As people across India have turned to cooking instead of ordering food online, Swiggy is experimenting with new ways to increase frequency on its app. The food delivery app is currently piloting DIY (do it yourself) food kits, which lets users order the ingredients of a specific dish from restaurants using Swiggy to be able to cook it themselves.
This comes just weeks after Swiggy launched a gamut of recipes on its app.
According to two Entrackr sources, the company has been experimenting with DIY food kits with a few restaurants in select cities including some parts of Bengaluru and Gurugram. “I know at least six restaurants are part of the experiment in Bengaluru,” said a restaurant owner who is part of the new initiative, requesting anonymity.
The concept of food kits was brought to the forefront by startups such as New York-based Blue Apron — that send across chef-designed meals with ingredients to its users.
In India, however, the concept of DIY food kits is at a nascent stage with niche premium food chains and online meat and poultry sellers such as Licious and FreshtoHome providing ready-to-cook recipes. Even cloud kitchen firm Rebel Foods, which owns brands such as Faasos, recently started offering DIY food kits.
However, Swiggy’s foray marks the first entry of an online food delivery platform into the meal-kit delivery service. “Swiggy will not have a problem in sourcing and with this move, restaurants could get an additional source of revenue,” said the second source, who also wished not to be named.
This becomes important because restaurants have been heavily impacted during the current pandemic. Some believe that restaurants may not be able to recover in the coming months as many would avoid dining out for the rest of the current year or so.
Queries sent to a Swiggy spokesperson remained unanswered at the time of publication of this story. We will update the post as and when they respond.
This experiment shows that Swiggy is exploring new avenues to make money since its core business — food delivery — has been down by 70-80%. Its rival Zomato kicked-off its grocery vertical about a month ago and recently expressed interest in the home delivery of alcohol.
As things are going to take months from here to regain a pre-lockdown scale for both companies, startups have been looking at experiments. Several e-commerce companies including Meesho forayed into the business of delivery essentials and groceries.
Following the spread of the virus and a prolonged lockdown, the Naspers-backed firm had shut down about half of its cloud kitchens and laid off 800-900 employees. Entrackr had exclusively reported the development last month.