More restaurants under Innovative Idea of Catering Policy on anvil across Maharashtra
Geetanjali Minhas | November 15, 2021 | Mumbai
The ‘Restaurant on Wheels’, set up by the Central Railway Zone of Indian Railways at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSTM) last month, has turned out to be a big hit among people.
Set up on a discarded AC three-tier coach rail coach, Restaurant on Wheels is mounted on rails on a special platform opposite Platform No.18 at the Heritage Gully in the railway station precincts. The Heritage Gully has rail artefacts including narrow gauge locomotives, parts of old printing press etc.
The Restaurant on Wheels is set up under the Railways Innovative Ideas of Catering Policy, and offers a unique fine-dining experience to passengers as well as general public offering rail themed experience to its patrons. It has a seating capacity for 40 people with 10 tables. 60% of the coach is seating area while 40% area is kitchen and take away counter. The restaurant serves over 250 food items including all types of Indian food as well as Mughlai, Chinese and Continental items priced between Rs 50 and Rs 400.
The place offers ample space besides easy connectivity to the suburbs via the Freeway. It is accessible on PD Mello Road (Eastern express highway) on the eastern side as well as CSTM Platform No. 18 on western side.
As per the railways, the licence period is for one year and it is extendable based on the performance. The licensee will also be responsible to maintain the approach corridor/ surrounding at their own cost.
The Compliance of Food Adulteration Act and other statutory laws are to be adhered to by the licensee. Keeping in mind the safety aspect, portable fire extinguishers have been installed with staff having knowledge of operation of the equipment.
Rates and menu of the restaurant will be decided by licensee as per market rates approved by Railways.
The restaurant will operate following all existing Covid-19 guidelines by government for the restaurant.
“The railways has earlier floated a tender and we got the contract for Rs 42 lakh plus GST per annum,” says Sameer Pathan of DST Catering Services, the firm that has bagged the contract for a period of 1+1 years, extendable by the Railway Board for another three years.
“After the railways set up the platform and the coach for the restaurant and handed over the site to us, we removed all the fixtures and fittings like seats, AC panels, lavatories etc, and handed them back to the railways. We engaged an architect for carrying out interior work of the restaurant and were guided by the DRM, Mr Shalabh Goel, on the unique history of railways through wallpapers and artefacts etc.”
18KW Electricity supply for the restaurant is sourced from BSES as of now and plans are now on to have solar panels fitted on rooftop for added supply.
“It took us two months to retrofit and open the restaurant after the site was handed over to us. With more than 300 daily footfalls since a month of its opening in October there is a one-hour waiting period for lunch and dinner and we have people coming from far-off areas like Thane, Mumbra, Kalyan and other areas. We aim to make it the first 24x7 restaurant outside a five-star hotel in Mumbai,” says Pathan.
He adds that work is now on to tie up deliveries through Swiggy and Zomato.
Due to heavy rush, more staff will be added and plans are on to have kitchen extended for which they are seeking permission from the railways.
“The Restaurant on Wheels has been set up under the railways Innovative Idea of Catering Policy. Not only will the railways get revenue but employment opportunities will also be given to people,” said a senior railway official.
The railways now plans to explore the possibility of opening similar restaurants at the Lokmanya Tilak Terminus, Kalyan, Neral, Lonavala and Igatpuri in Mumbai division. It has awarded at five other locations, Nagpur, Akurdi, Baramati, Chinchwad and Miraj stations, on Central Railway.
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