Online food delivery startups Swiggy and Zomato are working with minimal delivery partners and limited restaurant partners in several states as riders and kitchen staff have refused to step out fearing police harassment amid the Covid-19 virus induced lockdown.
Kitchens have also started facing issues with procuring supplies to run operations, further pressuring them to shut shop.
More than 95% of restaurants nationally are offline, according to the National Restaurant Association of India. “Manpower can’t be risked…and supply is still not very smooth,” Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI, told ET. “Virtually everything is shut.”
Orders on food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy are down by at least 60% across cities. “There has been a short-term impact in terms of softening in volumes which can be attributed to the shortage of supply due to temporary closure of many high-volume restaurants located in malls and disruptions on-ground across certain states,” a Swiggy spokesperson said on Tuesday evening.
The food delivery businesses are also facing challenges on the ground from local authorities and policemen who do not consider them as “essentials.”
“Delhi-NCR, Maharashtra and Karnataka state governments have moved fast and already issued notifications to local authorities to let e-commerce operate in order to keep essential supplies intact. We are confident that we will be able to resolve all on-ground issues soon,” a Zomato Spokesperson said.
Restaurant operators told ET that they have been forced to shut down due to shortage of manpower and fresh supplies. “We decided to shut our kitchens last week,” said Karan Tanna, operator of Ghost Kitchens.