Automation in food catering business of India railways ushers in vending machines

Automation in food catering business of India railways ushers in vending machines

New Delhi,June29:Now vending machines will serve you food on trainsThe vending machine will help customers choose products of their choice at maximum retail price.

One issue that constantly plagues Indian trains is food—its quality, pricing and delivery. Often travellers are given stale, overpriced food even on trains which are considered better, or they don’t get it when they need.

Indian Railways is gearing up to deal with this problem in a novel way. It is planning to install vending machines which will dispense ready-to-eat food to its customers 24/7. The service is likely to start with the debut of Utkrisht Double-Decker AC Yatri (Uday) Express which aims to connect metropolitan centres.

Uday Express is likely to attract business travellers and will run on the busy routes such as Delhi-Lucknow. The express service will run overnight to cater to the travellers who would start in the night and reach in the morning to save on their hotel expense.

The vending machine will help customers choose products of their choice at maximum retail price. It will have two payment options- cash and card.

According to officials, the vending machine will be installed in every third coach of a train. Besides ready-to-eat food, the machine will also dispense some other eatables. It will give a brief description of the meal selected along with its price on the screen. The machine will dispense both vegetarian and non-vegetarian food.

Uday is one of the four ambitious trains Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu had introduced in Budget 2016-17. It will run at a speed of 110 kilometers per hour. It has 40 per cent more carrying capacity than other trains which will help the railways clear the rush on busy routes.

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corp. (IRCTC) has decided to allow well-known fast-food chains to set up food-dispensing machines at railway stations. Over 600 such vending machines would be set up on a pilot basis.
The railways carry 600 crore passengers every year and operate some 9,000 railway stations, providing for a potentially lucrative sales opportunity for the likes of McDonald’s and Nirula’s.
According to P.K. Goel, managing director of IRCTC, while many such vending machines would be installed in larger cities, a substantial number would also be set up at smaller stations.
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