The advent of food delivery apps has revolutionised the Food and Beverages industry. But in the recent past, two incidents have rocked the trust that the customer-delivery service-restaurant nexus is based on. Recently, Easi Australia delivery driver was spotted by restaurant owner, Anarug Humigan, from his balcony taking a bite from what was apparently someone’s order, shaking up the contents to make it look full again, resealing it and driving off.
During the end of 2018, a video went viral from Mangalore of a Zomato delivery personnel eating out of a what seemed to be a customer food parcel, and then resealing it.
While restaurant owners are worried about the quality of their food in terms of business, young adults who order in food on a daily basis, are worried about what actually goes down their throats.
Anandi Chakravorty, an MPhil student, shares an instance that has made her question these platforms. “There is a certain Bengali restaurant in Hyderabad from where I used to order often. When my parents came down to visit, I took them out to this same place. To my utter shock, the restaurant was barely holding up. It was in shambles, with rats running around, and the dirtiest kitchen I have ever come across. While ordering the waiter himself asked me not to order any meat as they were not fresh. We walked out. But it has made me question what I order from Swiggy, Zomato or Foodpanda, ever since,” she says.
I would go a little soft on these delivery personnel. These incidents are not happening on a daily basis. But having said that, I do think the delivery personnel need to be trained before they set out on the field
— Inam Khan, owner of the Steak House
Resonating a similar feeling, Sashidhar Kocharlakota, a 24-year-old professional from the city says, “I live alone, and have to often order food, even multiple times a day. And such instances or videos make life harder than it already is. But then again, I don’t believe all delivery personnel tamper with the packed food. For the few that do, I don’t think anything other than an employees counselling session can be done. Also, this is the risk customers need to take when it comes to any online store.”
In the light of these two events, one wonders how an industry as sensitive and dependent on customer satisfaction as the FnB industry can survive with food delivery apps failing to keep up with quality standards.
Ajay Mallareddy, chef and owner of The Flying Spaghetti Monster is of the opinion that even such one-off cases brings a bad name not only to the delivery service but also to the food establishments.
“The FnB industry heavily relies on the kind of brand name that the restaurant has built. And an incident like this can ruin it all. These practices are very unsafe too, when we talk about hygiene. If the health of the customer gets affected, they will point the first fingers at the restaurant and not the delivery service. As restaurant owners we can invest in methods like tamper proof seals, but then again we can only do so much. The onus lies on the delivery service apps to properly train their personnels up to the standards of the industry,” he concludes....