Incessant rains hit online food & grocery business in Chennai

By: | Updated: November 18, 2015 11:57 AM

Grofers and BigBasket have shut operations in the past two days

chennai railway stationThe incessant rains in Chennai over the past week have affected the food and grocery delivery business in the metro with major online players like Grofers and BigBasket having shut operations completely for the past two days.

The incessant rains in Chennai over the past week have affected the food and grocery delivery business in the metro with major online players like Grofers and BigBasket having shut operations completely for the past two days. “Dear customer, due to heavy rains, we have to suspend order-deliveries in Chennai till Saturday, 21st November. We deeply regret the inconvenience caused,” read a message on the BigBasket portal.

Speaking to FE, Hari Menon of BigBasket said, “The market and situation is dynamic. Until Monday, we were not delivering to specific affected areas and were partially operational. Today (on Tuesday), we have shut operations. Our orders had come down by 15-20% compared to normal days (before operations were completely shut). We plan to resume service depending on ground situation.”

BigBasket has a team size of 350 people in Chennai, of which close to 200 are in delivery team. Presently, delivery is done using four-wheelers. And unlike in Bangalore, the team is yet to offer 1 hour express delivery in Chennai, which is done using two-wheelers, which may have caused problems for delivery team during rains.  With a catalogue of over 15,000 products, BigBasket offers fresh fruits and vegetables, grocery and staples, meats, personal care, and home and kitchen products and other household items.

On the other hand, Grofers said, it was facing challenges even in sourcing products from the market. “The supply chain itself is disrupted. We were actually trying to get vegetables in, but they were not available in the local market. It’s been a tough task delivering orders to customers for the last couple of days. We are taking a call every morning whether to resume operations or not,” Albinder Dhindsa, co-founder at Grofers said.

Grofers, the Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global-backed Gurgaon-based company which is operating in 26 cities, targets to achieve 50,000 orders a day by this year end. The company recently acquired Bangalore-based food delivery app SpoonJoy and B2B logistics startup Townrush.

Meanwhile, the food delivery business seem to have picked pace with people preferring to order online during the rainy days.  Speaking to FE, Vinit Chordia of DineIn.in said, “Though we were tempted to shut operations, the team was more enthused to deliver with increasing orders. With most restaurant being inaccessible to customers, people seem to have preferred ordering (food) online. The orders have more than doubled in the last couple of days, and we were able to execute around 60-70% of  them.”

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