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What role do food delivery apps play in the gig economy?

Last updated :
March 10, 2024

minutes read

Feasting on the Gig Economy: The Bittersweet Symphony of Food Delivery Apps

Ever wondered how your piping hot biryani reaches your doorstep in the middle of a downpour or at the stroke of midnight? Welcome to the mysterious world of food delivery apps, a vibrant symphony within India's gig economy. Let's delve into this appetising saga.

The Beat of the Gig Economy

To fully understand the role of food delivery apps like Zomato, Swiggy, and Uber Eats, we need to first tune into the rhythm of the gig economy. In essence, a gig economy is an environment in which temporary positions are common and organisations hire independent workers for short-term engagements. It’s an orchestra where each musician is a freelancer, playing to their own tune yet creating a harmonious symphony.

The gig economy in India, fuelled by a tech-savvy younger demographic, is booming. And food delivery apps play a pivotal role in this new-age narrative. But how exactly? Let's dive in.

Serving Opportunities: Job Creation

The first dish on our menu is job creation. Food delivery apps have been the primary course for numerous job opportunities in India. As of 2021, Swiggy and Zomato employed over 300,000 delivery partners each. These apps have turned many job seekers into micro-entrepreneurs, delivering delicious food and earning their livelihood.

Spicing Up Convenience: Customer Centricity

Now, let's move to the customer's plate. Food delivery apps have completely revolutionised the way we dine. Craving sushi at 3 am or in no mood to cook after a long day at work? Just a few taps on your screen, and your favourite meal is at your doorstep. Thus, they have spiced up our lives with unparalleled convenience.

Flavouring Local Businesses: Market Expansion

The apps have also played the role of a secret ingredient for the success of local restaurants. By increasing their visibility and expanding their customer base beyond geographical constraints, these platforms have helped small eateries serve a larger audience. They have acted as a bridge, connecting the food cravings of consumers to the kitchens of local businesses.

But There’s a Burnt Aftertaste

However, like a recipe gone wrong, there's a burnt aftertaste to this tale. The gig workers, our delivery heroes, often face a plethora of challenges. Low wages, lack of social security, arduous working hours, and unpredictable income are some of the bitter truths they encounter.

Further, restaurants too, while gaining visibility, sometimes struggle with high commission charges by these platforms, eating into their profits.

To a Brighter Future

Yet, despite these challenges, the gig economy continues to thrive, and food delivery apps remain a vital ingredient in its recipe. As India moves towards being a digital-first economy, it's crucial to address these challenges to ensure a sustainable and just environment for all stakeholders.

So, as we polish off our plates, it's worth acknowledging that these food delivery apps are not just about convenience. They are a significant cog in the giant wheel of the gig economy, serving opportunities, convenience, and growth, all on one platter, while also highlighting the necessity for a balanced approach towards the rights and needs of gig workers.


So, the next time you order your favourite meal, remember, you're not just satisfying your food cravings. You're part of a larger symphony, the gig economy, where each delivery person, each restaurant, and you, as a customer, play a crucial note.

Liked this article? Savoured the insights? Share it with your friends, and let them join the feast of understanding too! You never know, it might just make their (and your) next food order a little more meaningful.

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