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Thursday, 16 August 2012

Transport catering


Introduction: there are different reasons for people to move out of their houses. With theincrease in urbanization, industrialization and tourism, more and more people have learntto move out of their houses. We can categorize them into five different groups.
1.Tourism & Travel
2.Education
3.Employment
4.Social obligation
5.Medical ground
Considering the above groups, we can then break each of these into smaller units whichgive rise to volume feeding in some way or the other. The only thing that is common inall the above groups is that it requires feeding smaller or large groups of people ready toeat food in a short time.
Tourism & Travel:
More and more people arriving in the country as tourists and evendomestic tourism is on the increase, which result in people commuting from one place or one country to other and hence the need to feed.
Education:
This group includes schools, institutions, colleges, and may be hostels. Hereone has to fulfill the dietary needs of school going children or even college goingyoungsters.
Employment:
Every individual in the course of his normal employment has to have atleast one of his meals outside his home and as his place of work which give rise toindustrial canteen, office canteen or mess, tiffin or lunch box provisions or even fast foodor ready to eat meals in a short period of time.
Social Groups:
This group mainly deals with the people who socialize and are regular out goers to either parties, functions, receptions, clubs, sports complexes or to hotels &restaurants with a view to meet and enjoy with people and to sometime dine out for atotal meal experience.
Medical:
This group includes –
a)Hospitals which needs dietary feeding to a large number of patients with differenttypes of meals.
b)Nursing homes which again require special diet and meals to be prepared inaccordance to the patients requirements.

Grouping of Transport Catering:
 People in transit give rise to transport catering that can be divided into four major groups-
a)Railway catering
b)Shipping catering
c)Airline catering
d)Road catering


Airline Catering:

The History of Airline Catering in India
Civil aviation progressed rapidly after the Second World War when large numbers of surplus DC-3 & C-47 aircraft were available for disposal. From 1946 private commercial airlines began the subsequent food requirements. Initially food was provided in boxes, pre-packed as the majority of aircraft were without facilities of in-flight catering services. At that time the International carriers operating through India had no Flight Kitchens, nor were there any public/private flight kitchens, they largely depended on Airport Restaurants or hotels situated in nearby cities to cater to their requirements.
This system was continued until the industry was nationalized and was formed into separate corporations; one for domestic routes and the others for International Flights. (Indian Airlines & Air India).
Modernization and expansion of the fleets increased the carrying capacity of the passengers in both the airlines. It was necessary to improve & expand the catering services to provide passengers with a service compatible with the cost of the airline ticket.
Several Flight Kitchens have been established in Delhi, Mumbai & Kolkata to cope with the needs of International Carriers. Air India floated a subsidiary company known as HCI (Hotel corporation Of India) with a view to operate flight kitchens known as Chef Air and also to accommodate travellers in five star category hotels at major airports(The Centaur group of hotels)
Indian Airlines has also launched a subsidiary company known as Allied Services in order to establish flight kitchen at Airports where there are no HCI flight catering establishments.
The average airlinedinner typically includes ameatproduct (most commonlychickenor  beef ), asalador vegetable, a smallroll, and adessert.Caterers usually producealternative meals, e.g.kosher andvegetarian. These must usually be ordered in advance,sometimes when buying the ticket.

Cutlery
Initially first-class passengers were often provided with full sets of metal cutlery. Butnow both first-class and coach-class passengers are provided with plastic flatware.

Other non-food items
Condiments(typically salt, pepper andsugar ) are supplied in smallsachets. For sanitation, most meals include anapkinand awet wipe(also called a moist towellete),often moistened with scented water.

Breakfast
During morning flights, a smaller, continental-style or 'hot' breakfast may be servedinstead. For the continental-style breakfast, this may include a miniature box of  breakfast cereal, cutfruits, amuffinor  pastry. Some airlines offer the choice of 'hot' breakfast meals to the passengers (usually on long haul flights, or short/medium haul flights withinAsia), which includes anentréeof pancakes or eggs, and there aremuffinsor pastry,fruits and breakfast cerealon the side.CoffeeandTeaare offered as well, and sometimeshot chocolate.

Quality
The quality of airline meals varies from one airline to another. Prices charged to the passengers for food onboard the flight ranges in price from free (many airlines, especiallythose in Asia and all airlines on long haul flights offer complimentary meals) to as muchas ten dollars (Midwest Airlines). Quality may also fluctuate due to shifts in theeconomics of the airline industry. On the longest flights infirst classand business class,most Asian and European airlines serve multicourse gourmet meals, while airlines basedin the US tend to serve large, hearty, high quality meals including a large salad, steak or chicken, potatoes, and ice cream.The low taste of airline food can be attributed largely to a consequence of the limitedspace available on aircraft, and the pressure on airlines to keep costs low. Meals mustgenerally befrozenand heated on the ground before takeoff, rather than prepared fresh. Ithas also been suggested that thetaste budsare less sensitive at higher altitudes, makingeverything taste bland.However, most airline meals are bland beause they are designed to be that way. They areso designed because of two factors: food safety and passenger comfort

