IRCTC enters into non-railway catering

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC), an established entity in food catering that has been providing food to millions of railway passengers across the country, has entered into non-railway catering as well. In an interaction with Express Hospitality, Virender Singh, group general manager, IRCTC – West Zone informed, “IRCTC already serves 1.7 million railway passengers per day and approximately 10 lakh meals are served per day. Approximately one crore cups of tea/coffee are served to the passengers by IRCTC on the Railway network. We have successfully taken the catering business of Indian Railways, which is estimated to be around ` 2000 crore per annum, to non-railway segment.” In her budget speech for FY12, Minister for Railways, Mamata Banerjee had mentioned the development of several business-oriented policies, and a new catering policy is one of them.

According to Singh, IRCTC, West Zone has been in talks with leading PSUs and is in the final stages of signing MoUs with these organisations to launch their pilot projects in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which come under the purview of West Zone. He said, “We have formed a fast track team comprising of a joint general manager, assistant manager and supervisors who are on the job, meeting various PSUs and other corporate organisations that have huge canteen/mess facilities. IRCTC is also capable of managing end-to-end hospitality services that would include front office and housekeeping.”

When asked why railways’ catering is not considered of high quality by the travelling public, Singh countered, “We agree with the public perception. However, it is also a well accepted fact that IRCTC was considerably successful in bringing some noticeable amount of change in the way various brands were bought in over the Railways network during the short tenure it was given. It will also be our objective to ensure optimum use of our professional staff by imparting continuous training and regular induction programmes.”

Apart from its massive delivery system on the catering front through on-board catering services, static catering units on the Indian Railway network, IRCTC also mans multi-cuisine food courts, food plazas, food stalls, automatic vending machine kiosks and also budget hotels on a pan-India basis. Singh added, “The main objective of this PSU is to provide a single window-service for hospitality, travel and tourism products. IRCTC has got strength of more than 1500 specialised hospitality professionals and widespread network across India. IRCTC has already ventured out in the non railway catering projects by taking up the hospitality services in various ministries and organisations. As such, a policy regarding Non Railway catering project is already in place giving guidelines to execute these projects.”

It is already catering to Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, IIT-New Delhi, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, SGPG Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, etc. Also, last year during the CWG 2010, IRCTC provided catering services in some of the major venues.

Published in: on March 19, 2011 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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