Zomato issues statement on food tampering after divisive viral video
The restaurant search and discovery platform Zomato, which also offers online ordering and delivery, has issued a statement via its blog regarding a viral video posted to Facebook that appears to show a delivery driver eating food that is destined for a customer.
“Last night, we came across a video of a delivery executive in a Zomato t-shirt, carrying a Zomato delivery bag, eating food out of boxed orders and replacing each one after resealing them, back into the delivery bag,” said Mohit Gupta, CEO of Zomato’s food delivery arm.
“The video suggests that he consumed some of the food meant for delivery to users, on his way to the drop points. We want our users, restaurant partners and all stakeholders to know that we take these kinds of reports extremely seriously,” he added.
Zomato uses a crowd-sourcing platform, like Careem or Uber, for its food delivery fleet.
According to Zomato, the video was filed in Madurai, in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
Gupta said that Zomato had spoken to the delivery driver “at length” about the incident and “while we understand that this was a human error in judgement, we have taken him off our platform”.
Gupta also stressed that the incident, which had been viewed more than 2-million times at the time of writing was “a rare case”.
“Unfortunately, this also highlights a real possibility for tampering with the food on the way to delivery from a restaurant,” he acknowledged. “We take this very seriously and will soon introduce tamper-proof tapes, and other precautionary measures to ensure we add an extra layer of safeguard against such behaviour.”
The video has divided opinion, both in India where it was shot and in the UAE. Many social media users who have watched it were either appalled at the hygiene issues associated with eating from a customer’s food, or called upon Zomato to be more transparent about the wages it pays, and whether it offers free meals to drivers as part of their package.
While Gupta did not address these concerns in his statement, he did say that “our delivery partners are the face of our brand, and the heart of our success in growing to become the largest food delivery platform in [India]”.
“We stand behind our extensive fleet who do the right thing across many hours of the day,” he added.
Zomato will also be investing in further training for delivery drivers.