Alibaba’s payment affiliate Ant Financial-backed online restaurant discovery and food ordering platform Zomato today announced expansion of its food delivery service from 196 to 213 Indian cities. Zomato, which competes with Naspers-backed Swiggy, Uber Eats and Ola-owned Foodpanda, will now be present in Bulandshahr and Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh, Solan in Himachal Pradesh, Palwal and Rewari in Haryana, Machilipatnam, Nandyal, Bhimavaram, etc., in Andhra Pradesh, Kottayam and Kollam in Kerala, Khanna and Gurdaspur in Punjab, Ambur in Tamil Nadu and Deoghar in Jharkhand.
“Emerging cities are a major growth avenue for us and we expect them to constitute more than 50% of our total order volume by the end of the year,” Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato said in a statement.
Goyal claimed of having 1.8 lakh delivery partners and developing Zomato Kitchen hubs in smaller cities to drive growth for its restaurant partners even as it eyes 500 cities presence in five months.
“Our next target is to deliver food across 500 cities in India by the end of September 2019,” Zomato’s Food Delivery CEO Mohit Gupta said.
Last year, Zomato expanded to 40 new cities in India with nearly 80,000 new restaurants got added to its portal, Goyal said in an official blog post in February.
Goyal also claimed 10.5 million diners booked tables through Zomato in 2018 organically and without any discount offered on table bookings.
The company currently caters to over 200 million people in India with 2x growth in its food delivery restaurants listed on its portal and 2.5X rise in last mile delivery fleet since October last year.
Zomato currently delivers 38 million orders per month on a monthly basis. Globally, it has over 1.4 million restaurant partners across 24 countries.
In February, it had delisted more than 5,000 restaurants for non-compliance with the hygiene standards set by food regulator FSSAI.
Zomato had in December 2018 acquired Lucknow-based drones startup TechEagle to explore drone-based delivery.
“Our first ‘delivery job’ currently is to design multi-rotor drones that can pick up a payload under 5 kg and set up drone delivery circuits for reducing the last mile delivery leg. We believe that robots powering the last mile delivery is an inevitable part of the future and hence is going to be a significant area of investment for us,” Goyal had said.
HSBC, it its report dated March 8 this year on Info Edge India, had valued Zomato at $3.6 billion. Swiggy was last valued at reportedly $3.3 billion after it raised $1 billion funding led by Naspers.