The layoffs in India’s food tech sector are well on their way to continuing onto 2016. After Zomato had fired 10% of its workforce, and TinyOwl had let go of 100 employees which resulted in its cofounder being held hostage in their Pune office for 2 days, Foodpanda has fired around 300 of its staff in India. This represents 15% of its workforce.
The company claims that the layoffs are a result of greater automation in its workflows, which reduces the need for manual intervention.
Foodpanda, one of the largest players in India’s troubled food tech sector, has had a rough couple of months. In September, Mint had run a detailed expose on the company, which had claimed large scale malpractices, including the listing of fake restaurants and corruption among senior management. Later that month, the company had been taken to court over irregularities over the VAT calculations in its bills. Over the last year, Foodpanda had been offering discounts as high as 30% as it aimed to win customers in India’s crowded food delivery space.
The food tech sector in India witnessed turbulence in 2015, with Dazo and Spoonjoy shutting down, and Eatlo temporarily halting its operations. Food tech was one of the hottest investment sectors in the first part of the year, with numerous companies starting operations, leading to cut-throat competition in the space.