- Food delivery Startup Zomato plans to branch out into liquor delivery as it tries to cash in on high demand for booze during the lockdown.
According to a document seen by Reuters, Indian food delivery company Zomato plans to branch out into supplying alcohol as it tries to cash in on high demand for booze during the country’s coronavirus lockout.
Zomato has also diversified into grocery delivery as the campaign restrictions shuttered several restaurants and people were hesitating to order food outside due to fears of catching the disease.
Alcohol shops, closed nationwide on March 25, were allowed to re-open this week, creating queues of hundreds of people outside some outlets in some cities and leading to police baton charges to impose protocols of social distance.
New Delhi authorities levied a 70 percent “Exclusive Corona Tax” on top of retail alcohol prices to discourage huge crowds, while Mumbai shut down its liquor stores within two days of reopening them.
There is currently no legal provision for home delivery of alcohol in India, something that is lobbying Industry body International Spirits and Wines Association of India (ISWAI) to alter in tandem with Zomato and others.
“We believe a technology-enabled solution focused on home delivery will facilitate responsible alcohol consumption,” Mohit Gupta, Zomato’s CEO for food delivery, wrote to ISWAI in a business bid.
The legal age for alcohol-drinking ranges from state to state, ranging from 18 to 25 years. Zomato will target “areas relatively less affected by COVID-19,” Gupta wrote in the unpublished paper submitted by Reuters to ISWAI in mid-April. Zomato did not answer a request for comment.
Amrit Kiran Singh, executive chairman of ISWAI, said states would allow alcohol deliveries to help raise government revenues affected by the lockdown.”The challenge is to ensure that alcohol revenues remain secure, “he told Reuters.
” States have to reduce the retail counter load by promoting home delivery.”
According to the most recent estimates from the London-based research firm IWSR Beverages Industry Analysis, India’s alcohol beverage industry was worth nearly $27.2 billion in 2018. Backed by Ant Financial – a Chinese subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding – Zomato acquired the Indian food delivery company from Uber in January.