Nepal | July 15, 2020

Challenges faced by food delivery companies amid lockdown

Anita Timsina
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The sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus has already taken the lives of thousands of people worldwide. As the pandemic continues to spread globally, the frontline workers are being praised and appreciated for their continuous efforts to save the lives of those who are infected.

Apart from health personnel and security workers who are working day and night to keep the country free from contamination, the food delivery companies inside the valley are also on the race to deliver groceries and vegetable door-to-door implementing required safety measures. Although many people are taking advantage of the online services provided by the delivery companies, most of them are still unaware about the challenges faced by the food delivery companies amid the lockdown.

 Obstacles during operations

The Government imposed the lockdown on March 24, 2020, as a quick response to the pandemic. With the commanded lockdown, people were requested to live indoors while the businesses remained closed until further notice. As people began to live inside the four walls, a sudden rise in the demand for online food, vegetables, and groceries was noticeable inside the valley.

The visible growth in the online orders compelled the delivery companies to come up with a solid plan that fulfilled the needs of their customers. However, as they came up with the strategy, many issues girded them including obtaining the permits to deliver the goods. Although the government allowed permits for the vehicles carrying essential goods, the lack of coordination between government and the state representatives caused chaos in the process as well.

Apart from acquiring the permit, the lack of delivery teams to carry out the order became another obstacle for the delivery companies. A sudden fall-off in the number of staff was reported in many companies, as people from outside the valley left for their hometowns after the government’s decision to halt long distance travel for a certain time.

As the delivery of essential goods started, digital transaction made the whole process hectic and unusual. Since probably half the population do not have access to online payment systems like Khalti, Fonepay, and E-sewa, customers preferred paying cash on delivery for their ordered products. As maintaining the distance was the main priority, some people were even seen keeping the money on the floor after receiving the delivery, making the whole process quite odd as per the Nepali culture.

Fooddole — a food delivery company — during this time of crisis

Working in this pandemic was a challenging yet unique experience for our team, as the module of the business was changed from just delivering the restaurant foods to delivering groceries and vegetables inside the valley. As for the first two weeks of the lockdown, we were not sure how we would work but after a brief discussion with the team, we collaborated with Golden Fresh Mart and Agrimove to deliver groceries and vegetables in the first place with the permits provided by the government.

However, as the demand for the restaurant food increased, we also started delivering foods from the limited vendors from our member list. Although we faced many challenges during the operations, what I remember at the end of the day is that our company is helping hundreds of families to fulfill their basic needs during the present circumstance.

Looking at the current scenario, we are also focused on the health of our employees and customers. Hence, we have been taking the daily average temperature of the employees, wearing PPE, gloves, masks and even glasses are made compulsory. In addition to this, a bottle of sanitizer is also provided to the delivery team.

Conclusion

With time-to-time challenge for obtaining the permits, to managing safety of its staff, the delivery companies are trying their best to continue their operations inside the valley.


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