The title may remind you of the movie Aparichit, where a man travelling in an Indian train is disgruntled with the thin undercooked dal and the sub-standard chapatti. Although the situation is somewhat the same in most of the trains, companies like Manish Chandra’s Railrestro and Rajeev Mittal’s RK Associates are on the path to create better experiences for Indian Railways passengers.
Run by Manish Chandra, Railrestro is an agency that provides railways passengers with restaurant food. Outlets like Moti Mahal, Wah Ji Wah, Kathi Junction, and Chawla’s have their food delivered to the passengers through the Railrestro app. It’s like Swiggy, but for railway passengers who are moving swiftly.
In the Rail Restro app, all you have to do is enter your PNR number or your train number along with the journey date. Then, you will be directed to a page where you have to choose the train stop from where you want to food to be delivered from. Select the choice of your restaurant/train stop, and then select your order. You will then need to confirm the order with your seat, coach no. and the payment.
We tried ordering with Railrestro and it was quite easy. Choosing the DBRT Rajdhani, train no. 12436, we chose to get food from Mealstop Restaurant, Lucknow. There were choices for both Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian food, although choices for the latter were nowhere to be found on the Mealstop Restaurant menu. Every restaurant had a minimum order threshold. For Mealstop, it was Rs 99.
While Railrestro is providing assistance from outside the railway catering sphere, RK Associates is trying to change the tradition of bad train food from the inside. RK Associates happens to have separate kitchens that cook high-quality food items. According to a review online, their Shahi Paneer matched the quality of a Shahi Paneer dish from an Indian wedding.
RK Associates’ Manging Director, Rajeev Mittal, says that there should be ample competition in the railways catering sector, especially between e-catering services and the default contractors. This will bring about even higher quality of food as the catering services and contractors will have high stakes. Moreover, more private services in the sector will ensure innovation to deliver food swiftly as well.