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Vijayawada warms up to online food delivery services

Vijayawada warms up to online food delivery services
Highlights

People of the city are cozying up to digital payments. Call it the effect of demonetisation or an infiltration of tech-savvy youth armed with smartphones, the world of payment is changing rapidly, not only for retailer but, also for restaurants.

Taiwanese, Chinese or good-old Indian food any cuisine one wishes is available with the swipe on a smartphone. Online food delivery services are becoming popular in the city and the people are not far behind in gaining the tech-savvy foodies’ tag

People of the city are cozying up to digital payments. Call it the effect of demonetisation or an infiltration of tech-savvy youth armed with smartphones, the world of payment is changing rapidly, not only for retailer but, also for restaurants. High internet penetration, rise in smartphone use and slowdown have been pushing online food business.

One wants to order Taiwanese, another wants to eat Indian and another, Chinese. The list of demands is endless and with a swipe on a smartphone, one can place order to please his/her hungry soul. The price? A small delivery charge. With growing incomes and lesser responsibilities, a small fee is a ‘no-brainer’ for many customers.

Everyone, including those on a diet, thinks about food several times a day. As Just Bake cashier Srinivas puts it, "Buying a book is optional, going for a vacation is optional, but food is not optional." "We weren't morning people. Most mornings, I don’t even have time to grab a bite. Except when the idea is to go out and eat, I would rather have someone else do the job for me and bring food to my door. The extra cost that we pay is not heavy on the pocket,” claims Keshav Prasad, a businessman.

“With food delivery portals, there is a wide array of choices. The distance doesn’t matter because you pay a delivery charge. Many portals guarantee hot food within a time limit, so you don’t have to worry about your food getting cold,” he adds. Naseem, a delivery boy says, “There are approximately 1,000 to 1,200 delivery boys in the city and this number is only increasing.

Negotiating Vijayawada’s traffic isn’t easy and its potholed roads are tougher. But, we find the job lucrative as we are also able to pursue our studies side by side.” While merchants and consumers are showing trends of picking up digital transactions, the bigger question is if it is going to stay or is only a way to fight cash crunch?

Narayana, a cashier at Domino’s Pizza says, “While the anguish and anxiety caused by demonetisation will remain for some time, the spurt in the use of plastic money and e-wallets is a welcome positive outcome, and signals that the country can reduce the use of cash for many transactions. Demonetisation has led to a spurt in non-cash transactions. The challenge is to ensure user convenience and security, and tax gains.”

“Vijayawada is warming up to the idea of ordering food online. While the restaurant and fine dining business is booming, many outlets are joining forces with delivery services to make a fast buck. But we have our own delivery men,” he adds.

Hailing the Union Cabinet’s measures of withdrawal of surcharge, service charge or convenience fee on card to promote digital and card-based payments to curb cash use in the system, Prahasith, a government employee says, “There is also a downside to living on credit cards.

Paying for things in cash induces a bit of caution about how much you’re spending; it’s a lot more difficult to rein in expenses when you’re merrily swiping a card.”

By K Sarath Chandra

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