The good old Zomato and Swiggy, the two restaurant and food delivery apps that you probably used regularly all along, are changing. Chances are when you head back to office once the world is a better place and the COVID has been cleared away, Zomato and Swiggy will look very different to you. Contactless Dining, Contactless Deliveries, safety and hygiene tags for restaurants and more. But that is not all. Zomato and Swiggy are going well beyond simply delivering your food orders or even embedding themselves into the dining out experience at your favorite restaurants. A cursory glance through their apps right now give you a peek at what awaits you.
Open the Zomato app on your Android phone or Apple iPhone, and food@work gets prominent placement. What Zomato wants with food@work is try to and push a contactless dining experience in your office as well. This push into the corporate dining space includes upgrading your existing office cafeteria into something that the company calls “Digitized Cafeteria”. This means you open the Zomato app while you are at work and pick from a curated menu. You place the order while you are at your desk itself, which means you skip the queues and don’t need to wait for the food to be prepared by your cafeteria kitchen. You make the payment for the food via the app itself. You will be notified when your order is ready, and you can collect your order from the cafeteria.
Zomato says that right now, they have 70 organizations on board across India, including the likes of Accenture and co-working space WeWork. They have more than 1,000 food partners, who prepare or deliver your Zomato food@work orders and they are preparing more than 150000 meals a day. Expect these numbers to go up as people return to work in the coming weeks and months, with social distancing and contactless dining keyworks ringing in their ears.
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It was in September 2018 that Zomato had acquired TongueStun, which was then operating in the corporate catering space in 7 cities (Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Gurugram and Noida) with over 1500 service partners at the time.
It is not exactly clear what happens to your existing corporate catering partner, no matter how good or bad they may be, but that perhaps is more dependent on how an organization chooses to restructure their kitchen. For companies that do opt to get on-board the Zomato food@work platform, they will have the responsibility to ensure the requirements of hygiene and social distancing for their employees, particularly during the lunch hours which see the maximum footfalls in a cafeteria zone.
Open Swiggy, and apart from all the delicious food that you can order and the groceries that you can buy, there is one option that must catch your attention. It is called Swiggy Genie, and this can be your own personal concierge or butler, whatever appeals to you. Right now, Swiggy is positioning this as your go-to solution for having shopping delivered home or moving stuff about during the COVID lockdown. What they will not get you is alcohol, cigarettes or tobacco products, but right now, they will collect groceries from a store you choose to buy from within the app itself and deliver them to you. That means what you can buy and have delivered is limited to the stores that are on-board Swiggy Genie.
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But the help with grocery shopping isn’t the only thing Swiggy Genie can do. You can choose to send a lunchbox—select a pick-up address, select a drop address and confirm the order. You can also send business deliveries, documents and pretty much anything else, as long as it is legal and not breaking any laws, anywhere within the city limits. This is a great idea if you want to have your lunch, delivered piping hot, to office. Right now, Swiggy says it will only accept the Genie orders for 10 items or less, since that is the limit they have set for safe delivery on motorcycles.
It is not hard to envision these food delivery and restaurant aggregator apps becoming super-apps, at least when it comes to ordering food at home or office, while going out for a nice meal with your friends and family or even for buying groceries. But what does that mean for the existing business models and entities that do the same tasks, is something we must all think about. Too early to assess the impact, but there will be disruption in the corporate catering, courier and delivery services as well as the restaurant space in the coming months. Too early to call whether these changes survive the test of time or not.