The Deepinder Goyal-led firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) under the Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme to onboard food street vendors on its platform.
With this, these street vendors would be able to serve their loyal customers within the safety of their own homes. They would also be able to reach a much larger customer base using Zomato’s technology and last-mile delivery services.
“Happy to witness the exchange of MoU between mission director, PM SVANidhi in my Ministry & vice president of Zomato, a digital platform to order foods,” Durga Shankar Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, tweeted.
Based on learnings in a month, Zomato will upscale the initiative to 125 cities. Zomato is looking to create a more sustainable and abreast ecosystem for food street vendors and facilitate greater earning opportunities for them. In the first phase, it will be working with 300 street food vendors across six cities- Bhopal, Raipur, Patna, Vadodara, Nagpur, and Ludhiana. Considering the popularity of street food in these cities, there is an immense growth potential for these vendors in the online food delivery sphere.
Along with the self on-boarding facility, Zomato is setting up a dedicated team to help these vendors through the onboarding and then order fulfilment process. The Gurugram-based firm will work with the Ministry to help street vendors with digitizing and pricing their menus for food delivery. It will also provide them with training on food safety, hygiene, and advanced packaging practices to ensure these vendors are fully equipped to serve through Zomato.
Zomato has over 200,000 restaurants live on the platform for food delivery and over 1.5 lakh delivery partners across about 500 cities in India. It has been working with restaurants for the development of the foodservice industry for more than a decade.
Zomato’s rival Swiggy is already collaborating with the government for the Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme through a programme it has in 125 cities.
This follows a successful pilot that Swiggy initiated with the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) in the cities of Ahmedabad, Varanasi, Chennai, Delhi and Indore. In the pilot stage, Swiggy has already onboarded over 300 street vendors on its platform.
The SVANidhi scheme had received loan applications from 147,000 street food vendors so far. From these, in the first phase alone, Swiggy will onboard about 36,000 vendors to whom the loan has been disbursed in 125 cities, potentially making this initiative by Swiggy and MoHUA the largest of its kind not just in India, but globally.
There are many changes and challenges that street food vendors have faced in the wake of the pandemic. This had forced many of them to shut shop overnight. Also, there has been a long-term change in consumer behaviour regarding continued social distancing and heightened demand for online services like food delivery. These efforts by Swiggy and Zomato aim to provide meaningful support to the street food vendors to revive their business and offer much-needed visibility.