YatraChef, The Startup That Delivers Food for Train Travelers.
Travelers in India will not have to worry any longer, when it comes to the limited menus provided while traveling through the use of trains. Travelers will be able to order their own food of choice online whether it be breakfast, lunch and dinner and have it delivered towards the nearest station of their choice, for the entire journey even it lasts up to four days.
This six-month-old service is currently available in up to 120 station and over 200 restaurants are on the network.
Its all thanks to Kochi-based startup 11th Hour Innovations Pvt Ltd., set up by Arun Rajan, Rameez Ashraf, and Suchithra S., which has launched their YatraChef in order to provide commuters with their food of choice.
The passengers will be able to order the food from a menu that can be found on their website or with the help of a multi-lingual call centre, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. The passenger has to enter their PNR or train number and date of the journey.
YatraChef automatically generates the travel route of the train. The user can choose which station they want it delivered, check the menu, and place the order. Orders can be placed for a total of Rs. 100 and above.
The commuters pay the amount only when the food has been delivered. In order for this to all work out, the company has managed to team up with hotels, restaurants, food plazas, fast-food chains, and caterers across the country.
Rajan came up wiht this idea while traveling through the train from Mumbai to Goa during New Year eve in 2013, when he noticed the lack of good food during his travel. Rajan, who did his Master’s in logistics and operation from the University of Sydney, and company’s CEO, commented that they have so far catered a total of 10,000 orders on trains and them demand continues to increase.
A childhood friend of his by the name of Rameez Ashraf is the current Head of the Process. Suchithra from Kollan, a B-tech Computer Science graduate and MBA in International Business from London, joined them as a Business Development Manager. They are supported by up to eight people at the call center and software operations.
“We began with an investment of Rs.15 lakh. We used word of mouth publicity, Facebook and Twitter to spread the message. Seventy per cent of the orders were online and group orders above Rs. 2,000 come through call centre,” he said. The call centre makes a call to the traveller after the food is delivered.
“The business follows a revenue-sharing model. The aim is to provide at least three restaurants at all the listed station and to reach out to the people as more people want our service,” adds Suchithra.