Cancelled orders, spats near restaurants, protests and picketing by partners of an online food delivery app continued for the eighth day on Tuesday in the city. The impact was felt by restaurant owners who were already reeling under the months-long lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some diners who ordered food through Swiggy got a call back, saying that the order was being cancelled as delivery executives were not available.
“Our business is down by 40% due to the strike. It was already affected by the long lockdown and now for the past one week, there have been very few online orders,” said Mohammed Majeed of Pista House. A majority of city restaurants, famous for biryani, reported lower sales.
“There have been close to zero orders through Swiggy, Zomato has picked up. Over all, online delivery business through aggregators has been low for most of us, our guests prefer take-aways or get it delivered directly through us,” said Uttam Reddy of Rayalaseema Ruchulu, when asked about the impact of the strike.
At some places, some executives got into fights with those picketing high-volume restaurants. “We are demanding restoration of an earlier format of payment where we used to get ₹35 per order instead of the current ₹15 for delivering in the 3 to 6 km radius,” said one of the striking workers.
The Indian Federation of App-Based Transport Workers (IFAT) has submitted a memorandum to Jayesh Ranjan, IT Principal Secretary, seeking his help to resolve the issue. The delivery executives are also citing rising fuel prices as one of the reasons for restoration of old payment model. “We had big protests today at Madhapur and Gachibowli. We will not get back to work till they restore the old delivery incentives and rates,” said Shaik Salauddin of IFAT
“Many restaurants have already shut down in the Gachibowli areas as many IT companies have a work-from-home policy. These offices are vacant. Our business is down by 60% as we have only walk-ins and takeaways. This has affected even that business,” said Muhammad Rabbani of Shah Ghouse Cafe.
In a statement, Swiggy said that they were on course to resuming normal services. “Active DEs are around 4,500-5,000. Swiggy is available in 80% of the city, 50% of the orders done as per Swiggy standards. Our service is improving as the disruption is consistently reducing every day,” said the statement issued by a delivery-app official.