In a blog published on tumbler which is going viral on the web, The author alleges that Swiggy numbers are Tamperred among the several other allegations. At this right moment, Zomato should be more than happy than anyone in the world to hear this.
Swiggy, a House of Cards.
This post has been co-authored by four people (ex and current employees) from the sales team in Swiggy. One of us quit Swiggy three months ago. One of us was asked to leave, using a very farce performance management system (we will get to this later). The other two of us are still working at Swiggy, but going to quit in the next two weeks. We also know that a lot more people are going to quit Swiggy over the next few weeks.
While we have all (and we speak for hundreds of us) been in distress for a while, something happened recently, and we can no longer hold our heads high anymore. Before we get to what got us to write this post, let’s talk about everything else that happens at Swiggy, that kills a part of us every-day.
Dishonesty — we cheat restaurant owners
In the sales team, one of our core jobs is to sign up restaurants for the Swiggy platform. This largely includes signing contracts that we know we are going to go back and renegotiate every few months. That is highly stressful, it eats into our conscience, and takes away a little piece of us every time we are made to do this. Most of these restaurant owners are small businessmen and they can’t see how they are being taken for a ride. And unfortunately, if we are to retain our jobs, we can’t tell them either.
We are made to lie about our market share, as well as order volumes to restaurant owners. The worst part is that instead of helping these restaurants grow their business, we are trained to arm-twist them to increase our commissions every couple of months. Some restaurants are paying us more than their net margins because Swiggy in some areas in Hyderabad and Bangalore has been able to become a significant portion of their revenues.
At first it was 5%, then 10% and now nearly 25%. The management wants us to take this to an average of 30% in the future. While we all know that we are building a business, none of us thought it would be at the expense of the livelihood and dreams of others by arm twisting them to pay us for their mistake. What mistake? By trusting Swiggy in the first place.
My sales head had shown us our investor presentation. The numbers here are a proof of what Swiggy is doing to small business owners — our mom and pop restaurant owners.
As you can see, we have been rapidly increasing commissions and violating contractual obligations and promises with our “so-called” partners.
And here’s what the management is planning to do in a few years.
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They want the average commission rate to be 30% in 2022. That means that at least some of the restaurants will be paying 40% commission. We know what averages mean. At 40%, restaurants will bleed to death. And most of these businesses which pay 40% will be the small guys, because the big guys will never pay anything more than 20%.
You know what’s worse? Instead of growing our restaurant partner’s businesses, we recently took the best business zone in Bangalore and started intentionally routing all the users to order from Bowl Company — our own private label kitchen. The Bowl Company is the top search result in all of Koramangala now. This just directly hits at the heart of restaurants we “partnered” with to grow our business in the first place.
This is the slide on the Bowl company from the Swiggy fundraise slides.
On top of this, the sales team is asked to tell our restaurant ‘partners’ that Bowl Company doesn’t compete with you. We have never lied so blatantly in my life. We don’t think we will ever be able to now become the people our parents wanted us to be. Ones with high moral grounds, and unquestionable values.
We cheat our users
Did you know that most of the good reviews for Swiggy on the app stores are planted and paid for? Also, on social media, genuine reviews (which are usually bad) get immediately removed and buried since they are mostly negative. Instead of working on customer support, we hide customer reviews on social media. Instead of offering customers redressal, we hide behind TnCs and clauses to protect ourselves.
We lie to our investors
We know for a fact that our management has lied to investors about our order volumes during the latest fundraise. Our January 2017 order volumes were less than December 2016 volumes. Yes, we had a decline of order volumes in January. But we have seen the investor presentations, and they have shaved off the December numbers in the slides in order to show a linear growth curve across all months of our existence.
Here are the actual numbers –
And this is what we sent to investors –
As you can see, the dip in January is not visible in the investor slides. As much as we know about how the investor world works, any investor would not have invested in a startup which had a decline in order volumes at such a young stage. That aside, lying about order volumes to potential investors highlights our true culture — in which the management will do anything and everything to move ahead in life.
We also understand that raising money is important for growing Swiggy. If there wasn’t enough money our order volumes would start declining. There has to be a constant inflow of marketing money into the business for the order volumes to even stay flat. But that does not mean that we will all sell our souls and resort to dishonest means to raise money?
The unit economics are bad. The unit economics presented to investors and the team do not contain all the costs that should (according to us) be a part of the story. At the ground, we know how much money we are losing. But all of us are kept in the dark.
We lie to our employees
A lot of us were made false promises about equity and bonuses that were never paid. They just need bots who are available 24/7 and if you are not, you will be put on a PIP in some pretext or the other and be out of the door before you know it.
At any given point in time, 10–15% people are always on PIPs and showed the door. There’s so much churn, and so much dissatisfaction. The job market is bad, and the management is making the most of it. All the hiring in the last year is done just to cover up the numbers for the press.
