Pongal: ordered in Coimbatore, delivered in Salem

I’m sitting in Uday Express as I write this, heading towards Bengaluru, from Coimbatore, where I was for a week.

As I boarded the train at 5:45 am, I was thinking about breakfast. Should I buy it on the train since they keep hawking it multiple times? But #PeakBengaluru came to my mind 🙂

So, I Googled, ‘22666 Uday Express food’. The first result was from Railyatri.in and asked me to search for food options on the way!

I picked Salem, since it was perfect timing, at 8:07 am. Then it showed me the menu from Hotel Shree Anandha Bhavan in Salem. I picked pongal and vada.

There were minor UX hitches. The payment had all options – UPI, netbanking, credit and debit cards, and I picked UPI. But when I copied my UPI address from Google Pay, the box didn’t allow me to paste it! I entered it manually and it didn’t take me to Google Pay app for payment. I finally paid through netbanking. The resultant page (from Razorpay) threw an error, but then I got a text message about the confirmation. Phew!

I wasn’t entirely sure if I’d get my delivery. But I thought all this was worth a try since the amount (or ‘ticket size’, in Bengaluru-speak) was small. Even if I didn’t get anything, I could still order food on the train.

As Salem station approached I was looking at people who looked like they had something to deliver 🙂 And a man walked into the coach and calmly handed me my breakfast right in my seat! The other passengers looked at this handover with a bit of a surprise. I’m not sure if people know about this.

All through, there were helpful text messages too, assuring me that things are in progress.

The pongal was piping hot, with sambhar and 2 chutneys… and was yummy. This thing works and I’m super impressed!

The thinking, the process, the many UX cues and the delivery… all very smooth! Just like how you’d do it from home, but all this while you are in the train. The minor hitches around payment can be fixed, if enough people give them feedback.

In fact, I thought it’d be even more easier if say, Google Pay worked directly with Railyatri to enable food ordering from its app itself. Google Pay already enables us to onboard many services like electricity bil among others. And Google also has free wifi running in many railway stations. If this service is added to the portfolio, it could be a hugely compelling reason for people to install Google Pay.

PS: (9:25am) Just got an automated call that for order delivery confirmation (press 1 for yes, 2 for no). Very impressive closure, and process!

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