After groceries, Zomato eyes home delivery of alcohol: Details here
When restaurants across the country were closed due to COVID-19 lockdown and people refrained from ordering cooked meals, food-tech giant Zomato was quick to enable home delivery of groceries and daily essentials. Now, after achieving that successfully with e-grocery start-up Grofers, the Deepinder Goyal-led company appears to be moving in the direction of making doorstep deliveries of alcohol. Here's all about it.
In mid-April, Zomato's CEO for food delivery, Mohit Gupta floated the idea of home delivery of liquor through its platform to the International Spirits and Wines Association of India, the representative body promoted by multinational alcoholic beverage companies. "We believe that a technology-enabled home delivery based solution can promote responsible consumption of alcohol," he said in the document which was later accessed by Reuters.
Gupta added in the unpublished ISWAI proposal that the company would initially target the alcohol delivery service only towards "areas that are relatively less affected by COVID-19". But, that is just it; there is no official information about the planned service, including things like what it would look like and when it would be rolled out publicly.
The proposal from Zomato gives ISWAI a partner in its effort to get some legal provisions for the home delivery of alcohol in India. "The challenge is to ensure revenue from alcohol continues to be available," ISWAI's executive chairman Amrit Kiran Singh told Reuters, adding that "it is imperative they (states) reduce the load on the retail counter...by encouraging home delivery."
According to a report cited by Reuters, as of 2018, India's alcohol industry was estimated to be valued at over $27 billion. However, when the lockdown came into force, the entire industry came to a halt, leading to a significant surge in consumer demand.
That said, Zomato's plan could be the way to help state governments generate the much-needed revenue from the sale of liquor, without putting the public at risk of COVID-19. The Home Ministry recently allowed alcohol shops to re-open as part of an effort to restart the economy. But, the stores witnessed long queues, forcing authorities to charge batons to enforce the social distancing protocols.