Zomato Plans To Deliver Food in 10 Minutes, but Should We Be Excited?
Food delivery giant Zomato announced a 10-minute food delivery service last week.
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(This article was first published on 30 March 2022. It has been reposted from The Quint's archives after the release of 'Zwigato' – a Bollywood movie that sheds light on the plight of gig workers in India.)
Food delivery giant Zomato announced a 10-minute food delivery service last week, days after reports of its acquisition of quick commerce delivery service Blinkit (formerly Grofers) emerged.
Even though the company prefaced the announcement by insisting that it won't put extra pressure on its delivery partners, it was met with immediate criticism on social media, with users raising concerns about the safety of the riders and the quality of the food.
In response, founder Deepinder Goyal explained the company's delivery plans on Twitter.
"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.
Here's how Zomato Instant plans to deliver food to your doorstep in 10 minutes without jeopardising the safety of its riders, and why their plans may not be watertight.
How Zomato Plans to Do It
Zomato has taken a page out of the q commerce playbook. It is trying to do what or Blinkit do to deliver your groceries in 10 minutes.
The company is setting up a network of finishing stations in high demand areas, similar to the dark stores that Zepto or instamart use. Zomato will keep 20 to 30 of their bestselling dishes from nearby restaurants at these stations.
To keep it all running smoothly it will use algorithms to help it decide what food to keep at what time and robotics to help in quickly heating and packaging the food.
Notably, Zomato recently invested in Mukunda, a food robotics company.
Zomato will get popular food like momos or omelettes or biryani from nearby restaurants and keep it at its finishing centres. When you order, Zomato will quickly prepare and pack the food at the nearest center and ship it to you in under ten minutes.
What About the Delivery Agents?
Zomato claims that this system won’t put any extra pressure on delivery agents, and will reduce time spent per order; all the time saved will come from quick packaging and quick dispatching to nearby locations.
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
He 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 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.
10-Minute Delivery: Is It Really Worth It?
In a blog post, he said Zomato's customers are increasingly demanding quicker gratification, without having to plan or wait.
"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.
Despite Zomato's insistence that 10-minute delivery won't translate to extra pressure on delivery agents, and that quality and hygiene will be top-notch, there are several concerns which persist:
If there are delays in preparation and packaging, the pressure could still fall on delivery partners to deliver quicker. A 10 minute promise could create a culture where they are indirectly pushed to sacrifice safety for speed.
The food quality could take a hit because they’re stocking food in bulk, reheating it, and sending it out.
If Zomato does pull this off, other players are likely to follow. It could set a precedent, and the consequences, positive or negative, could carry over to the entire industry.
It is unclear whether Zomato’s algorithms will favour established restaurants and disadvantage newer players. Algorithms tend to promote what is already popular. Zomato hasn't made clear if there is a mechanism for involving newer restaurants and eateries.
The Quint reached out to Zomato with a list of queries regarding these issues, but we haven't heard from them yet.
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