Stripped of responsibilities of train catering in an inexplicable Railway Board decision of July 22, the Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) is determined to prove a point by turning full-time caterer.
Plans on the anvil include setting up a food factory and a hotel management institute, besides venturing into institutional catering.
“Catering services will revert to the department, while the IRCTC will focus on other areas including tourism promotion,” Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee said on July 30.
But the corporation is focused on grabbing a piece of the huge business potential of the catering business.
“Given the changing lifestyles, the institutional catering concept has caught on. The IRCTC is looking at corporates and government departments including public sector undertakings as subscribers,” corporation managing director Rakesh Kumar Tandon said.
The concept involves bulk cooking in semi-finished condition at food factories. The food is transported, heated and served at different outlets.
The IRCTC’s first food factory is coming up at the 30,000 sqft premises in Noida. Also on the drawing board are plans to set up a hotel management institute in Lucknow.