The Railway Board has given IRCTC, its catering and tourism arm, the freedom to change its menu to include healthy items for diabetics, infants and health enthusiasts, besides local and regional cuisine. According to a note sent by the Railway Board to the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), the move is aimed at enhancing catering services and providing more options to passengers.
“As a measure to improve the catering services in trains, it has been decided to give freedom to IRCTC to customize the menu so as to include regional cuisine/preferences, seasonal cuisine, requirement during festivals, food items as per one’s liking various groups of travelers such as diabetic food, baby food, health food options including millet based local products,” the note said.
Currently, IRCTC has to get the menu approved by the Railway Board before introducing it in trains, which mainly consists of mostly standardized food items and beverages.
The note also said that for ‘prepaid’ trains, where catering charges are included in the passenger fare, the menu will be decided within the tariff already notified by IRCTC.
In addition, a-la-carte food and sale of branded food items at MRP will also be allowed in these ‘prepaid’ trains. The Committee noted that the menu and tariff for such a-la-carte meals would be decided by IRCTC.
For other Mail/Express trains, a menu of budget segment items like standard meals will be decided by IRCTC within the prescribed tariff notified earlier. It was noted that the menu and tariff of ‘Janata’ meals would remain unchanged. Sale of a-la-carte food and branded food items at MRP will be permitted in Mail/Express trains. It said that IRCTC will decide the menu and tariff of such a-la-carte meal.
“While deciding the menu, IRCTC shall ensure that upgradation is maintained in the quality and standards of food and service and safeguards to avoid frequent and unwarranted changes such as reduction in quantity and quality, use of substandard brands etc. Passenger complaints,” the Railway Board note said.
It also said that the menu should be commensurate with the tariff and should be informed in advance for the information of the passengers. IRCTC was providing local cuisine in trains apart from tying up with chains where they shared the revenue earned.
With inputs from PTI