Bengaluru, notorious for its jams and bumper to bumper slow moving traffic, has many motorists leave home early without a breakfast, just to get to their workplace on time. In fact, it won’t be an exaggeration to compare the road life to a second home for the residents, considering the amount of time one has to spend traveling to and fro from work.
Gauging the problem of the everyday commuters and the adverse effects long traffic jams was having on the health of the people, one petrol pump in the city plans to offer free food to its customers. The very concept, a brainchild of Venkateshwara Service Station close to Indiranagar RTO on Old Madras Road, has caught the attention many vehicle owners who drive along the route.
“This one-of-a-kind project will be launched for the first time in India this week. It will help all those Bangaloreans who fail to take care of their gastronomical health,” said Prakash Rao, the 48 year old owner of petrol station. The free food will be offered 24×7, with both vegetarian and non-vegetarian choices made available for breakfast, snacks and meals, he added.
About the initiative Rao elaborated:
Whether one has a time or not, all people will definitely stop over at a petrol pump to refuel. We will work during those few minutes to fill their stomach. In fact, our tagline is ‘U fill Ur Tank! V Fill Ur Tummy!’ In less than two to five minutes, their desired choice of food will be packed and given to customers who can enjoy it at their leisure.
On being asked if the IOC had any discrepancy regarding such a kind of ‘value-added’ initiative, Rao further said:
The IOC officials were open to our idea and in fact were supporting us in our endeavour by sharing our burden to a certain extent. The objective is to give back something to our consumers on the go.
This idea stayed with Prakash from the time when he started off with a take away food counter ‘Kwickies’ at his bunk. Thereafter, he has worked to adapt the concept into the petrol pump business.
As soon as one pulls over for refuelling, the ‘value-added’ food service comes into play. Rao explains:
Food items will be cooked at a centralized kitchen elsewhere and stored at the petrol pump where it will be heated and served. For all the bakery products, we have tied up with ISKCON. Experienced chefs are involved in preparation of food. For those who do not want to buy fuel, can also pack the food after they pay a prescribed amount.
Rao at the start of free food service is prepared to bear the loss. For now it does not bother him. He says:
The endeavour will make us incur huge losses. But we do not mind as we want this concept of availing food at petrol outlets to become popular among public. A part of the losses will be repaid by the IOC. As a pilot, we will be serving free food for over a month and there on it will be charged affordably. In the days to come, we want to replicate the idea in about 100 IOC pumps across the city where there is considerable footfall on daily basis.
Whether Prakash Rao is able to sustain the free food value addition service or not, time will tell, but it definitely will have more motorists dropping by his pump to fill up and munch a bite on the go.