Post lockdown, delivery services are busy criss-crossing Hyderabad and other cities, carrying homemade food from one house to another
Sarita Bhavani is not a home chef, but when she makes her famous kaalla kura (goat trotter’s curry) or chicken fry or rasamalai, and fans of her food get a whiff of it on their WhatsApp group, they are quick to request a small portion for themselves. Though Sarita loves to feed her friends, she has always had trouble looking for a way to deliver it.
Then there is home chef Ajay Roy, who makes sure the elderly subscribers to his lunch and dinner menu get their meals on time without having to pick it up themselves.
Sarita and Ajay are among those who are making use of last-mile delivery services like Swiggy Genie, Dunzo, Porter and Rapido, thereby stretching these services beyond delivery of restaurant food. Users made the best use of it during the lockdown and are continuing to enjoy the facility.
So when Rajeshwari, residing in Malkajgiri, Secunderabad, got a cake from her friend who lives 25 kilometers away in Kondapur, she was as surprised as she was happy. Rajeshwari says, “Sometimes, I cannot even get food picked from a restaurant which is seven kilometers away from my home.”
Thanks to these delivery services, families are exchanging festival goodies and ensuring their children’s favourite food reaches them whenever it is prepared. For instance, Zubeida Mehdi in Visakhapatnam makes sure her daughter and family get their share of khichda and parda roti whenever it is prepared at home. Zubeida says, “We might live in the same city but her commitments at work or home sometimes make it difficult for them to come the day it is prepared. Also, some dishes are better eaten fresh, not refrigerated and reheated. With no driver at home, these delivery services are a blessing.”
Ajay explains how it works: “It is as easy as ordering food on any food app. On the delivery services, one has to add pick and drop address and the task. It comes with an approval option when anything apart from home food is asked.” The charges depend on the distance and task; anything that needs extra care is slightly expensive. Ajay says, “The charges are pretty okay because it saves us time and the trouble of driving, parking issues etc.”
Ramesh Raju, a delivery executive from Porter, says the happiness experienced in delivering a meal is a warm feeling. He says “The recipients aren’t just thrilled to get a food package, they also extend the warmth to me, with a smile or by asking if I found the location easily.” His most tricky delivery was a bowl of kheer from Miyapur to Basheerbagh. “I was nervous because it was packed in a glass bowl and I was delivering it for a young man who wanted to surprise his fiancé,” adds Ramesh.
Work (and eat) at home
According to Swiggy, its Genie delivered five times as many orders to ‘home’ addresses compared to ‘work’ addresses between January and March last year, and the number rose nine times in April and May. Home-cooked food was one of the most ferried items in 2020, as people reached out to help elderly relatives, friends and colleagues. A rising interest in baking also meant a lot of people were swapping goodies and organising socially-distant potlucks. “We received over 1,20,000 food-related tasks on Swiggy Genie,” stated the company’s fifth edition of its annual StatEATistics analysis.
Small-scale businesses say they have benefited a lot through the delivery services. Sravanthy Anand, who started the company Jihvara to sell homemade milk products and pickles, has catered to a wide section of customers through Rapido and Porter. Sravanthy says, “Earlier, I would drive and ended up getting stuck in traffic and stressed about the areas that needed to be covered. I wasn’t able to complete some orders as promised. Then a customer suggested I use Swiggy Genie it or send it through Porter. That was the best advice ever.”