With everything in life becoming instantaneous, multinational restaurant aggregator Zomato has decided they don’t want to be left behind. If you are craving something, Zomato has now decided they want you to have it within 10 minutes and nothing less than that. While the move is impressive to some, critics say there are loopholes in the plan. We discuss the 10-minute food delivery strategy and whether with the Indian traffic snarls, this is a wise practical option.
What Zomato plans
In a statement made on Twitter, Founder Deepinder Goyal said that food deliveries were now going to be done within 10 minutes, adding that this new strategy wouldn’t be aimed at putting more pressure on the drivers.
The Founder then went on to explain why the food platform had come up with this strategy. “Customers are increasingly demanding quicker answers to their needs. They don’t want to plan, and they don’t want to wait. In fact, sorting restaurants by fastest delivery time is one of the most used features on the Zomato app. 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.”
How will 10-minute food deliveries be achieved by Zomato?
While the reasoning is fair, the question is if the strategy is practical considering India and its roads and the vast demand that Zomato has. Will it work? In an article to Scroll, Yugal Joshi, a partner at consultancy Everest Group says “Unlike grocery, food as a category has a better chance to succeed in the 10-minute delivery format. People may not want to plan for food the way they can for groceries. They may want to order things on the fly. Still, these are edge cases.”
So, onto the game plan that Zomato has come up with. In high demand neighbourhoods, there will be finishing stations in place which will house bestseller items. The bestseller list will be based on two factors, which is demand predictability and hyperlocal preferences.
This will make the chain move faster, according to Zomato thus enabling the platform to fulfil its 10-minute promise.
What if the 10-minute target isn’t met?
Twitter was ablaze with netizens concerned that delivery partners would be forced to bear the brunt of this new tactic. Author Suhel Seth took to Twitter to voice his concerns about the same. “The 10-minute delivery offer from @zomato is both dangerous and unnecessary: more than anything, it will endanger the lives of both riders as also people on roads and so something best avoided. No one is in such a rush or such an idiot to decide what to eat only 10 mins before!”
Other users also voiced the same concerns. One wrote “Please do not start this. This will be increased pressure for the restaurant and the delivery partner. We can wait for our food longer than 10 minutes. Please do not start this.”
Another agreed, saying “Yes, especially in cities like Mumbai, Bangalore which face traffic snarls, this doesn't sound practical.” The memes kept coming. A user wrote “Zomato announces 10-minute delivery Pretend wokes: Haw! So bad for drivers and will lead to lawless anarchy on roads. Sir/ma'am, before getting ignited, please read up dark stores, fulfilment intelligence, and order-routing. Please sit, it's the real world, not GTA V.”
Putting people’s fears to rest that if the 10-minute target wasn’t met, there would be consequences on the delivery partners, Deepinder Goyal said “Nor do we penalise delivery partners for late deliveries." He went on to clarify that road conditions were obviously a factor that would play a role in this strategy. "The delivery partners are not informed of the promised time of delivery. Time optimisation does not happen on the road, and does not put any lives at risk."
Has this instant food delivery service been tried before?
The Zomato promise of 10-minute deliveries does bring a sense of deja vu to some, as you may recall pizza chain Domino’s doing something along the same lines. Domino’s had a policy that said if the pizza wasn’t delivered within 30 minutes, you wouldn’t have to pay for it. In fact, the pizza chain then went on to reduce the delivery time from 30 minutes to 20 minutes by ensuring the number of kitchens was increased and that the preparation begins before an order is placed, thus giving enough buffer time. Whether Zomato’s model will work along the same lines is yet to be seen.
People are also concerned about the fact that this model could be replicated by major eCommerce giants and this would put undue pressure on the entire supply chain simply to be the fastest.