THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Khalfan A R is an online food delivery executive with the app-based food aggregator Zomato. Amid the lockdown, he has been delivering food to customers in different locations in the city taking all the necessary precautions. However, as the demand is less, he is unable to meet the targets despite working for more than 10 hours. “I’m barely able to earn `500 a day due to limited orders. However due to financial crisis, I continue working though it poses a risk,” he says.
With lesser demand, online food delivery executives in the district are facing difficulties amid the lockdown. Although the demand for online food delivery was satisfactory in the first phase of the lockdown, there is a huge dip after the news of a pizza boy testing positive for Covid-19 in New Delhi. Some of the delivery executives have refused to step out fearing infection.
Another food delivery executive, Shaheer Salim, says: “Although options such as contactless delivery and online payment are available, there is a decline in the number of orders.” Considering the risk, more than 60 per cent of the delivery executives have stopped working, he says.The drop in the number of orders can also be attributed to the fact that more people at home have sufficient time to experiment with home cooking.
Delivery executives make their monthly income depending on the number of orders that they get in a day. “Earlier, I used to deliver in the Kazhakoottam area which had a good number of orders due to the IT crowd. But, as most of the companies are working with minimum staff and majority have left for their hometowns, there has been a decline in the volume of orders. I am currently delivering in the city limits but I hardly get seven orders in a day. I am unable to bear the petrol expenses with the money I receive,” says Sanil Kumar S, who has been a delivery executive for more than two years now. He adds that mostly people prefer vegetarian food and contactless delivery.
Along with measures taken up by the food delivery portals to ensure safety and security of delivery executives, the latter are also taking precautionary measures such as wearing face masks and gloves and sanitising their hands after each delivery. Moreover, delivery executives have also been advised to record their route map. Customers have also been advised to follow certain guidelines such as sanitising their hands before handling the parcels.