Online food delivery startups Swiggy and Zomato are working with minimal delivery staffing and limited restaurant partners in several states as riders refuse to come to work fearing police harassment amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
More than 95% of restaurants 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 at NRAI, told ET. “Virtually everything is shut.”
Restaurants that ET spoke to also highlighted that they have been forced to shut down as they struggled to get manpower and fresh supplies. “We decided to shut our kitchens last week,” said Karan Tanna, operator of Ghost Kitchens.
Over the last few days, several pockets of Mumbai, Gurgaon and Ahmedabad saw food deliveries come down to zero with restrictions on movement of people as well as the closure of most restaurants. After Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a 21-day nation-wide lockdown on Tuesday, food deliveries across cities including Bengaluru and Delhi were affected.
“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 Tuesday evening.
Zomato said its delivery partners have been facing issues across cities while delivering food despite it being classified as an essential service.