‘Took 20 hours of Zoom call to…’: Zomato CEO on how he fixed ‘Pure Veg’ controversy

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Zomato’s CEO Deepinder Goyal revealed that the company’s top team engaged in a marathon Zoom call lasting over 20 hours to address the significant controversy surrounding its announcement of a ‘pure veg’ food delivery service, as reported by NDTV.

When asked about his message to aspiring individuals in India, CEO Deepinder Goyal emphasized that regardless of one’s birthplace or background, success is attainable with determination and hard work.

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.”

Goyal was questioned about the recent controversy surrounding Zomato’s introduction of a ‘pure veg’ food delivery service. This service involves partnering with restaurants serving only vegetarian food and ensuring that delivery partners exclusively handle vegetarian food packets. Initially, Zomato had also proposed a distinctive green uniform for these ‘pure veg’ delivery partners.

The announcement sparked controversy on social media, with various concerns raised. Some criticized it as resembling modern-day casteism, while others highlighted practical issues. Concerns were voiced about potential confusion caused by different color schemes for vegetarian and non-vegetarian orders. 

There were also worries that tenants might face scrutiny from landlords about their dietary preferences, and residential complexes with predominantly vegetarian residents might restrict access to Zomato partners wearing red uniforms on certain days.

Following the backlash, Goyal and his team acted quickly and decided to abandon the separate uniform idea. Instead, Zomato will introduce a “pure veg” fleet, clearly indicated on the app for customers choosing this option. However, all delivery partners will still wear the standard red uniform.

While thanking the social media for the feedback, Zomato CEO wrote, “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.”

In a conversation with NDTV,, Goyal revealed that the decision to introduce the ‘pure veg’ fleet stemmed from a comprehensive survey conducted to gauge customer preferences and enhance Zomato’s service.

“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.

In his social media posts, Goyal emphasized that the ‘pure veg’ service caters solely to dietary preferences, regardless of an individual’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 light-hearted moment, when inquired if Goyal had ever ordered food through Swiggy, Zomato’s primary competitor in the food delivery aggregator industry. “Never,” he replied with a smile.
 



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