Food delivery company Swiggy said on Monday that it will lay off 1,100 employees over the next few days, nearly 14 per cent of its workforce, as the coronavirus pandemic hit its core and cloud kitchen businesses. “Today is one of the saddest days for Swiggy as we have to go through an unfortunate downsizing exercise,” Swiggy co-founder and CEO Sriharsha Majety wrote in an email to the company’s employees on May 18, according to the company’s blog. He also said the company had already begun shutting down its kitchen facilities temporarily or permanently since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We unfortunately have to part ways with 1,100 of our employees spanning across grades and functions in the cities and head office over the next few days,” he said. The move by Swiggy came days after restaurant aggregator Zomato said it will lay off around 13 per cent of its workforce.
The CEO said the company’s HR team will contact the impacted employees over the next few days. Swiggy is “fully committed to providing the best financial, emotional and career-related support” to the impacted staff, he added.
Swiggy will give at least three months of salary to all impacted employees. In addition to this, it will also give one month of salary for each year of employment with the company. This will be over and above the notice-period pay.
Meanwhile, the food delivery company extended its ESOP or employee stock ownership policy to the nearest quarter, which will include the months of notice period. It also removed the existing one-year requirement for staff less than one-year-old to make them eligible for the scheme.
Swiggy also extended the existing medical insurance cover for the families of the impacted workforce till December 31, 2020
Bengaluru-headquartered Swiggy’s core food delivery business has been severely impacted by the outbreak, and is expected to stay impacted over the short term. “While Covid (COVID-19) might have long-term tailwinds for the delivery business and digital commerce when things settle eventually, nobody knows how long the uncertainty will last,” Swiggy CEO said in the communication to staff.
The company will either scale down or shut down adjacent businesses that are expected to be highly volatile or will not be relevant for the next 18 months, the CEO said. He said the biggest impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is on Swiggy’s cloud kitchens business.
Swiggy will have to cut expenses to be able to achieve profitability with a smaller order volume than planned earlier, Mr Majety said. The company needs to reduce costs in order to “withstand any further risks” from the COVID-19 uncertainty, he said.
The layoffs at Swiggy come as the country entered the fourth phase of a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has pushed the economy into a standstill and forced many businesses to trim operations.