Jun 29, 2016

Pizzas and burgers on trains

Railways also gears up to provide Baby food at stations

Bangalore: Train passengers will soon be able to order burgers and pizzas of their choice on the Indian Railways website and have them delivered right to their coaches. For last-minute purchases, vendor boys will be waiting on platforms with ready-to-serve burgers, pizzas and Indian thalis.
Leading quick service restaurants (QSR) such as Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Subway,KFC and Pizza Hut are venturing into new territory by opening up stores at railway stations to tap train passengers in the country. The potential is huge: the Indian Railways operates about 12,000 trains carrying 23 million passengers every day.

Such outlets are set to come up in food courts planned at stations such as Howrah, Mumbai, Madurai, Agra, Pune and Visakhapatnam. This step is expected to help quick service restaurants push sales and transform the food offered on the country’s rail network. Some restaurants are even tweaking their menus and techniques to cater to train passengers.

“With the rapid growth of passenger traffic and growing disposable income, brands cannot choose to ignore this segment for too long,” said Gaurav Dewan, chief operating officer of Travel Food Services, which has bid for setting up food courts in six railway stations. “These passengers on an average spend around 100-125 on a meal. While the passenger spends in a railway station are less than that in an airport, the former will give us almost double the volume of business than in an airport.”

K Hospitality Corp, the holding company of TFS, has lined up investments of Rs 200 crore to expand its presence across airports and railway stations over the next two to three years. The food courts will host both international and national brands: Domino’s offering pizzas, MM Maroosh offering Lebanese cuisine, Curry Kitchen offering North Indian dishes and others.

RJ Corp, which holds the franchisee rights for Yum! Brands-owned KFC and Pizza Hut and UK coffee chain Costa Coffee, among others, has also bid to set up food courts at six railway stations.

“This is an avenue to provide quality, tasty and, most importantly, hygienic food for passengers,” said Rohit Aggarwal, director of Lite Bite Foods, which will open Burger King and Indian cuisine chain, Naashto, stores in Mumbai.

Some fast-food chains have also designed a special railway menu and made product innovations. Domino’s Pizza has developed a gas-fired oven that can work without electricity and dish out pizzas in three minutes without compromising on taste and texture.

Subway has for the first time introduced a four-inch sandwich for 70. “Setting up outlets at railway stations is a positive development and gets a captive market. Our store is being set up at Pune’s railway station and the profile of travellers fits with the Subway positioning,” Subway India country head Ranjit Talwar said.
Railways also gears up to provide Baby food at stations

Parents travelling in trains with babies need not go outside the junction to buy baby food any more as the East Coast Railway (ECoR) is set to provide hot milk and hot water at the stations soon.

Earlier this month, railway minister Suresh Prabhu had launched ‘Janani Sewa’ to make infant food available at the stations.

He took this initiative following a tweet from a passenger regarding the same.

After the minister’s announcement, the Railway Board had issued instructions for the implementation of the scheme in this zone like the rest in the country.

The ECoR has now issued instructions to the officials of all the major stations in its three divisions Khurda Road, Sambalpur and Visakhapatnam asking them to ensure the availability of baby food items.

“We have started providing hot milk at important stations. The instructions were issued recently and it is expected to be made available at all important stations by the end of July,” said the ECoR chief public relations officer, JP Mishra.

“The milk stalls of Omfed have started selling hot milk here. The prices of hot milk and water will be notified soon. Other baby foods too will be available at the stations at market prices,” he added.

The ECoR will open a medicine store at Bhubaneswar railway station in July.

The baby food will be made available through this store.

The shops and ‘Jan Ahaar’ centres at major stations like Bhubaneswar, Puri, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Khurda Road, Cuttack and Bhadrak have been asked to upgrade their infrastructure to enable people to boil milk and water.

“This is expected to be done in a month,” said Mishra.