Zomato seeks to counter criticism from concert workers

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Food delivery platform Zomato ran a star-studded ad campaign honoring its delivery people at a time when their wages and working hours are gaining public attention. The “Har customer hai star” campaign, produced by advertising agency McCann India, shows Zomato staff delivering orders to the homes of top Bollywood actors.

Stars ask delivery partners to stay awhile, for a selfie in the case of Hrithik Roshan and for a piece of her birthday cake in the case of Katrina Kaif; however, the runners leave because they want to serve the next order. More films in the same genre starring southern stars are on the way.

“While our delivery partners are delighted to spend those extra few minutes at the door with their beloved stars, they are choosing instead to honor their duty and move on to ordering the next customer. This campaign is a tribute to all of our delivery partners and their commitment to their service, ”Zomato said in a note on the new campaign.

The ads follow recent criticism that bikers had to work long hours, with declining incentives, for low pay. Over the past few months, several anonymous Twitter accounts have popped up to highlight the daily hardships of food delivery staff.

Interestingly, delivery people see the campaign as a money laundering exercise to please the customer. “In real life, a runner isn’t really excited to place the next order. He is in a hurry because his daily earnings depend on it and not because he is impatiently waiting for it, ”a delivery man said on condition of anonymity.

Advertising and branding experts believe the campaign may benefit Zomato’s image, but is unlikely to impact the lives of concert workers.

“Glorified delivery men is an old story. Movies like these do not change consumer behavior. Such unreal portrayals only make the brand look good and don’t really change the life of the delivery guy, ”said Sandeep Goyal, president of Mogae Media, a marketing and communications agency. Goyal said the only “fair” way to treat concert workers is to pay them more.

Zomato had 169,802 active delivery partners as of March 2021.

The discord between aggregators and workers is not new. Concert workers on digital platforms have rallied for better payouts and incentives for years. In food delivery, workers have complained that performance-related incentives cause them to work longer, and rushing to fill orders on time is a big challenge.

In an email response to questions sent by Mint, Zomato said that in a city like Bangalore, the 20% of its delivery partners who deliver by bike and work more than 40 hours per week receive a payment of more than ??27,000 per month.

In its IPO documents filed earlier this year, Zomato said it remits 100% of tips and delivery charges provided by the customer to the partner. Zomato also offers several advantages, such as hospitalization insurance and assistance in financing two-wheelers.


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