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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.
Promotional tag line for Zomato- Our food is so tasty, even delivery boys have a hard time controlling themselves.— Ankur Singh (@iAnkurSingh) December 11, 2018
That Zomato guy deserved to be fired. We live in a state where you get five idlis for five rupees. Don't go all poor and hungry on him. What he did was unacceptable.— Anamika (@NameFieldmt) December 12, 2018
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.
Am I the only one who hopes @Zomato isn't too harsh on the delivery boy? Yes what he did was wrong but it was just one hungry human eating a bit of food. Surely we can find the heart to forgive that— alifiya khan (@alifiyakhan) December 11, 2018
The Zomato delivery chap eating from various orders is depressing. It's what happens when you make people who can't afford a square meal, keep handling mountains of food. All food deliveries should offer 1-2 square meals a day for their delivery people. It's only fair. Great CSR.— Brown Sahiba (@Rajyasree) December 11, 2018
Feeling bad about the Zomato delivery guy. Everyone knows how exploited these guys are in India. And there's so much competition that many of these guys can't even afford to sit and have a meal lest they lose one more delivery.— S (@vakeel_saheba) December 11, 2018
The elites are more outraged by a Zomato delivery guy 'stealing' two spoons of rice from a packet than our political masters stealing crores of our tax money for newspaper ads and other frauds.— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) December 13, 2018
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.”
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