Lead Story

Food Wars

Swiggy now has a $3.3-billion valuation, but challenges are plenty and the competition hungry

Faisal Magray

It was a break that Sridhar Chorotee Nair was looking forward to after quitting his job at HSBC Electronic Data Processing in Hyderabad. Early last year he moved to Thane, adjacent to Mumbai, after having landed a job as a process and quality consultant with Tata AIA Life. He found a good accommodation deal in a building closer to his office on Pokhran Road, thanks to NestAway, one of the country’s fastest growing home rental network.

While he shared his 3BHK with two partners for a monthly rent of Rs.15,000, he got a shocker when he wanted to hire a cook. “She wanted Rs.5,000 per person every month, for making one meal,” says Nair. Instead, he opted for Swiggy Super, a subscription service that waives delivery charges and offers discounts.

While the app claims that he has made savings of over 50% on his monthly bill of Rs.7,000, Nair is not falling for it. “I know for sure that the difference isn’t 50% but more around 20-30%, but it’s still a deal,” says Nair, who places the most number of orders on lazy weekends, for breakfast and dinner.

The 30-year-old is one of the several users who are fuelling the rise of domestic online food delivery business, estimated at $7.08 billion by Statista, and is expected to compound at over 9% to surpass $10 billion by 2023. Incidentally, the platform-to-consumer (PTC) delivery segment is still much lower, at $1.26 billion, than the $5.82 billion that the restaurant-to-consumer delivery segment commands (see: Piping hot). The PTC segment refers to players who partner with restaurants that traditionally never engaged in food delivery.

Neelesh Mundra Partner, McKinsey & CompanyThe growth in food-tech space is not without reason. Neelesh Mundra, partner, McKinsey & Company, says, “Food delivery apps, unlike traditional restaurant businesses are asset-light. This digital business can scale faster and with comparatively less investment. Besides, i


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