The HR team here is the worst. I have friends who have quit or were fired and after repeated follow-ups, were not paid their final settlements or bonuses. They also keep changing the policies subtly to avoid paying variable salaries to the employees.
The company and its people policies are a shit show.
Our senior management’s ego is out of control
The senior management is always plotting against each other. We are always on the run, but none of our questions are ever answered. We have lost a lot of good people because of this. Everyone is leaving the company. All the good engineers, head of engineering, VP product, head of recruitment, many good managers and team leads have already left. I have also heard that our VP, Gunjan has been recently fired quite unceremoniously. I probably know why he is getting fired — maybe because he disagrees with the management on a lot of things.
The middle management on the other end is running around, taking commands and trying to protect and grow themselves within the company. They are weak and not empowered and no one cares for their opinion. The support functions are a joke. All of us employees are nothing but dispensable resources.
Feedback is never welcome here. Office politics is the only way to grow. It’s a pity that with all the money in the bank the company culture is in a major flux.
I have friends who were in the tech team and have heard stories of the CTO calling the team in the middle of the night and yelling at them because some feature has not gone into production. He enjoys playing petty politics and is always creating problems for others. His favorites can do what they want, come when they want to, go when they want to, but the hard working types are mistreated, ignored and eventually fired. The favorites are usually the drug toting types who are more cool than smart.
Not just the CTO, the overall management team is full of megalomaniacs — just praise them and satisfy their egos and you can stay in their good books, ask a logical question and await their wrath unfold upon you.
We treat our delivery fleet personnel like cattle
I think even cattle doesn’t deserve this treatment. We keep changing our delivery boy incentive structures every now and then. A lot of these delivery boys moved to the city with the promise of a job, and now their monthly payouts are dwindling. There are no background checks. They have no health insurance. They have a dangerous job, and nobody takes accountability for them. There are unions brewing inside Swiggy’s delivery fleet and there’s a lot of trouble coming — all for genuine reasons. If someone meets an accident, Swiggy doesn’t take any liability for it. Why? Because they are freelancers.
Today I read somewhere that Swiggy was awarded for job creation of delivery boys and realized what a farce we have built. On one hand we talk about creating thousands of jobs for delivery boys. On the other hand, a lot of the delivery guys we currently have in the system are not paid on time and treated with absolute disrespect. It’s one thing to hear about large MNCs lie to twist media perception, but one joins a start up for the transparency and pride in honest and hard work. Not to cheat and build something at any cost whatsoever.
We lie to the media
All the posts you see about food trends found on Swiggy are fake. There was no study conducted on how many people order chocolate based desserts on Swiggy. Don’t believe us, ask them for data to support these claims. Well that’s the least of our lies to the press.
Just a few days ago our access to the order volume tracking dashboards was revoked for everyone, and the next thing is that we read an article that says we have crossed 4 million orders a month on the front page of ET.
When we had the access to the dashboards a few days ago, the order volumes were less than 3 million orders a month then how can that change suddenly? That kind of order volume growth is just not possible. We have heard that the order volumes are inflated by recording fake orders in our internal IT systems. We are already the leaders in the market, and we have so much money! The management just lied about these numbers and took away our win. And we had worked very hard for our win. This is absolute disrespect to all the employees who have worked hard to get close to 3 mn orders a month — lying and saying that we are at 4 million is saying that everybody is a choot to have been able to get to 4 mn.
One can see in the screenshot below (copy pasting it again for reference) that the actual orders volume in June was 2.76 mn!
Do we really deserve the startup of the year award? I think not.
We all came here to be a part of something big, something honest, something of value. But after seeing things only go from bad to worse, we have come to realize that this company is full of lies and deception and we can no longer take it. If you ask me this is just a House of Cards and when the winds change their direction and the tide turns, things will come crashing down for everyone involved. Perhaps Netflix should make their next original series on Swiggy, maybe then you will also see the true face of the Indian Start-up of the year.
Anyway, why do you think all of this happens at Swiggy?
I think because Swiggy is built to sell. The management team, under influence, has often told our colleagues in various late-night parties that they don’t want to do this forever, and they are building this to make a quick buck. A lot of the senior management knows this and is aligned to this mission. Leading to mistreatment of employees, partners (restaurant owners), and delivery personnel.
Statement from Swiggy
The recent blog post from an anonymous source is targeted at maligning the reputation of Swiggy as an organization. The article carries inaccurate facts regarding business and order numbers. It not only references employee departures from a year and a half back, but also presents details on our partners out of context and with mischievous intent. Swiggy has grown over the last few years on the back of strong support from our restaurant partners, employees, delivery executives, consumers and investors. Our restaurant partners are at the heart of our success – our joint vision of providing a complete food ordering and delivery solution from the best neighbourhood restaurants inspire us. Our employees are the keepers of our soul – as a start-up organization, we take pride in the culture of mutual respect and common purpose that has helped us grow thus far. We are committed to winning together with all our stakeholders who we have always engaged with, in complete transparency and integrity.