Opinion: How The Demonetisation Is Affecting The Food Sector

There are enough opinions going around the internet about how the demonetisation is affecting the country, but it’s a pretty big deal. Whether people are being petty about their opinions, or it’s based on something that’s been researched and proven, there’s a lot to say. Of course a lot of people and sectors are being affected by this, but the one sector that we’re more aware of is the food sector. And how the sudden change of currency has affected delivery services, restaurants and grocery stores.

at first….they had a plan

Lots of restaurants were willing to take the Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 notes, because they understood what the customer was going through. With special offers and great packages. But that didn’t last very long, however it was a really good plan to help customers hand over their notes for what they would usually consume, just not have to worry about rushing to the bank to get their money exchanged.

then…it got tight and complicated

Despite these offers, people didn’t want to go out and spend money on food. And if they did, there was barely any cash transactions because people were more comfortable swiping their cards to get the food they were ordering. And on top of that, food deliveries also dropped because restaurants and delivery services asked customers to make sure they had Rs. 100 notes to make their payment. Finally, Zomato took away the “cash on delivery” option for orders, because it was becoming difficult for even customers to have change on them at all times.

but…there’s more

Due to the demonetisation, vegetable vendors haven’t been able to get their stock on a daily basis because they can’t pay the farmers, labourers and transport services who bring them their daily stock. It’s been a week and vendors are still struggling to pay for the deliveries. On top of that, customers are turning to online grocers because they can make their payments online instead of at time of delivery. The food that’s supposed to get to the cities aren’t making the trip because of the cost and are stranded in other parts of the country. Which is adding to a possible strike by the truck drivers because of this.

And on top of it all, online grocers are struggling a little to keep up with the demand of the customers. The sudden surge caught them by surprise and while they forecast demand in advance, nobody expected this to happen, which leaves everyone a little stuck and rushed. Grofers has seen a doubling in orders overnight and Big Basket has had a jump of 35%, with almost 80% of their orders being done by digital payments. And this is mostly happening because of new customers looking for different ways to get their daily vegetables.

Opinion: How The Demonetisation Is Affecting The Food Sector

It’s not just vegetables that people are looking to buy, they’re also using online hyperlocal services for non-food items that are usually available in kirana stores and in the stores around the corner from their homes.

so…what does all this mean?

While people did have some time to prepare for this, it’s not like there’s been a lot of time to adjust to this new development. Credit and debit cards and online banking is something that people are relying on at this point. With long lines to get into banks and even ATMs, it’s proving that customers would rather sit at home and order in – whether it be their groceries or meals – they don’t want to have to go out to do what they would in any other situation.

It could all turn around really fast, but the adjustment process will take time. The food sector isn’t too badly damaged, but they are definitely struggling a little more than they expected. Restaurants that don’t offer card services are either getting card machines temporarily, or they will have to deal with a lack of customers till the money issue is resolved. Vegetable vendors are seeing a decline, which even affects their livelihood, because of this same problem. Everybody has till the end of the year to exchange their current old notes for new notes, but given the number of people in the country, this could take a lot longer than people expect.

But keep this in mind: don’t let the food sector suffer! Find a way to help our your local vegetable vendor, visit your usual restaurants, keep their business going even for a little while, because it will make all the difference.

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