Zomato — India’s leading food delivery startup likely to deliver alcohol to our doorstep soon. As per a document seen by Reuters, Zomato is planning to expand its hands into alcohol deliveries to coverup its losses due to the lockdown imposed in the country. The food delivery service is looking to cash the incredibly high demand for alcohol from the people as the liquor shops were shut amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Zomato To Accept Alcohol Orders
Liquor shops were shut since March 25 throughout the country due to the preventive measures of coronavirus pandemic. As the shops were shut for around 45 days, many people plunged on to the roads as the alcohol shops were reopened earlier this week. With the reopening of the shops, people swarmed in front of the stores to buy alcohol.
Major stores in many of the cities witnessed crowds and queues up to kilometers in length. Due to the crowding, police had to baton them in order to make them enforce the social distancing protocols. Mumbai, which was the worst affected city with coronavirus closed the liquor shops within two days of reopening as the crowds may lead to the spread of coronavirus. Also, to ease the crowds at the stores, Delhi introduced a “Special Corona Fee” of 70% on top of the original prices of the alcohol.
Currently, there are no legal provisions to deliver alcohol in India, which may change in the near future in collaboration with Zomato. The decisions on alcohol sales are taken by the International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI).
In a business proposal to ISWAI, Zomato’s CEO for Food Delivery, Mohit Gupta wrote, “Technology-based home delivery solution promotes responsible consumption of alcohol.”
The legal age for consumption of alcohol varies between 18 and 25, depending on the areas.
Gupta, in an unpublished letter to ISWAI(but is seen by Reuters), wrote that “Zomato will identify the regions with less CoVid-19 positive cases and start the home delivery.” The letter was unpublished, but as said before was seen by Reuters and was submitted to ISWAI in mid-April.
Amrit Kiran Singh, Executive Chairman of ISWAI, opined that states should allow alcohol deliveries, which help in boosting the revenue of the respective states amidst the lockdown. He further said that “presently, the challenge is ensuring state revenues from alcohol to be continuously available, and it is sure that the home deliveries will reduce the risk factor on over the counter sales.”
When asked Zomato to comment on the matter, it declined.
Swiggy also declined to comment on the matter.
Right now, the Zomato app shows you the restaurants, bars, and other food spots near you. Before the lockdown in the country, the food delivery service used to deliver food from all the restaurants registered in it but not alcohol. However, it used to show you the location and ratings of the bars near you.
If online alcohol delivery business starts, it would, in one way, increase the revenue of the states and enforce social distancing norms. However, we have to wait until either Zomato, Swiggy, or ISWAI announce the matter.