Weeks after Zomato announced its 10-minute food delivery service, Zomato Instant, ride-hailing firm Ola is following suit, according to a report by The Economic Times.
Zomato rival Swiggy is also exploring faster delivery, according to the report, but it isn't clear if it is chasing the 10-minute mark.
In certain parts of Bengaluru and Gurugram, Ola has reportedly started offering select food items, like khichdi, pizza and rolls, within 10 minutes through Ola Dash – the company's quick commerce grocery delivery app.
Ola Dash is currently providing 10-minute grocery delivery in nine cities, according to Moneycontrol. It is targeting 20 cities and at least 500 dark stores by July.
Ola is going to use the equipment provided by Mukunda Foods, a food robotics start-up in which Zomato has a 16.6 percent stake, ET reported.
The start-up makes machines that cut cooking time by 20-50 percent for Chinese and Indian dishes, it claims. Zomato has reportedly ordered several machines for about 15-20 cooking facilities, at an average cost of Rs 1.5 lakh.
CEO Eshwar Vikas told the publication that Mukunda Foods, which services several cloud kitchen start-ups, did not have an exclusivity clause with Zomato and was working with all three companies.
Swiggy has also held talks with the company to use its equipment to automate food preparation in its cloud kitchens for some of its private labels, he added.
Zomato's move towards 10-minute delivery faced considerable backlash on social media, with users raising concerns about the safety of the delivery agents as well as the quality of the food.
The company 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 at a hyperlocal level and house around 20 to 30 bestselling dishes from various restaurants at these finishing stations.
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. The pilot is set to launch soon with four stations in Gurugram.