Government of India has recently increased passenger fare to offer better services and security, however availability of good quality vegetarian food in train is something, which still bother passengers. But now stop bothering about getting vegetarian foods while you are traveling on world’s largest rail network – Indian Railways as Nasik based MeraFoodchoice enables passengers to order local vegetarian food across 75 stations.
MeraFoodChoice (MFC) is an online food delivery platform, which bridges gap between the food providers located around various railway stations and passengers. Currently, the startup offers options of choosing vegetarian meal across different restaurants spanning over 75 stations.
Users can search and order via MeraFoodChoice’s website or phone ( 8484848426 / 08484848426) either by using their Train number or PNR numbers. PNR number is necessary to confirm the validity of orders as MeraFoodChoice uses it to ascertain passenger’s coach, berth including expected arrival and departure time of train at given station.
The minimum order value MeraFoodChoice allows, is Rs.130 (though it varies from station to station). Presently the startup accounts 300 unique visitors on its website every day and serves 100 meal on an average per day without any spends on marketing. “More than 80% are repeat customers and I think we have a solid foundation with good strong restaurant relationships who work with us very closely using our proprietary software to track orders and trains”, said Piyush Suresh Kasliwal, founder and CEO, MeraFoodChoice.
The startup aims to serve 1000 meals per day in next 6 months. To ensure quality and hygiene, MeraFoodChoice conducts lot of local surveys and has users generated rating/quality criteria for restaurants/vendors. The company ensures timely delivery at the opted station by passengers and the background process lets the vendors know about the current status of the train and when to start cooking / packaging or delivery.
Launched in November 2012, MeraFoodChoice plans to extend its platform to every town/city in India and begin home delivery and table booking with restaurants shortly. As of now, MeraFoodchoice is being bootstrapped by founder, however, it is in advance discussion with Venture capitals to raise funds.
MeraFoodChoice competes with recently launched Travelkhana, which connects train travellers with restaurants on the Indian Railways network and enables passengers to easily place orders (veg and non-veg meal) via website, phone, SMS, or mobile app. Importantly, at stations where the train stops for less than 5 minutes Travelkhana does not deliver orders.
Trying to solve a hard problem of last mile delivery, TravelKhana and MeraFoodChoice are startups to watch out for. With marketplace aggregator approach – will these players gain immense traction sans getting into a head-on battle with Indian Railways network or IRCTC?
Next time if you are going for long journey with train, give these two startups spin and lets us know your feedback.