IRCTC kitchen targets 25,000 meals a day

By MAMUNI DAS  www.thehindubusinessline.com

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC’s) central kitchen in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, which makes and serves 10,000 meals a day on two trains – Ahmedabad Rajdhani and Sealdah Duranto – and also does institutional sales, hopes to increase capacity to 25,000 meals a day within a year.

On Wednesday, the company’s Noida kitchen became the first kitchen to have with an effluent treatment plant, set up with an investment of ₹23-24 lakh.

The kitchen also serves offices located nearby, such as Supertech, HCL, Samsung, Oxford University Press and McGraw Hill Education. Additionally, it provides 6,000 snack items to trains such as Patna Rajdhani, Howrah Rajdhani, and Mumbai August Kranti, among others. Overall, about 45 per cent of the meals are delivered to trains and 65 per cent sold to institutions.

Meal pricing

Being a public sector unit, IRCTC cannot cut corners in quantity or quality of food or even taxes, which is why it does not have good margins. The meals for institutions are priced at ₹60-80 each, with a 21 per cent tax. “We just about recover our operating costs. We compete with companies from the unorganised sector,” said Sudhir Warrier, Regional Manager, IRCTC.

IRCTC, which cannot employ staff on below-minimum wages, unlike the unorganised sector, says it needs to invest ₹2 crore in equipment to scale up the Noida kitchen’s capacity.

The kitchen is automated to some extent with equipment sourced from Rosinox of France, Hackmann of Finland, and Sottriva of Italy, apart from Ahmedabad-based Servotech. And while the facility just about breaks even at present, IRCTC feels once they scale up, the economies of scale might come into play helping better its margins. More info

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