Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal explained the company's 10-minute delivery plans on Twitter, after users raised concerns about the safety of the delivery agents as well as the quality of the food.
"I just want to tell you more about how 10-minute delivery works, and how it is as safe for our delivery partners as 30-minute delivery. This time, please take 2 minutes to read through this (before the outrage)," he wrote.
The food delivery giant says it will rely on a dense network of finishing stations located close to high-demand neighbourhoods. It plans to use algorithms to predict customer demands and keep around 20 to 30 bestselling dishes from various restaurants at these finishing stations.
Zomato Instant was announced days after reports emerged that the food delivery giant will acquire struggling 10-minute delivery service Blinkit. The pilot is set to launch next month with four stations in Gurugram.
'Ten Minute-long Gamble With a Gig Workers Life'
Member of Parliament Karti P Chidambaram said that Zomato Instant will put pressure on delivery personnel "who are not employees, who have no benefits or security, and who have no bargaining power with Zomato".
"This is absurd! It’s going to put undue pressure on the delivery personnel... I have raised this in Parliament and have written to the government. Will pursue this further," he wrote on Twitter.
"This is a ten minute-long gamble with a gig workers life."Karti P Chidambaram
Businessman-columnist Suhel Seth said that Zomato's move is both "dangerous and unnecessary".
"More than anything, it will endanger the lives of both riders as also people on roads and so something best avoided. No one is in such a rush or such an idiot to decide what to eat only 10 mins before!" he Tweeted.
Cybersecurity expert Jiten Jain said, "10 mins sounds amazing as a customer. But honestly this would surely make your delivery staff tense and reckless. Am sure, 30 mins is worth waiting for delicious food arriving at our doorsteps."
Some expressed concern that Zomato's move would set a precedent for other companies, while others were worried about the quality of the food.
"Zomato being a listed company, adopting this heinous model has more repercussions, I wont be surprised if in future, Nykaa, Amazon, Myntra does the same thing to catch up with the rest of the pack," wrote a user, who goes by kushchronicle21.
The backlash was accompanied by a deluge of memes.
What the Founder Said
Deepinder Goyal, in his response to the outrage, insisted that the 10-minute delivery is as safe for Zomato's delivery partners as 30-minute delivery and will lead to lesser time spent on the road, per order.
Zomato expects to cut down on kitchen preparation time and distance travelled per order.
Goyal emphasised that:
The service will be for specific nearby locations
It will only serve popular and standardised items which can be dispatched in two minutes.
Delivery partners are not informed about the promised delivery time
There will be no penalties for late deliveries and no incentives for on time deliveries
Zomato will continue to educate delivery partners on road safety and provide accidental and life insurance
In a blog post, he said Zomato's customers are increasingly demanding quicker gratification, without planning or waiting.
"After becoming a frequent customer of Blinkit, I started feeling that the 30-minute average delivery time by Zomato is too slow, and will soon have to become obsolete. If we don’t make it obsolete, someone else will," he wrote.
Zomato predicts that this service will significantly reduce the price for the customer (at least 50 percent), while the margins for restaurant partners as well as delivery partners will remain the same.
However, there are growing concerns that shorter delivery times will negatively affect the safety of delivery agents. Blinkit, formerly known as Grofers, faced backlash last year for pushing its gig workers to ensure 10-minute deliveries.