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"Zoom Call For 20 Hours": Zomato CEO On What Happened After 'Pure Veg' Row

2024-03-23 14:05:29

'Zoom Call For 20 Hours': Zomato CEO On What Happened After 'Pure Veg' Row

Deepinder Goyal today received the Entrepreneur Of The Year award

Zomato’s top team was on a Zoom call for over 20 hours to find a way out of the massive row over its announcement of a ‘pure veg’ food delivery service, CEO Deepinder Goyal told NDTV today. Mr Goyal today received the Entrepreneur Of The Year award from Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and NDTV Executive Director Senthil Chengalvarayan at the NDTV Indian Of The Year awards.

Asked what would be his message to a young India that wants to be as successful as him, he said, “I come from a very small town in Punjab. The only message is no matter where you are born, no matter what background you come from, you can actually make it.”

Mr Goyal was then asked questions about the massive row over Zomato’s announcement of a ‘pure veg’ fleet earlier this week. Under this service, Zomato will rope in restaurants serving only vegetarian food and delivery partners in this service won’t handle non-vegetarian food packets. Initially, Zomato had also announced a green uniform for its ‘pure veg’ delivery partners.

The announcement triggered an outcry on social media. While some equated to a form of modern-day casteism, others pointed to practical problems. Some users pointed out how a different colour scheme for vegetarian food orders may create trouble for those ordering non-vegetarian items. They said tenants may then be questioned by landlords about their food habits and residential complexes dominated by vegetarians may bar red-uniformed Zomato partners altogether on certain days.

Mr Goyal and his team responded swiftly and scrapped the separate uniform plan. He said Zomato will have a ‘pure veg’ fleet and it will show on the app that it is delivering orders that opt for this service. But all delivery partners will continue to wear the red uniform.

The Zomato CEO thanked the social media for the feedback. “You made us understand the unintended consequences of this rollout. All the love, and all the brickbats were all so useful – and helped us get to this optimal point. We are always listening, without unnecessary ego, or pride.,” he posted on X.

Speaking to NDTV, Mr Goyal shared what prompted them to introduce the ‘pure veg’ fleet. “We did a large survey saying ‘what will make you order from Zomato more’. And this came up,” he said.

“The way we grew up, we don’t know the meanings of these words, what is the historical context and none of our team (members) know this. We are indifferent to this. I think that’s the purest form of letting go of any casteism, any religion, any biases. We went on and did the change. But when we got the feedback, we actually understood. And we were on a Zoom call for the next 20 hours, just trying to fix anything that we needed to fix,” he added, describing what went behind the scenes as Zomato trended on the social media.

In his social media posts, Mr Goyal had earlier stressed that the ‘pure veg’ service strictly serves a dietary preference, irrespective of a person’s religion or caste.

“Please note that this Pure Veg Mode, or the Pure Veg Fleet doesn’t serve or alienate any religious, or political preference,” he had said.

In a lighter vein, NDTV also asked Mr Goyal if he had ever ordered food through Swiggy, Zomato’s top competitor in the food delivery aggregator space. “Never,” he replied with a smile.

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