Zomato’s 10-mins food delivery: It’s time we discuss the elephant in the room

Zomato is launching 10-mins food delivery and is playing it super safe with the announcement.

The team (including Deepinder) is using the right language and is sharing the data points behind the decision, as we all know the raging sentiment against the model.

From the official announcement 👇

We deeply care about how we do what we do. So the first thing we told ourselves when we thought about instant food delivery was “no compromises”. We narrowed down to these eight principles around which we are building Zomato Instant– 

  1. (Almost) as affordable as home-cooked food
  2. Highest quality of fresh food
  3. World class hygiene practices
  4. Minimal use of plastic packaging
  5. Convenient packaging for quick/easy consumption 
  6. Traceable supply chain (v2)
  7. Delivery partner safety 
  8. Deep collaboration with restaurant partners – from their official announcement

These are great data points (well integrated frontend and backend), but the team, if they are really serious (and I am sure, they are) they should just focus on answering the most fundamental questions around the model.

What if the driver is delayed by a few mins? Will they be penalised? Who is going to pay the fine?
Most delivery companies have been completely opaque about this – but those in the industry know the dynamics (hint: it never works out well for the gig workers).

When your marketing promotion says ’10 minutes delivery’, clearly somebody is tracking that and has a KPI built around it.

When KPI fails, somebody will pay for the delay. Who is that somebody?

What if the driver meets with an accident?
Let’s bring the elephant in the room.

Every week, quite a few delivery drivers meet with an accident and ALL of such delivery companies have a defined protocol around it.

  • A quick replacement is always ready (there is enough supply of such talent) within a few minutes
  • There is a team which ensures news doesn’t reach the media.
    Media anyways doesn’t want to report such cases – after all, there is a lot of advertising money at stake.
  • And in most of the cases, there is not much of real-help given to drivers / families (unless social media catches the story).
    And that’s very rare.

    So far, we have heard of only 1 driver dying in a road accident in the last 8+ years of such businesses in practice. You see, the elephant?

No. the companies aren’t evil – but the system is designed to benefit only a certain set of individuals and not the ones who have to bear their hustle.

10-mins delivery increases the pressure on the driver – no matter what a company says, it’s the damn reality. We are just making it hard for the delivery ecosystem.

And it’s time we look beyond upside to the company (valuation), but also ask – what’s the downside for these gig-workers and what’s the course of action if something happens to them?

What’d Zomato do in such cases? There is no transparency (and it true for all such companies). And please note – a twitter thread won’t help – that’s just for the echochamber. Your drivers aren’t on twitter – and most don’t even know if at all the companies they serve have any insurance or healthcare policy in case of accidents or death.

What will help is a real skin in the game and a clearly laid policies that breaks away from the regular corporate BS of legal status of gig workers.

Till then, it is just a hustle by top management – and delivery workers are just a pawn to make that hustle (and valuation jump) happen.

Download NBW: Short news app created for busy professionals like you

Get NBW App - a reimagined fluid short news experience that delivers you clarity and all the important news and trends from your industry. No signup needed !

Download NBW App (Android, iOS)

Sign Up for NextBigWhat Newsletter