Swiggy Cheats-Beware of Swiggy’s menu with upto 167% inflated prices

Looks like food delivery app Swiggy is desperate to increase their earning and resorting to an unethical practice of hiking food prices on their website/app without disclosure, compared to the price charged by the restaurant. Note that Swiggy anyway charges additional delivery charges- so there is no need to resort to unethical practices, but I guess desperate times call for desperate measures.
I am not a regular Swiggy user. in fact I didn't even have an account there. Recently I booked a ticket on Indigo and they sent me some swiggy coupons. I was reading around to check if this coupon will really be worth. This practice of Swiggy listing increased prices on its website came to my attention in one of the quora answers. Since this is an unethical practice and can affect thousands of users, I decided to do some investigation on my own and share my findings. For most of the restaurants I have checked, the suspicion is found to be valid. Swiggy’s menu is listed for a price tag 10-50% or more expensive than what the restaurant actually charges, besides additional delivery charges and GST. This will make your food bill much more expensive than what you thought it is costing you. Might be cheaper to call the restaurant directly or hop on  a bike n go there yourself.

Case 1: Kalpana Andhra Mess, Sholinganallur, Chennai
Kalpana Andhra mess is a budget food provider in Sholinganallur area, often visited by employees of IT companies nearby for unlimited meals. Their Veg meals cost Rs 80, tax included and you can eat as much as you can (unlimited serving of rice and sambar/rasam etc). But on Swiggy, the meals is listed at Rs 100(25% markup). They charge a 5 rupee parcel charge though. Egg Burji is listed at 50% markup. To be fair some select items like Chicken biriyani is found to be listed without a markup- but this is because restaurant seem to have increased price for these items recently (I could see that previous price of Rs 150 corrected to Rs 160, 170 edited to 180 and so on- Swiggy may increase their price soon.
#
Item
Restaurant Price
Swiggy Price
Swiggy Markup
1
Egg Burji
20
30
50%
2
Meals
80
100
25%
3
Boneless Chicken Curry
110
120
10%
4
Omlette
15
25
67%
5
Chapatti/Parota
50
60
20%
Check the actual prices of Kalpana Andhra Mess. For cheaper items, mark up is lot higher, as Swiggy thinks people won't bother checking much.
Above: Display Menu at the restaurant
Below: Listing on Swiggy

Kalpana Andhra Mess doesn't have a Non-Veg meals as such, but one is listed on Swiggy- my guess is it is some special arrangement between Swiggy n restaurant, to include small portions of non veg items with veg meals and sell it for Rs 200.

But for another Andhra mess in the area- Lakshmi Sai, the meals price on Swiggy is same as what restaurant charges to walk-in customers- Rs 80 (Of course, delivery charges extra). May be if restaurant agrees for a much higher commission Swiggy will not inflate the price on its site, but if restaurant refuses to give higher commission then Swiggy tries to recover some extra money from customers by inflating the price.

Case 2: Gourmad’s delight, Perumbakkam
Visited this restaurant for the first time- tried one item- Litchi Coconut milkshake. This item is listed t Rs 79 on Restaurant's menu and after tax the bill I paid was Rs 83 (Refer image). But this item was listed at Rs 100, which was struck out and then new price shown at Rs 90, to indicate you're getting it for Rs 10 less. In reality, this will be costing you some Rs 13 more (Rs 12 difference + GST), that is easily 15% extra charge over restaurant's menu price. I checked few other items also- Swiggy's price was expensive.
#
Item
Restaurant Price
Swiggy Price
Swiggy Markup
1
Litchi Coconut Milkshake
79
90 (100)
14%
2
Panneer Butter Masala
155
166 (185)
7%
3
Veg Biriyani
150
157 (175)
5%
4




5






Some screenshots and restaurant's menu and bill for your reference below 


Some more screenshots from Swiggy and restaurant's actual menu for your reference. You can compare yourself and decide
Apparently GD is also listed on FoodPanda. Out of curiosity, I checked Foodpanda's website also uses an inflated price- same lychi coconut is listed at Rs 85 there and a hidden service fee kicks in, so in total I need to pay around 105 Rs, compared to 83 I paid at the restaurant- cool 26% extra
I checked one more restaurant- J R Jana in Sembakkam- In this case though the price was as per the hotel menu. Swiggy is clever not to try this on reputed brands like Dominos. When I checked Domino’s Pizza price, it was same on both Domino’s website and Swiggy. So my guess is Swiggy knows people can compare if the restaurant has an online presence. So the hike prices only for lesser known restaurants without an online identity.

