Food delivery app Swiggy fudges numbers, promotes own restaurant over others?

By Prasid Banerjee | Published on Jul 26 2017
Food delivery app Swiggy fudges numbers, promotes own restaurant over others?

A blog post claiming to be from ex and current Swiggy employees, paints a really dark picture for how Swiggy operates.

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If a blog post could bring Uber’s top management down to their knees, Indian food delivery startup Swiggy may have something to worry about. A blog post on Tumblr, apparently made by four (ex and current) employees of Swiggy, makes some grave allegations against the company. These include allegations of fudging numbers to investors, duping restaurant partners and anti-competitive behaviour by the company.

A rather grave allegations made in the post is that Swiggy promoted its own restaurant, called Bowl Company over other restaurants on the service. The post says “Bowl Company is the top search result” in Koramangala, in Bangalore now. While it’s not entirely clear here, the authour seems to allege that Swiggy is showing Bowl Company ahead of other restaurants when users search for relevant information. A picture in the post then tells us that Bowl Company is a multi-cuisine restaurant, meaning it should qualify for most search criteria.

If true, Swiggy is indeed involved in anti-competitive behaviour. The post doesn't explain it very well, but the practice seems similar to what Google was recently fined for by the EU. Since restaurants have to list on Swiggy's platform, the company is hence tweaking the code in that platform the favour certain businesses, it's own business (Bowl Company) in this case.

The post states that instead of uplifting its “restaurant partners” Swiggy is actually killing them. The company apparently plans to take 30% commissions from restaurants by March 2022, up from 19% which it takes right now, according to a slide in the Tumblr post. The authours, claiming to be from Swiggy’s sales team, say that big name restaurants will never pay more than 20%, which means this 30% commission will have to be born by the smaller players only, thereby eating into their profit margins.

Further, the post also states that Swiggy gave its investors inflated numbers in order to swindle money from them. The company also made false claims to the media, saying it did 4 million orders a day, when real order volumes were below 3 million at the time. Interestingly, the employee(s) claim that Swiggy took away access to sales volumes data before a story appeared in The Economic Times, stating it made over 4 million orders per month.

Lastly, the post states that Swiggy’s management simple wants to sell the company and “make a quick buck”. The company lies to investors, employees and restaurant partners to reach this goal, the post claims.

On the other hand, Swiggy says the post is intended to malign the company and the claims are inaccurate. Here’s Swiggy’s statement:

We requested Swiggy to provide the real and accurate numbers as well, but the company hasn’t responded to that request yet.

You can read the employees' blog post here.

Update: Swiggy explained its stand, providing numbers it claims are the real ones, via a blog post. You can read that here.

Prasid Banerjee

Trying to explain technology to my parents. Failing miserably.

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