‘Berth’ of new food service for train passengers

Jul 27 2014, 02:49 IST
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Hot, fresh meals from restaurants being delivered at railway stations Hot, fresh meals from restaurants being delivered at railway stations
SummaryHot, fresh meals from restaurants being delivered at railway stations

If you are a frequent traveller on long-distance trains, chances are that you would have come across at least one instance of unhygienic food being served by the railway pantry or simply gotten tired of the same old fare. Navneet Choudhary, a 21-year-old engineering student, experienced it too, during one of his journeys last year, and thus was born TrainKhana.com. The startup, along with other similar ventures such as Mera Food Choice and TravelKhana, is providing train passengers the option of ordering hot, fresh food from restaurants online or over phone, and having it delivered to their berths at a railway station of their choice.

All one has to do is log on to the website, enter the PNR number of the train and choose the railway station one wants the food to be delivered at. Next, one can select the restaurants the company has partnered with, check out their menus, choose a dish and place the order either over the website or through a phone call. One also has the option of net banking payment or cash-on-delivery.

“Food-related problems are quite common during train travels in India. We wanted to fix that,” says Choudhary, who operates TrainKhana from Jodhpur

in Rajasthan.

However, finding first-time customers is easy, getting them to like the food and satisfying their tastebuds is not. To make sure that happens, these businesses are leaving no stone unturned to offer customers a menu that is as vast and varied as India’s culture. So while, Mera Food Choice boasts of pure vegetarian, north Indian, south Indian, Gujarati, Chinese cuisines with a special focus on Jain food, TravelKhana keeps changing its partner restaurants depending on what’s most popular among customers. “We don’t have any limit on our offerings or types of cuisines. Based on customer feedback, we keep changing our offerings,” says Pushpinder Singh, CEO, TravelKhana, which is based in New Delhi.

Piyush Kasliwal’s Mera Food Choice delivers food to hungry passengers at more than 170 railway stations across India. It has tie-ups with around 300 restaurants across the country and serves up to 1,000 meals a day. Orders can be placed from a month in advance to an hour before the train reaches the designated station for delivery. “I used to travel by train frequently to my hometown Nashik from cities like Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Bangalore. Food would always be a problem. It was during one of

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