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Cloud Kitchen is definitely something for the future in food delivery: Swapnil Bajpai

Adgully is back with a new edition of its annual feature – TRENDING NOW – where we present the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of the pandemic period.

Over the last few weeks, Trending Now has been bringing insights from industry leaders on how their organisations are geared up to seize the opportunities in 2022, break through the Covid disruptions and find growth and remain resilient.

In conversation with Adgully, Swapnil Bajpai, AVP - Supply Sales, Swiggy, who recenlty was part of the Nrai cloud kitchen convention held in Mumbai, speaks about the challenges that Swiggy faced during the lockdown, the new opportunities emerging in the post-pandemic period, his views on the rush to offer 10-minute delivery service by other brands, and more.

What are the challenges and new opportunities that you see emerging in the year ahead?

The biggest challenge which we faced as an industry was there were so many lockdowns, free flow movement of people was not necessarily at the best. Even in the first wave, the delivery executives were not allowed at certain times. So, there was a lot of uncertainty which was prevailing at that time and to navigate through that, working with the government authorities, speaking to them, working with our restaurant partners, took a lot of time and over time as we got through it, it became better, but then the second wave hit, and that too in a much bigger way. The issues were much bigger and hence, it took time for us to go back and recover from there again. So, overall I think the problem was that no one knew what was going to happen next, there was so much uncertainty in the system and I think that was the biggest challenge.

What are the opportunities and trends that you feel will dominate the industry?

Cloud Kitchen is definitely something for the future. I see a lot more brands coming in, especially post pandemic, where consumers want to eat out but they are still very sceptical. I don’t know how sure they are at going out to places and eating around. In general, I feel that the frequency of ordering is increasing, so that’s a big opportunity which is there within the industry.

What are your views on the 10-minute delivery started by several delivery apps?

Swiggy has not tried it so far. Ultimately, if there is a consumer segment who wants to try out the 10-minute delivery and it is commercially savvy, feasibly right to do it, then why not try it out? That’s what I would assume. For certain categories where the food preparation time is not very high, for example, if there are ready made ice creams or a chai which comes from a machine or something like that, and the preparation time is not very high, and if you are able to get those stores very close to the customer, I think it is possible. But it is still in the pilot stage right now, and I am sure the aggregators, the restaurants and the consumers will learn from.

What are the opportunities that you see in this industry and how will it grow over the next five years?

I think there is huge potential in general, because the penetration of or the frequency of eating out in itself is very low in India as compared to a lot of developed countries. So, on one side in general the frequency of eating out will increase as disposable income increases, as urbanisation increases. That gives us a huge potential to tap into this market and then part of it will be delivery, as we are seeing that between then and now, the post-pandemic delivery is picking up quite a lot. I think for the industry, the biggest driver is penetration and increasing frequencies of eating out.

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