Food Safty and hygiene
Food safety is paramount in the airline catering industry. There could be little worse thana severe case of mass food poisoning amongst the passengers on an airliner.When designing a meal service for a passenger flight it must be kept in mind that the passengers have no other sources of food except what the airline is offering - they cannot buy a meal elsewhere when stuck in the air. Accordingly, the food must be palatable to almost everyone onboard. Any particular strong spice is likely to be disliked by some percentage of the passengers, who will make their dislike well known if there is no other option available. Chili, mustard and coriander (cilantro) are all herbs and spices thatairlines avoid for this very reason. Further, onions lead to bad breath, and in the confinesof economy class (coach) this is not usually welcomed by the people close by. Fibrousvegetables lead to flatulence - again very unpleasant in the small aluminum tube of anairliner. This is why most western airline meals consist of a large serve of protein(chicken, steak or fish), a small green salad (usually without onions and more tomato andcucumber than lettuce), some potatoes (carbohydrates), and a dessert (cake or pudding). None of these items causes bad breath, flatulence, or intense dislike to most palates.

Technical crew meals
Food safety with technical crew meals (pilots and flight engineers) is even stricter thanfor passengers. Many foodstuffs are banned completely from tech crew meals, includingall egg products and often any dairy that has not been ultra heat treated. The mealssupplied are labelled in advance with the position of the crew member for who they areintended and no technical crew member will eat any of the same products as hiscolleague - this is to ensure that each pilot eats a completely different meal to the other soas to minimise the risk of all pilots onboard taking ill.

Galley
The galley area is related to the kitchen system and is designed for dry storage, coolstorage, preparation and cooking of foodstuffs and dishwashing.

The spaces and volumes of both areas are exploited with rationality in order to ensureeasy, organic use and movement, both for the clients and for the operators


Railway Catering

In the mid 19thcentury, the railway network began in India with an operation that was to grow the length & breadth of the vast sub continent. With travel made easier, people were transported from one part of the country to the other, subsequently requiring food & drink en route.
At most of the larger stations catering to the big cities refreshment rooms were established. The trains would halt for an appropriate length of time so that the passengers could alight and obtain a simple meal.
3rd class passengers, unable to afford to the luxury of eating in the refreshment room could avail themselves on the wares from the numerous vendors on the station platform.
Railway companies (and for the most part each region had its own) even went to the extent of setting up hotels attached to the stations so that passengers who were changing from one region to another could spend the night before or after in relative comfort. The luxury of sleeping cars & restaurants were a much later development.
At the turn of the century, most of the companies decided that catering was becoming a major part of railway travel & the expertise to run efficient catering operations of a mobile variety was not necessarily within the scope of regional railway bodies.
In the early year of the new century, it was decided naturally to contract out the catering requirements to private companies or hotels with a catering background so that the traveller could be more professionally served during the often long and arduous journey.

THE ROLE OF SPENCERS IN RAILWAY CATERING
The association of Spencers with railway began as early as 1910. Spencers was a company of repute with a very large network all over India. Catering was done on a contractual basis. The catering division of Spencers was responsible for this operation. They virtually had a monopoly.
Spencers were catering under their own name to the M & SM (Madras & Southern Maratha Railway) co. and the S.I.R. (Southern Indian Railway) under the name Brandons, they were catering to the G.I.T.R. (Great Indian Peninsula Railways) whose head quarters was in Bombay. This unit catered to all trains running north from Bombay’ Eg: Bombay,Gujrat etc.
Under the name Kellners, they catered the BNR (Bengal Nagpur Rail) and also the N.W.F.R. (North West Frontier railway) between Delhi, Amritsar & Lahore.

Even at that time Spencers had as many as 180 refreshment rooms all over India. The size of the restaurant, the staff & the menu were structured to meet the demands of the people passing through that particular area.
Even the smallest restaurant had:
A manager
A cook cum waiter ( known as a butler in those days)
A cleaner

The biggest refreshment room had a bar attached since prohibition was nonexistent then.
Still lager facilities even dispensed such items as simple drugs and basic grocery, aerated waters and tobacco.

Railway catering today
The present railway catering services is managed both departmentally (The Indian Railway), and through licensed contractors.
Catering facilities are available at 2995 stations and in 88 pairs of trains, the majority being catered by contractors.
With the hundreds of thousands traveling by train every day throughout the country, the turnover is enormous. For the departmental catering alone for the year 1984-85, was more than Rs.40 crores and the license fees from the contractors in the same year was more than Rs.80 lakhs.
The Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) had been appointed as consultant for the improvement of railway catering. To this end, a new type of service of meals in disposable aluminum foils casseroles has been introduced on some of the major routes.
Similar to airline catering, the food is cooked in the base kitchens (the major stations) and kept in hot cases in the pantry cars. This service has been extended to 30 pairs of trains- resulting in 20% increase in meal sales.
The railways also own and operate two railway Hotels at Ranchi & Puri.

Ship Catering

Ship catering is catering to cargo crew and passenger ship passengers. Ships have kitchens and restaurants on board. The quality of service and facilities offered depends on the class of the ship and the price the passengers are willing to pay. There are cruises to suit every pocket. They range from room service and cocktail bars to speciality dining restaurants.

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