In an announcement on the micro-blogging website Twitter, Zomato Founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal announced his plans to deliver food to its customers in just 10 minutes. The internet is divided on the news, with concerns being raised about food quality and delivery partner safety. The food delivery platform is in talks with restaurants and cloud kitchens for delivering the food items within the 10-minute time frame.
In a statement, Deepinder Goyal said that he felt that “the 30-minute average delivery time by Zomato is too slow, and will soon have to become obsolete and if they don’t make it obsolete, someone else will.”
Many apps for grocery delivery already provide this feature, including Zepto, Blinkit (erstwhile Grofers) and Swiggy Instamart. Interestingly, Zomato has also extended a debt of US $150 million to assist struggling quick commerce company Blinkit, giving the latter the status of a unicorn.
Zomato's CEO is also claiming to reduce the pricing of food items along with decreasing the delivery time. This new feature by Zomato with the name “Zomato Instant” will soon start as a pilot program in Gurugram in April.
Is a 10-Minute Delivery possible?
Zomato CEO Goyal said that the food delivery in 10 minutes is planned only for select food items and specific customer locations. He said in his clarification “We are building new food stations to enable the 10-minute service for specific customer locations only.”
- Food items such as bread omelette, poha, coffee, chai, biryani, momos and Maggi will reach the customers within 10 minutes.
- About 20-30 best-selling dishes will be accessible for the same across its finishing stations from the partner restaurants based on predictability.
According to Goyal, the food delivery company will make use of “dense finishing stations’ network” which will be located in neighbourhoods with high consumer demand. These finishing stations will be about 700-1,200 square feet large. In addition to these, Zomato will also leverage the warehouses of its B2B supplies business Hyperpure and may even install new premises for faster delivery in high population areas with greater demand.
In his blog post, Deepinder Goyal said that to achieve the ten-minute delivery, “Sophisticated dish-level demand prediction algorithms, and future-ready in-station robotics are employed to ensure that the food is sterile, fresh and hot at the time it is picked by the delivery partner.”
Zomato has also invested US $5 million in Mukunda Foods, a food robotics company that designs and makes smart robotic machines that automate food preparation. This will most likely help Zomato in making superfast deliveries with high-quality cuisine.
- Preparation time will reduce to 3 minutes from the standard 12-15 minutes as a curated menu with only select dishes will be offered.
- To clock the delivery within 5 minutes, a delivery radius of 1.5 -2 km will be applied.
- Assigning orders and partner pick-up time is also set to be significantly reduced.
The ultra-fast delivery model of Zomato faced backlash on social media with concerns being raised about the road safety of delivery partners. Congress MP Karti Chidamabaram called the 10-minute delivery promise absurd and stressed on the gig economy startups to be regulated. Raising the issue in Parliament, he said that “it’s going to put undue pressure on the delivery personnel, who are not employees & who have no benefits or security, and have no bargaining power with Zomato.”
On this front, Zomato has clarified that they do not put any pressure on delivery partners to deliver food faster. Nor do they penalize delivery partners for late deliveries. The delivery partners are not informed of the promised time of delivery. Time optimization does not happen on the road and does not put any lives at risk.
Karti Chidambaram also urged the government to issue guidelines and regulate delivery companies such as Swiggy and Zomato to protect delivery agents from unrealistic targets and ensure their safety.
The question remains whether one actually needs groceries and food to be delivered within 10 minutes. Moreover, challenges such as road conditions, traffic, and weather remain critical as the widespread use of 10-minute food delivery looks unsustainable in the long run.
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