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Mohit Gupta | May 14, 2019 | 4 min read
The stories behind the red t-shirts

Everybody loves good food. The staggering ordering-in numbers we see every day, not just in Tier 1 cities but across India, are a testimony to food accompanying every occasion in the Indian home.

Food delivery has also expanded a lot with ‘virtually’ every restaurant delivering to your doorstep offering the greatest convenience (while hat-tipping the laziest amongst us). Simply put, users are spoilt for choice. But when we choose to have our favourite food delivered to our doorsteps, we’re often guilty of seldom having the time or bandwidth to acknowledge the person showing up with the package (and a smile). After all, nobody wants to wait a second longer than necessary, to dig into their favourite food. To me, this behaviour is quite unforgivable because, at the end of the thread, it’s the countless people sporting bright red t-shirts who make sure our users have the finest experience.

On our part, we are guilty of not reinforcing just how much trust and pride we have in our delivery fleet and the work they put in to further our mission of ‘better food for more people’. We’ve been sifting through our data mines to bring to life their stories, dreams and aspirations. You can follow #30citiesin30days across Instagram and Twitter to get a small sense of the thousands who help deliver food to your doorstep.

You’ve probably also noticed that as soon as a delivery partner has been assigned to a user, the Zomato app features a short bio. This information is fed into the system during onboarding and usually contains a line about each individual (where they are from, the number of languages they speak, etc.) followed by a line about their goals (educational, marital, worldly, etc.).

Everyone grows up with dreams and aspirations for what they want to achieve someday — things they want to buy, career goals, education milestones. Turns out 52% of our fleet harbour the dream of owning a car someday; amazing when you take into consideration we have 1.8 lakh delivery partners registered with us! This is followed by those (16%) who wish to own a house someday, followed by 5% wanting to own a motorbike rather than using rented/borrowed ones. The travel bug spares no one — 4% of our fleet hopes to travel abroad at least once in their lifetime while 2% have no desire to own a passport as they’d prefer to travel across India at least once.

Although Zomato caters to all age categories, we are considered youth-centric. And sure enough, our fleet is representative with an average age of twenty-five. Our delivery services are currently present in 250 cities, so the chance of a person in their 20s delivering your food is pretty high.

Of our entire fleet, 20% have completed 10th grade, 37% have completed 12th grade, 19% have an undergraduate degree while 4% are postgraduates. Roughly 9% have diplomas in various courses and only 8% haven’t completed 10th grade. Fifteen per cent of our fleet wishes to complete their education; most of them are either enrolled in long-distance courses or are studying part-time.

What’s amazing is that one in every three delivery partners has a degree or a diploma.

These figures are a testimony to two things; the importance placed on education and the adoption of this profession as a stairway to achieving dreams. They also underline that people across age, gender, education levels and geographies are embracing the gig economy.

We’ve always made sure our delivery partners have the freedom to choose their work hours. This independence has made them one of the most diligent groups of people we work with. Eighty-three per cent of delivery partners are the sole earners in their families. Our data sets also show that family dependency is the highest in Tier-3 cities followed by Tier-2. Moreover, 54% of our delivery fleet are operating from Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities whereas 46% are active in Tier-1 cities. Delhi NCR tops the chart with ~30,000+ delivery partners, contributing to almost one-sixth of our overall fleet.

Right now, only 1% of our fleet constitutes female delivery partners. We’re actively working to encourage more participation that will see a breakthrough in the not-so-distant future. What’s heartening, however, is the story of Harshika Pandya, a delivery partner in Surat who has been working since the age of 19 years. She believes every woman has a mission to do something in her life beyond just being ‘behind-the-scenes’. As Zomato expands to new cities every week in its pursuit of connecting more users to great food, the number of delivery partners across India will only increase. We are learning along with them that delivery jobs are an important gateway to many of their core needs as well as their dreams.

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