Critics were quick to point out road-safety hazards the initiative could pose for delivery executives as well as other vehicles and pedestrians on busy Indian thoroughfares.
“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 the roads…no one is in such a rush or such an idiot to decide what to eat only 10 minutes before,” Suhel Seth wrote on Twitter.
While some questioned the logic behind the announcement, others said they would prefer a 10-minute ambulance or police service rather than food delivery.
“This is absurd! It’s going to put undue pressure on the delivery personnel who are not employees and who have no benefits or security, who have no bargaining power with Zomato. I have raised this in Parliament and have written to the government,” said MP Karti Chidambaram.
The outburst forced Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal to explain the company’s plan and said that Zomato would not penalise delivery workers for late deliveries and offer no incentives for on-time deliveries either.
“Delivery partners are not informed of promised delivery time for both 10-minute and 30-minute deliveries,” he tweeted. He clarified 10-minute delivery will be for specific nearby locations for popular and standardised menu items such as Maggi noodles.
Goyal’s plan to shorten delivery times has been sparked by quick-commerce rivals such as Swiggy, Dunzo and Zepto that are pioneering the segment in India with grocery deliveries. India’s quick-commerce market set to grow to $5 billion by 2025 from $300 million currently, according to data from Redseer.
The model, however, has its critics such as Flipkart’s CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy, who recently played down the 10-15-minute delivery model. Calling it unsustainable, Krishnamurthy called for a more convenient 30-45-minute delivery window.
On the other hand, pizza maker Domino’s, one of the earliest pioneers of the quick-delivery model, said it has managed to cut down delivery time by 10 minutes from 30 minutes earlier for around 60% of its total orders in India.
On Monday, Goyal unveiled a Zomato Instant pilot with four stations in Gurugram beginning April. “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,” he said in a blogpost on Monday.
“In addition to that, after becoming a frequent customer of Blinkit (one of Zomato’s investments in the quick commerce space), 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.” In a recent regulatory filing, Zomato said it would extend a $150 million credit line to Blinkit.