of budget segment items like standard meals will be decided by the IRCTC within the fixed tariff already notified. Menu and tariff of ‘Janta’ meals shall remain unchanged, it noted.
Railway board note also said, “While deciding the menu, the IRCTC needs to ensure that quality and standards of meals and service should be maintained and safeguards are built in to avoid frequent and undue changes such as curtailment in quantity and quality, use of inferior brands, etc to avoid passenger grievances”.
IPTI informed that the note also includes that the menu should be commensurate with the tariff and they should be pre-notified for information of passengers.
The IRCTC had been providing local cuisines in trains as a part of tie-ups with chains where they shared the revenue earned.