Cooking vs. Ordering In

This article is written by our intern Nikita Seth, a student of FORE School of Management, Delhi.

Writing about this topic during a Government imposed lockdown (a 41 days lockdown in total), makes me reminiscent of the good times. The good times when Sushi was a few clicks away. The good times when I would reward myself with a Naked Chicken Taco after a long and hectic day. And all those good times when delectable dishes that were delivered to my doorstep brought a smile to my face and filled my heart with joy.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I am completely aware that a reasonable amount of restaurants are currently operating in a delivery-only mode. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I have made a personal choice to refrain from ordering food any of any restaurant or food delivery apps. While companies like Swiggy and Zomato are introducing measures like contactless delivery, I find it difficult to completely rule out the fear of getting infected by Coronavirus due to a food delivery. To illustrate an incident, any item that my family purchases from a grocery store goes through a detailed sanitisation procedure before we bring it into our kitchen. I suspect that a similar practice is being followed in may households.
In April 2020, when every morning I wake up to the news of several thousand Indians being tested positive for COVID-19, my fear of me and my family being infected due to ‘Swiggy-ing’ my food seems more rational than paranoid.
However, under normal circumstances, if I am given the choice to choose between cooking my food and ordering it in, undoubtedly I would prefer ordering it in.
Let me explain why. I spent my college days in Swiggy’s Place of Birth – Koramangala, Bangalore. In 2015, I used a Beta version of the Swiggy App. This version had zero delivery charge and I could order from any restaurant. Even the ones not mentioned on the Swiggy App. When Swiggy was in its Beta version, I recollect placing an order on Swiggy for a Single Dosa (Rs. 25) from a small shop. When the food was delivered to my doorstep, I paid exactly Rs 25.
I realised how convenient it was and within no time, it became a regular habit. By the time Swiggy started charging a delivery fee of Rs. 30, I was already hooked to the app. Meanwhile, I discovered Zomato, Fresh Menu , Tiny Owl (acquired by Roadrunnr in 2016) and several other food delivery apps.
Sharing my experience in a nutshell – I believe that food delivery apps have played a significant role in making me who I am today. In the last 6 years, I have grown from an undergraduate student, to an intern and subsequently an employee in a large Investment Banking Firm. When I worked in a nightshift for 9 months, I always had enough options on these applications to order food at 3 am in the night. When I quit my job to prepare for competitive examinations, I moved in with my parents. Suddenly, everything had changed except my constant companion – Swiggy. As a MBA student now, when I am flooded with assignments, interviews and exams, my only respite is that I don’t have to worry about making my own food.

These are some of the reasons why I am a strong advocate of ordering food instead of cooking my own food :
1. Better utilisation of my time : I always got more time to study, relax and work thanks to the wide variety of food delivery applications. Even in my free time, I would prefer to interact with friends and family or engage myself in things I enjoy instead of cooking food.
2. A wide variety of cuisines across different price points : Applications like Swiggy and Zomato act as an aggregator for restaurants, cafes and dessert parlours etc. that offer a wide assortment of cuisines. These outlets include low budget canteens to high end restaurants. Thus they cater to a wide variety of customers including the budget friendly customer (at one end of the spectrum) and even the customer who is willing to pay a hefty price for a fine dining experience at home (at the other end of the spectrum). So I can choose to have snacks from a reasonable restaurant but I can opt for a decadent and elaborate dessert if I am willing to pay for the same (and if I can afford it).
3. Good food delivered - Anytime, anywhere : Forgot your friend’s birthday? No problem. Send her favourite dish to her doorstep and keep your friendship intact.
People with full time jobs lead a hectic life. However, it makes their life so much easier when they can eat their favourite dishes on-the-go.
Scheduling my online orders was a huge advantage as I could order a hearty breakfast for myself one night before. The feeling of waking up to my favourite breakfast, hot and piping, is almost impossible to replicate.
4. Wide range of healthy food options : The wide range of salads, whole wheat food, fruit bowls and other healthy options that are available online never fail to amaze me. Thus, one can order in without feeling guilty about putting on those extra calories.
5. Highly specialized diet options : There are food delivery applications that specify how many calories each meal is. Apart from that, there are options on Fresh Menu for Keto Meals to cater the segment of customers who are on a keto diet. Similarly, there are other diet options available on Cure Fit , Daily Diet Boxes etc. These food delivery apps enable a user to maintain a diet in line with the fitness goals he or she wants to achieve.
On a concluding note, the optimist in me ardently hopes that the Coronavirus pandemic does not have a significant impact on my strong preference (or rather undying love) for online food delivery options. This may be an exaggeration but I dread the day when I would prefer cooking my own food over ordering in.
Until then, let’s hope for better times.

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