Restaurants and cloud kitchens saw a 30-35% increase in order volumes on Saturday — as people celebrated New Year’s Eve — compared with December 31, 2021, several people told ET.
This is in addition to a massive surge in orders recorded by food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy. A year earlier, these platforms had recorded all-time-high sales volumes as people had stayed indoors owing to the Covid-19 spread.
Additionally, online grocery platforms such as Blinkit and Instamart recorded an around threefold jump in order volumes, with people gearing up to celebrate entry into 2023.
Bengaluru-based NKP Empire Ventures, which operates restaurant brands such as Empire, EasyBites, Karama and Vegetarea, said it posted a 30-35% increase in sales compared with the previous New Year’s Eve, in line with its expectations. “There were no disruptions and orders were accepted and delivered smoothly. There was no delivery workforce shortage last (Saturday) night,” NKP Empire chief executive Shakir Haq told ET.
“The jump was also because there were Covid-related restrictions last year, which was not the case this year”. Rashmi Daga, founder & CEO of Fresh Menu, said the cloud kitchen company witnessed a 30% increase in orders compared with a year earlier.
Eatfit saw sales surge two-and-a-half times. Organically, or after taking out the addition to sales from expansion of brands and to new cities, sales jumped twofold, said Ankit Nagori, founder of Cure Foods that operates brands such as Eatfit, Cakezone and Frozen Bottle.
“We did about 70,000 orders yesterday (Saturday) and it was pretty good,” he added.
A delivery-only restaurant in South Delhi’s Kalkaji area also saw a similar jump, but the restaurant owner said that they had estimated a higher increase in sales.
“Last year, the increase in sales on December 31 was significantly higher than normal days. We had invested in additional capacity by hiring more contract-based chefs and workers, but the surge was only for an hour or so between 10pm and 11pm. We primarily serve through Zomato and Swiggy,” the restaurant owner said.
On Saturday evening, Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal had urged customers to order in early to avoid the year-end rush and cautioned against a potential crash in its servers. Goyal pointed out that overall order volume was 45% higher than the previous New Year’s Eve. On December 31, 2021, Zomato had delivered over 2 million orders.
At 6.40pm, Goyal tweeted: “We have touched last year’s OPM (orders per minute) already!”
While the Gurgaon-based company did not disclose the total number of orders it delivered on Saturday, Goyal said in a different tweet that the number of orders it delivered on December 31 were greater than the total orders that it delivered in the first three years of its food delivery service.
Swiggy’s founder and CEO Sriharsha Majety said the company had delivered more than 1.3 million orders as of 6.33pm on Saturday. As per the company, there was a 46% jump in traffic from tier-2 and -3 cities compared with regular days. As a result, these cities saw an increase of 49% in orders compared to 2021.
As the evening progressed, Swiggy saw a 126% jump in the number of active users on the platform, with the highest number of orders coming in from Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai.
Albinder Dhindsa, the CEO of Zomato-owned quick commerce platform Blinkit, said as of 9.27pm, the platform had delivered more than three times the orders serviced on December 31, 2021.
He added that the ‘party must haves’ category on the Blinkit app, which featured products such as snacks and soft drinks, started witnessing an increase compared with last week’s order volumes starting 9am on Saturday, and jumped significantly by 9pm.
He also tweeted that the platform saw an increase in orders for items such as soda water, ice cubes and tonic water.
As of 5.45pm, Dhindsa said someone in Bengaluru had placed the biggest party order worth Rs 28,962. “56,437 chips are en route right now and should be delivered in the next 9 mins,” he said in a tweet.
As per a tweet from Swiggy’s official Twitter handle, it recorded orders of 176,000 packets of chips on its grocery delivery platform Swiggy Instamart as of 7pm on Saturday.
The company said Instamart witnessed a three-time increase in orders from tier-2 cities compared with the 2021 New Year’s Eve.