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Zomato Delivery Man’s Viral Video Evokes Outrage And Empathy

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A delivery man taken off by Zomato for eating from food ordered by customers has sparked a morality debate on social media.

A video showing the Madurai, Tamil Nadu man taking bites of parcels went viral. That triggered an outcry on Twitter about the quality of service provided by restaurant search and ordering platforms like Zomato.

Zomato took off the rider after having a conversation with him, it said in a statement to BloombergQuint. But the company said it understands that it was an error in judgment.

“In our commitment towards mitigating any possibility of tampering with food, Zomato will soon introduce tamper-proof tapes, and other precautionary measures to ensure we safeguard against any chances of tampering of food,” it said, adding that it has zero-tolerance policy for tampering with food.

Sympathy poured in as well for the delivery man with people calling him “hungry”, “poor” and “underpaid”. Others questioned his public shaming.

But Rituparna Chakraborty, co-founder of employment services provider Teamlease Services Ltd., told BloombergQuint that delivery men are not exploited as they are paid Rs 15,000-16,000 a month. “At some point, you have to strike a balance between the human angle and running a business.”

Food delivery riders earn about Rs 30 per order, with incentives on 11, 15 and 18 deliveries a day, which ranges from Rs 200-500, a Zomato delivery partner told BloombergQuint. He didn't want to be identified because of employment concerns.

Earnings have come down from Rs 40 per order earlier and they also deal with the added pressure to cut the delivery time, he said. But he didn’t sympathise with the Madurai man. It’s their job, he said.

Chakraborty, however, added that it needs to be treated as a one-off incident and could be circumstantial. It’s impossible for food ordering companies to spy on delivery men, she said.

Saurabh Kochhar, the founder of Foodpanda, a food delivery platform which was acquired by Ola last year, agreed. This incident shouldn’t be used to pass a judgment on the entire food delivery industry.

Still, incidents of food tampering en route to customers do happen across aggregators, a spokesperson from the GREAT INITIATIVE, an independent group of restauranteurs from Bengaluru, said in a text response. “While there’s always need for constant training and overseeing for delivery personnel, we do believe that this is a learning opportunity for all aggregators to take a closer look at how things are on ground with their fleet.”

. Read more on Technology by BloombergQuint.