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StartupsVsCovid19: Swiggy Turns To Groceries As Food Orders Decline

StartupsVsCovid19: Swiggy Turns To Groceries As Food Orders Decline

Swiggy is planning to start the grocery delivery business from 150 cities

Swiggy is also looking to leverage its fleet of 2.5 Lakh delivery

The company is facing disruptions in the business amid lockdown

Food delivery operations of Swiggy have been severely impacted in most cities, but the unicorn startup is looking to ramp up its grocery delivery business. The company is planning to start the grocery delivery business from 150 top cities if it faces no disruptions in the supply chain, according to a TOI report.

As of the now, the company operates its grocery delivery services in Bengaluru and Gurugram only. But now, Swiggy is also looking to leverage its fleet of 2.5 Lakh delivery-partners to deliver essential products like groceries to most of the cities it operates in till the lockdown ends on April 14.

Swiggy’s chief operating officer Vivek Sundar believes that this is wartime and the company is ready to tackle the situation as it can start grocery delivery services in as many cities as needed in one or two days. However, Sundar said that this is only possible if the pathway is cleared. “Grocery stores should remain open, the delivery fleet must operate without harassment, and supply chain of groceries from factories to shops must not get disrupted,” he added.

Amid the lockdown, around 80-85% of Swiggy’s fleet is idle right now. According to Sundar, this fleet can be now used to deliver groceries in many cities. He noted that prior to the lockdown, Swiggy was delivering around 1.5 Mn food orders per day.

But after the lockdown was imposed, Swiggy and its competitor Zomato are facing major disruptions in their operations. In some cities, many delivery-partners of Swiggy and Zomato were stopped and beaten by local police authorities. Also, most of the restaurants have also been shut down because of the lockdown.

To resolve these issues, these companies are discussing with local law enforcement agencies. Sundar said that Swiggy has also put these issues in front of police commissioners, political leaders, and bureaucrats of respective cities to get their business back on track.

Sundar also noted that the appeal to the state governments here is to allow all the people involved in the making and delivery of food, including staff of cloud kitchens and restaurants and vendors supplying groceries. He believes that most of the things will get better by the end of this week. “Our cancellation rates were 10x the normal rate as restaurant staff was stuck or the delivery partners were not allowed to move. We are still struggling with beat cops on the ground even in cities like Bengaluru, which is in the best operational state in the country right now,” he said.

However, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Goa, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Assam, Pondicherry and some parts of Punjab are still not allowing delivery-partners to deliver food to the users of Zomato and Swiggy amid the lockdown.