Food delivery platforms such as Zomato and Swiggy are observing a dip in the availability of gig workers, as delivery workers switch to alternative platforms like Rapido, and Shadowfax, in search of better payouts and less restrictive working conditions. 

Speaking to BusinessLine, Shaik Salauddin, National General Secretary of the Indian Federation of App-based Transport Workers (IFAT), said, “food delivery workers have held strikes asking for better payouts in the past one month, as fuel prices skyrocketed. As a recourse, workers have started shifting to alternative platforms like bike-hailing platform Rapido and on-demand gig marketplace Shadowfax, as these platforms offer almost 10 per cent better payouts, less restrictions on dress code, and low risk of bad ratings because of food package spill, etc.”

In addition to better payouts, industry sources see migration of delivery workers to their hometowns, and the availability of better-paying jobs as the economy opens up, as some of the reasons for this dip. According to Salauddin, roughly 2,000 workers per city have migrated back to their hometowns from Tier 1 cities.

Ajoy Thomas, Vice-President and Business Head (Retail, Ecommerce, Logistics & transportation), TeamLease Services, also noted that a lot of gig workers tend to switch between platforms particularly opting for platforms/brands who pay/incentivise them better or provide them with better job guarantee or additional benefits.

“There here has been a slight dip in the availability of gig workers. The demand for gig roles is increasing rapidly, creating a demand-supply mismatch in the industry. According to overall industry estimates, the approximate shortage is between 10,000 to 15,000 workers,” Thomas added.  

However, Rahul Khanna, Director, and co-founder of Azure Hospitality, which operates 79 restaurants and cloud kitchens, said that the dip in gig workers’ availability has not impacted the delivery times of its restaurants and cloud kitchens. It operates brands like Sly Granny, Mamagoto, Foxtrot, and Maalgaadi by Dhaba Estd 1986 Delhi, located across Tier-1 and -2 cities. Anurag Katriar, Founder and MD of Indigo Hospitality, also said, “there has not been any significant delay in assigning gig workers across its restaurants in Kolkata and Mumbai. Once in a while on weekends, there might be some delay but no significant trouble as such.”

Demand-supply gap

Swiggy has recently halted its hyperlocal delivery service Genie in three cities, signaling the demand-supply gap in the industry. Swiggy attributed the temporary halt of Genie service to a surge in demand for food and grocery deliveries amid the cricketing and festive season, requiring the company to prioritize these deliveries over Genie. 

Both Swiggy and Zomato recently announced new policies and programs incentivizing delivery workers who have worked with the company for three-five years.  Swiggy said it would reserve 20 per cent of all fleet manager hires for its 2.7 Lakh delivery executives. The opportunity to become fleet managers was earlier only available to delivery partners who had worked with the company for at least three-four years. It is now considering reducing the tenure requirement to around two years.  

Zomato, too, has set up a ₹700-crore fund for the benefit of its delivery partners. Under this fund, Zomato Delivery Partners who have been on its fleet for more than five years, will get up to ₹50,000 per child per annum. The amount will go up to ₹1,00,000 per child per annum if the delivery partner completes 10 years with Zomato.