Swiggy, Zomato to Elevate Train Food Order Service: Puneet Sharma, Founder of Zoop
Swiggy, Zomato to Elevate Train Food Order Service: Puneet Sharma, Founder of Zoop

Train travel in India has come a long way, especially with the introduction of the IRCTC ecatering policy back in 2014, offering much-needed food on train services. Previously, despite the popularity of train travel, especially for long journeys, passengers faced challenges in obtaining fresh and hot meals. 

Homemade food was often the only alternative, posing issues such as food spoilage and health concerns. Alternatively, pantry and station foods were limited and could be unhealthy. However, IRCTC ecatering partners have revolutionized the train travel experience, providing passengers with delicious, fresh, and safe meal options, thereby eliminating the food-related hassles and enhancing overall train journey satisfaction.

IRCTC's catering partners support Indian Railways' goal of offering passengers diverse food options. Adhering to ecatering guidelines ensures safe, hygienic food with FSSAI certification. Online food order in train during journeys has become convenient, enhancing the travel experience. Alongside existing players like Zoop, which is serving passengers with hot and fresh meals, popular companies like Zomato and Swiggy have also now entered the market, expanding from home and office deliveries to catering to train passengers' needs.

Last year, Zomato, a prominent player in FoodTech, initiated a partnership with IRCTC to offer pre-ordered meal delivery services at five key railway stations in cities, including New Delhi, Prayagraj, Kanpur, Lucknow, and Varanasi. Similarly, Swiggy entered into a collaboration with IRCTC, targeting passengers traveling through stations in Bangalore, Bhubaneshwar, Visakhapatnam, and Vijayawada. With India boasting the fourth largest railway network globally, serving over 24 million passengers daily, the need for diverse onboard food services is evident. Both Zomato and Swiggy are taking initial steps, with Zomato partnering with over 500 restaurants, and Swiggy training its support agents extensively. Both aim to enhance passengers' dining experiences during travel and allow order food in train through their platforms.

While Zomato and Swiggy are poised for growth, Zoop, IRCTC's trusted partner since 2016, has expanded to over 195 train stations in India. Collaborating with 2500 restaurants and elevating train food order, Zoop aims to ease food hassles for train passengers. Offering a variety of cuisines including North Indian, South Indian, Chinese, Italian, and Jain options, as well as catering to special dietary needs for occasions like Eid or religious festivals such as Janmashtami or Navratri. With easy ordering via PNR/Train number or station name through various platforms like Zoop’s website, app, phone, and social media platforms such as Instagram and Whatsapp, the journey becomes more enjoyable for passengers.

According to Puneet Sharma, Founder of Zoop, "Introducing the IRCTC ecatering policy and the recent partnership with FoodTech giants like Zomato and Swiggy highlights notable strides by Indian Railways towards enhancing passenger comfort and convenience. This enables Indian Railways to accommodate a larger number of passengers to place IRCTC food order, with the new and existing ecatering partners like Zoop. At Zoop, our focus is on elevating journey standards by eliminating food-related hassles, thereby contributing to seamless passenger experience on Indian Railways. This year, our goal is to serve an increased number of passengers and expand our presence to over 250 train stations across India."

With the current surge in online activity, especially with 800 million internet users in India, the demand for train food services is poised to rise in the upcoming years. As the number of trains and passengers continues to increase, there's a clear opportunity for growth for FoodTech players like Swiggy and Zomato, as well as existing partners like Zoop, to continue enhancing the train journey experience by offering convenient online food delivery options and serving favorite meals on trains.

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