Delivered: Profitability in food delivery

May 18, 2023

At Swiggy, our mission is to elevate the quality of life for urban consumers by offering unparalleled convenience. Starting off in 2014, food delivery was our first foray and core offering toward our mission. Back then, the on-demand food delivery experience was new and broken. While there were anywhere between 10-12 players trying to solve for it, the economics of the industry was constantly questioned, with many viewing it as an unviable business model. Swiggy pioneered a full-stack food tech offering with integrated consumer experience through complete visibility from ordering to delivery.

Over the next few years, we continued to invest in this space to lead category growth and reach the necessary scale and economic viability. Along the way, we have created multiple milestones and built for whitespaces in food delivery with offerings like Gourmet and Guiltfree. Last year, we acquired Dineout, enabling us to cater to our consumers for every food occasion, whether through delivery or dining out. Today, Dineout is fully integrated within Swiggy and is the leader in the dining out category with more than 21000+ restaurant partners across 34 cities.

Our sharp focus on innovation, coupled with strong execution has led to yet another milestone- As of March 2023, Swiggy’s food delivery business has turned profitable (After factoring in ALL corporate costs; excluding employee stock option costs). This is a milestone for food delivery globally, not just for us, as Swiggy has become one of the very few global food delivery platforms to achieve profitability in less than 9 years since its inception.

We have reached this milestone while bringing tremendous benefits to all partners in our ecosystem. Our core value that the customer comes first has consistently been reciprocated with deep consumer love and industry-best NPS scores, repeat and retention rates. We continue to make strides in gaining customer favour, including strong traction in Tier 2 and 3 markets.

Our teams are more in sync than ever with restaurant partners to improve their experience with Swiggy and create mutual wins. As a result, our restaurant NPS has improved by over 100% in the past 8 quarters.

We have focused on building more delivery partner-forward initiatives like the Swiggy Skills Academy, on-demand and free ambulance service, and an enhanced insurance policy for their safety and wellbeing. While there is a lot to do, our success in bettering the delivery experience is evident even in third-party reports that have ranked Swiggy the highest among all on-demand delivery platforms in the country.

We strongly believe it’s still very early days in India’s journey of eating out and food delivery, and are very sanguine about the growth potential over the next 2 decades. We will continue to make responsible and measured interventions to fuel further growth in food delivery. There are many underserved geographic and consumer segments and our goal remains to outpace industry growth by continuously investing in the right levers.

As our investments in food delivery are starting to pay off successfully , we’re also very excited about the trajectory of our quick commerce business, Instamart. We pioneered and built this category from the grounds up, and have made disproportionate investments in Instamart given the attractiveness of the consumer proposition and its strategic importance to us. The peak of our investments is behind us and today, Instamart is one of the leading players in the quick commerce space globally. In addition, we’ve also made strong progress on the profitability of the business and we’re on track to hit contribution neutrality for this 3-year-old business in the next few weeks

Swiggy’s innovation culture and builder bias have made us the only horizontal hyperlocal player with offerings across food, grocery, hyper-local commerce, and concierge services. From pioneering the use of a dedicated fleet in food delivery to creating the Indian quick commerce category through the early pilot of Instamart in 2019, our builders’ bias has not only created the right operating models for businesses but also saved us hundreds of millions in acquisition costs and the resulting dilution in equity. The ability to run low-investment but high-value experiments like Maxx, Minis, InsanelyGood, and many more is core to our DNA and a strength we never take for granted.

We expect to reach more such milestones in the coming quarters but for now, this first is an acknowledgment of our mission and our ability to execute and succeed in that mission.

Author Bio

CEO and Co-founder at Swiggy

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