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Lucknow: Online food delivery space gets hotter

Transforming business: Delivery apps are partnering iconic eateries to change the rules of restaurant business in Lucknow.

lucknow Updated: Aug 06, 2018 14:26 IST
Chandan Kumar
Chandan Kumar
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Online food delivery space,Rains,Swiggy
To better their services, especially reduce delivery time, food aggregators are constantly hiring new delivery executives. Their offices are crowded with new applicants. Such is the rush that the administration of Uber Eats in Lucknow had to hire bouncers to manage the crowd! (Representative image/istock Photo)

It’s pouring outside. While there is little action at most restaurants in Novelty area, Harvinder Singh, the second generation owner of ‘Sardar Ji Chhole Bhature’, barely has any time to pause. He is busy packing orders -- for customers who have ordered their meals online.

The incessant rain, which would have led to tepid business in the past, hardly has any impact on Singh’s business now. Sales continue uninterrupted, thanks to online food delivery apps.

“Order jaldi pack kar do (pack the order quickly),” Singh tells one of his workers, as he receives the details of another order from delivery executive (DE) Rajiv Kumar of Uber Eats - an online food aggregator service.

Business Model
  • Online food aggregators charge a certain percentage on the cost of every order made. The percentage is decided at the time of signing the contract with any restaurant. The contract is usually yearly and the percentage of cost sharing is different for different restaurants, undergoing revisions at regular intervals.
  • As the online food delivery business is new in Lucknow, most aggregators are charging a minimum percentage to attract more customers. However, experts say that once the market is acclimatised, aggregators will expect a higher percentage share in payments.

The DE, carrying a box-like faded green bag, reads out a code from his cell phone and Singh matches it with the entry in the tablet placed on the cash counter. “Pack two plates ‘chole bhature’ and a plate of ‘halwa’,” he shouts out to his cooking staff. Within minutes, the order is packed and placed in the green bag, and Kumar leaves to make the delivery.

There is no exchange of cash. All payment is made online and deposited directly into Singh’s bank account. UBER Eats gets to pocket a share.

“Lunch hours have become very busy. There are so many deliveries that I have kept two waiters only to pack food,” Singh said, as he attended to the next DE. Three others wait behind him in the queue.

Right across the street, business is thriving at another iconic eatery -- ‘Sharma tea stall’. The man behind the counter is busy taking an order of tea, buns and crisp ‘samosas’ from a DE of Swiggy -- another online food aggregator.

Not too far away, DEs from Zomato, yet another food delivery app, are queuing outside ‘Wahid Biryani’ to collect orders.

Almost all famed food outlets of the state capital have partnered online food aggregators to expand their businesses and get a piece of the rapidly growing food delivery market pie that is transforming the dining experience in the city.


Food aggregators first approach popular outlets in a city for partnership before launching their services. From ‘Tunday Kababi’ and ‘Idrees Biryani’ to ‘Ratti Lal Khasta’, ‘Bajpai Poori’ and ‘Sharma Chaat’ -- they’re all to be found on food delivery apps operating in Lucknow.

The range of snacks available online along with the convenience of doorstep delivery is fuelling the growth of this business. The three major food aggregaters in the city alone deliver over 8,000 orders daily.

“Earlier, food delivery only meant pizzas, which we ordered at least twice a month. But with these food ordering apps, the range of food available has increased. So has the frequency of our orders!” said Dilip Kumar, a private bank executive who lives with his family in Gomti Nagar extension.

The convenience of getting meals at doorstep is also a big plus. “Many people who live alone order frequently. Now, I know some of them by names,” said an executive who delivers food in Lalbagh.

The majority of orders are placed through mobile phone applications. “Young working people provide us the most business. Our menus too are designed to cater to food preferences of youngsters,” said a senior representative of one of the food aggregators.


Zomato was the first major online food aggregator to launch services in Lucknow on June 1 this year. Eleven days later, Swiggy began operations. It was soon followed by Uber Eats. The trio have partnered around 500 restaurants to dominate the online food delivery space in the city.

Mohit Saxena, city business head of Swiggy in Lucknow, said, “Lucknow has been quite an experience for us, so far. Our daily orders have gone up by 25 times since the day we launched services.”

Swiggy holds the second spot in terms of daily orders, right behind Zomato. The third spot is held by Uber Eats, the newest entrant.

To better their services, especially reduce delivery time, food aggregators are constantly hiring new delivery executives. Their offices are crowded with new applicants. Such is the rush that the administration of Uber Eats in Lucknow had to hire bouncers to manage the crowd!

“We provide good remuneration and bonus to our DEs, which is probably the reason why we receive so many applications,” said a representative of Uber Eats.

The companies are also providing good incentives to DEs to retain them.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 14:23 IST