IRCTC, the official Indian Railway catering and tourism wing, started e-catering in trains a few years ago. Now passengers can order delicious food on trains from IRCTC e-catering website and ‘Food on Track’ e-catering app.
Apart from that, there are some authorized food partners of IRCTC such as RailRestro which delivers restaurant-style food directly at the seats of passengers.
To become an authorized food partner or food vendor of IRCTC is a big thing for any hotel or restaurant. It is not an easy and straightforward process to become a food vendor of IRCTC.
Let’s see what are the necessary requirements for a food vendor to partner with IRCTC.
How many food vendors are associated with IRCTC?
IRCTC catering services is ambitious and one of the biggest projects of IRCTC. To deliver tasty food to passengers, IRCTC has partnered with more than 500 restaurants spread all across India. Some of the famous restaurants and food service providers with which IRCTC has partnered to deliver food in trains are Comesum, Zoop, RailRestro, Relfood, OLF stores, Dewsis and Yatri, Domino’s, Subway and Haldiram’s.
In addition to these, there are hundreds of other food vendors who serve delectable food on trains.
How does IRCTC select its food vendors?
IRCTC complies with the Standard Guidelines for the selection of food suppliers for the supply of booked foods through the online catering app. It enables the food suppliers to undergo a robust food supply authorisation process via e-catering. The parameters for selecting train food vendors are as follows:
1. Hygiene and cleanliness
The first and foremost priority of IRCTC food catering is to deliver clean and hygienic food free from any dirt or pests. There are some parameters on which the hygiene of food items is measured:
- The material used for food packaging should be disposable.
- Food is properly packed so that there is no spillage during delivery.
- Utensils or containers used for storing food must be clean.
- The man who is in charge of serving or packing food must wear gloves at all times.
- The restaurant must not deliver food in newspapers or other such materials which can leave dyes on food items.
2. Approval from FSSAI
No restaurant or hotel is allowed to carry out the business of food delivery in trains if they are not FSSAI approved. If you are the owner of a hotel and want to partner with IRCTC food catering, then get a certificate of approval from FSSAI first. Without it, your application will be rejected.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is a supervising body under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India. It certifies a food service provider to carry out the business after a thorough examination and checking on various parameters.
3. Delivery of hot and fresh food only
IRCTC chooses only those food vendors who supply hot and fresh food. This is because IRCTC ensures that passengers have a nice experience every time they order food in train from its website or app. Food delivery in trains is slightly different from normal food delivery. It is the sole responsibility of restaurants to deliver food in hot and fresh condition to passengers. Therefore, prior to making partners, IRCTC confirms that the restaurant does not deliver stale or cold food.
4. Food preparation
Before giving the license to a food vendor to provide catering services in trains, IRCTC makes sure that the restaurant uses high-quality ingredients to prepare food. Suppose a restaurant provides fish curry to passengers. In that case, IRCTC will check if the fish used for making fish curry is fresh or not, if the masalas have passed the date of expiry, whether the fish is cleaned properly or not, etc.
If a restaurant uses highly-trusted and popular brands as ingredients for making food, then there are more chances of getting a license from IRCTC to provide food services in train.
5. Going digital
The restaurant should provide a computerized receipt to passengers in which the price breakup is clearly mentioned. The receipt should include the total price of food items, number of items, discounts (if any), service charges, and GST details.
With a detailed computer receipt, it becomes easy for passengers to enjoy the best travel food services with the convenience of IRCTC food app.
What is the eligibility condition for a restaurant to become an IRCTC food vendor?
Any hotel or restaurant who wants to become a food vendor of IRCTC must get a license from FSSAI. To get an authorization certificate from FSSAI, all food vendors whether they are retailers, hawkers, temporary food stall owners, or other small-scale food business operators, they must have an annual turnover exceeding Rs. 12 lakhs or production capacity exceeding 100 kg/litres per day.
If their annual turnover is less than Rs. 12 lakhs, they should register with FSSAI first and then apply for IRCTC catering services.
Who is eligible to apply for FSSAI license for IRCTC food services?
- Caterers – Turnover of up to or more than 12 lakhs/year
- Restaurants – Turnover of up to or more than 12 lakhs/year
- Clubs and canteen – Turnover of up to or more than 12 lakhs/year
So, now you know about all the requirements for any restaurant to become a food vendor of IRCTC. If you are the owner of a hotel or restaurant or food service provider, then these things will be very useful.