Indian railway catering services is given a face lift by introducing e-catering services to its passenger. Now you can order food in train from your favorite cousins, branded hotels & restaurants and enjoy the taste of delicious food directly delivered at your seat. You just need to install food delivery apps in your mobile and select available food menu at desired railway stations. Booking of food can be done either online, phone call or through sms, it is easier and hassle free. Order food online is not new in India, but food delivery to travelers of Indian train which is the worlds largest rail network, is quite massive. The main aim of e-catering is to offer better quality and variety of food to the passenger.
There are few things you should know about online order food in train as a first time user. If you think you are one of few passenger ordering rail food online, then you have to change your mind. The major player in this field, travekhana.com had claims to deliver 4000 meals per day in 2016, and the numbers are growing 20% year on year. There are many startups opened up in online food delivery business and claims similar numbers. IRCTC has estimated one Lakh online meals order per day due to increasing numbers of passenger showing interests in online food delivery. The major food chain like Halidiram, Bikaner, Dominos, KFC, MacDonald have partnered with IRCTC e-catering services. Thousands of famous Restaurants and Hotels have shown interests in supplying food on train through online booking.
How to order food online in train
Lets us see how you can order food online in train. You can book your order either through IRCTC official website www.ecatering.irctc.co.in and Android app Food on Track or through any other food delivery apps or website. The popular food delivery apps are Travelkhana, Mera food choice, Railtiffin, RailRestro, ZoopIndia, Railyatri, YatraChef, TrainKhana, TravelerFood, Trainmeal, Fudcheff etc. IRCTC currently deliver food to passenger with reserve seats only therefore you need PNR while booking. The general process of online food booking through irctc are as follows:
- You need to enter PNR number, it will show all in-between stations,
- Select station where you want your food, each station will show available restaurants with food menu.
- Select food items from available menus and book your favorite food.
- Checkout for payment. Payment can be online or cash on delivery.
The above booking process are common for all other apps. But private companies give option to book meals without PNR number also, in this case you need to give details of your seat like, Train no, coach no and birth no and few personal info such as Name, Email id, Mobile number etc. Booking of your order can be done either online or through phone call or sms. For booking at IRCTC you need to call at 1323 or send sms MEAL< PNR> to 139. Other apps flashes their customer care or food adviser number on the their online booking platforms.
Tips for order food in train
Here are some information for you while online order food in train.
IRCTC has made catering optional in 31 premium trains (Rajdhani/ Duronto), it means you have the choice to select ‘No food’ option while booking your ticket. In this case you will not be charged for meals on train and pay less for your ticket. For availing outside food on train you can book through food delivery apps mentioned above.
www.ecatering.irctc.co.in and Android app ‘Food on Track’ are the official catering services by IRCTC, rest are private companies. Indian Railways do not take responsibility of cost and quality of food booked from other suppliers.
Food quality depend upon the Restaurants or Hotel you select, try different stations to look for availability of well-known and branded restaurants. You can also read genuine reviews of food quality and service.
Food served through online delivery system are costly because they are supplied from the nearby restaurants and hotels, but you get the benefit of desired menu and taste.
Always use ‘First meal free‘ option while booking food for the first time in train, try different food delivery apps if required. Also search online for discount coupons to save on your food bills.
Do not hesitate to pay online if you are getting discounts/cashback or offers on credit card/wallet payment, in any case if the vendor has failed to supply your food, write a feedback to food delivery company, they will refund your money or give discounts coupon for future booking. Use Cash on Delivery (COD) options if your train is running late.
Food bills will attract 5% GST according to the guidelines by Finance Minister of India, if anybody is charging higher than you need to complain.
There are some company such as Shopinrail also supplies other items like medicine, mobile charger, ear phones to passenger traveling in train.
Food delivery companies not only provide food in train but also provide useful information related to your train running status, taxi services and hotel packages. Therefore while train journey it is useful to keep one of these apps installed in your mobile.