Zomato has announced 10-minute delivery of certain ‘best-selling’ items from food stations it plans to create – not more than 1-2 km away – from your home.
On Twitter (where else), the company’s founder Deepinder Goyal announced Monday that the food delivery giant is bringing fast delivery options soon, with some items being delivered in 10 minutes. All this “while ensuring delivery partner safety.” Soon there was an uproar on social media with comments like – ‘no one needs 10-minute delivery’, ‘what kind of pressure are you creating on your riders’, and ‘innovate where the country needs, not this’. The issue was even raised in Parliament by Karti P. Chidambaram.
So, Goyal further clarified that these superfast deliveries will not penalise the delivery agent for possible delays. The Zomato breakdown says that the kitchen preparation time will take 2-4 minutes and the delivery agent may take 3-6 minutes to deliver your order. And the food will come from an outlet close by. And the ideal food for this? Maggi. But do we even need it? Sure, if you want to settle for re-heated food and snacks.
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Is it doable?
On the face of it, the plan looks quite insane, but if you see how the food delivery industry works, Zomato might sail through this.
Consider this, you want to eat momos, which is a block (1 km) away from your home. Walking there will take you 15 minutes, a bicycle may get you there in 10 minutes, and a scooter may take 2-3 minutes. Now tell me how much time does a momo wala take to put those 6-8 pieces on your plate? Do you ever have to wait longer than a minute? Same thing with samosa, pakode, poha, chai, sandwich, puffs, or even tikki. These are the items that get ready quickly and have an extremely low plate life – that is, they have to be consumed immediately. So, if you have guests or friends coming in 10 minutes and don’t know what snacks to serve, this might be a great choice for you.
But if you are expecting freshly baked lasagna, pizza or even items from the tandoor – chaap/paneer/chicken – then I think you need to lower your expectations. These items cannot and should not be delivered in under 10 minutes. (Not to forget, ordering a masala dosa online is a big no-no, even if it arrives in 5 minutes.)
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You get what you ask for
While writing this piece, I encountered a question – How much time does a commercial kitchen take, which has predictable demand knowledge and prepares the ingredients hours before the store is operational, to make your order?
To my surprise, I could count only a few items that needed a preparation time of more than 5-10 minutes. Want dal makhani? Let me just reheat my pre-cooked dal in the kadhai. Want biryani? Let me just take out a scoop from the hot pot that has been on the water heater for a long time. All your favourite foods – be it kadhi, rajma, chhole, butter chicken or anything that is ‘best-seller’ on Zomato like momos and pasta – can be taken out from a hot vessel, stirred and served. So, 2-4 minutes is still quite generous for the restaurant, considering the fact that packing takes time.
And if the delivery agent is using an electric bike to reach your location, then it’s even better, no penalties for them in terms of petrol prices.
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The millennial demand
If Zomato gets its logistics and supply chain right, then this can be a game-changer – but for who?
Not me – I spend an hour a day in my kitchen to make three meals and snacks for the entire day. However, the young GenZ and urban millennials who hate public dealing, or walking down to a nearby store, think differently. We are simply used to getting things at our doorstep – instantly. Pizza in 30 minutes, Amazon delivery in a day, groceries in a few hours.
Recently, at a party, a friend ordered cold drinks via Zepto because nobody wanted to go out in the middle of the event to buy them. The next day, for basic grocery needs, he again used a quick 10-minute delivery app. I asked the friend in his early 20s why he didn’t want to go outside. He asked me, “If something’s coming to your place why do you need to go to a shop?”
Our impatience is the key to driving companies like Zomato into thinking that we want things delivered in the blink of an eye. The lockdown might have given an impetus to this behaviour. We don’t want to go out for a movie, we’ll wait till it’s released on OTT, we don’t want to cook, we’ll order, and even for dating, it’s easier to go on Tinder, Grindr or Hinge.
So, how is it Zomato’s fault if the problem is our impatience?
Views are personal.