I don’t know Swiggy team edits menu prices at its discretion or each restaurant owner gets to control his/her menu prices- if it is later it could be possible that restaurant owners themselves are listing a higher price, to make up for huge commission Swiggy would be charging (Exact commission percentage info is not in public domain, believed to around 20-40% depending on the restaurant (its popularity, volume etc). All this could have been accepted if there is some disclosure somewhere. But without such a disclosure, a customer will feel cheated when he pays a higher price menu online and sees that same item is available say 50% cheaper when he walks into the restaurant. This  disclosure/information is particularly important when customers order on swiggy thinking "I am only paying Rs 40 delivery charge extra- instead of me getting ready, going to the restaurant, let me do some work at home- 40 Rs is probably worth. If you knew that you're actually spending say Rs 150 more than what you would have paid at the restaurant, your decision would have been different- may be you would have gone to restaurant directly. Unfortunately at this moment there's no way of automatically knowing if you're paying Rs 40 extra or Rs 150 or Rs 500, thus making this online order from Swiggy a risky proposition. A proper disclosure would have helped, but Swiggy thinks that will harm the business, so they won't reveal how much the menu price is hiked.

What this means to you?

If you’re a regular user on Swiggy, do physically visit your favorite restaurants once a while- check the menu prices and compare it on Swiggy app. (If you can't go to restaurant in person, check on Zomato- they have photos of original restaurant menus) If there’s a markup, decide if it is worth or if you’ve a cheaper alternative- calling restaurant directly or some other app like Food panda/tiny owl or may be old school style simply driving to the restaurant. May be talk to the restaurant owner if he can give you a better deal if you call them directly.

Do share your findings in comments below- how do you feel about this cheap trick adopted by Swiggy? Is this increased pricing true for restaurants around you? Would you still order on Swiggy if the menu price is inflated.

Another thing I noted is that Swiggy lists only those restaurants with which it has tie up. Other competitors like Zomato list all restaurants in the area for the benefit of its users, even if Zomato can't take order for that restaurant.

The Rs 150 swiggy discount coupon I got from Indigo website is apparently applicable only on orders worth Rs 350 or above. Essentially they are giving some 33% discount. When they're manipulating menus to show 30-50% higher price, giving some light discount is no big deal. So I will not be using those codes. If any of you need it, let me know.

Update: When I checked with my facebook friends, many said they are aware of this practice, but too lazy to go to restaurants themselves, hence are putting up with this extra pricing. Few said they've stopped using Swiggy or use it only in extreme cases.  So I am guessing most customers don't mind paying a small amount extra, but if they get an alternate option or when they realize they're loosing lots of money, they may stop or switch to competition. Time for Swiggy to think seriously and decide if it wants to continue with this tactic or do something else. The official response on twitter was "Restaurants  may have different menu for dine-in and takeaway"
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18 comments:

  1. Well, I am a quite a Swiggy User. I know that I have to pay extra at Swiggyfthan going to the restaurant itself. My thought about it was that by ordering at Swiggy is saving me time of going to the restaurant (also getting dressed in the process - ah! I hate that part!) and also the cost of travel!! All these thoughts in my head, and the Swiggy App comes out.
    On a serious note, I think I have to now see how much extra I am paying to Swiggy in the process and whether its really worth or not!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your detailed comment Amrita Sen.. hope you haven't been paying too much extra

      Delete
    2. Hi Amrita, I understand your point of view. But if you call the restaurant directly and place order, they will provide home delivery without any inflated rates that you pay when ordering via swiggy.
      I did this multiple times.... And even discussed with few of the restaurants management about the price differences, and All confirmed that "Yes, the price is altered/increased by Swiggy"
      Note : I showed the price from the app for their comparison

      Delete
  2. Yes. I have done this exercise already and found Swiggy charges are high. So, never used it for food orders.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have the app, never used it more than in dire need. Informative. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the info, quite detailed and descriptive.
    I ordered only from the reputed restaurants, so never thought of this. But surely will check from next time.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi, have you checked with the restaurant who hiked up the price, before coming to the conclusion that it's swiggy?
    The restaurants might have a separate parcel charges (takeaway menu) also. Pls confirm the same with the restaurant owner.
    Nicky Eapen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Nicky Eapen

      One restaurant- Kalpana andhra mess charges Rs 5 extra only for meals parcel. Doesn't have any separate take away menu. Staff at second restaurant wasn't willing to talk about Swiggy menu/takeaway. Most restaurants don't charge extra if we ask unfinished food to be packed. Takeaway menu even if there's one should ideally be cheaper than dine in menu, because restaurant saves on various overheads such as AC, space, utensils, service etc. If you have more inputs do share. Hope this helps.

      Delete
  6. Use ubereats the price is same as in the restaurant and they only charges 1 Rs. as delivery charge.

    ReplyDelete
  7. The number of ppl who bother about what they pay and how much they are very few,i can say i am one of them.

    Ppl are just not bothered -not only about swiggy but in general ,they just point out a stuff and take it ,pay whatever the shopkeeper says.This is what in part is the reason you see enormous raise in all consumables ,because ppl just are not bothered like in the 90's to know and understand and validate the value of anything.

    You should only pay for something as much as its value .

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Shrinidi found your post as I also realized today I was paying more than the restaurant menu and I felt cheated..same was not the case till a few months ago when the prices were the same and restaurants paid a 20% cut to Swiggy
    Under bottomline pressure Swiggy has cajoled the restaurants to charge higher for delivery orders and give them higher margins. They think the customer is an unaware fool
    If Swiggy wants to charge for the delivery ..they should charge a higher delivery cost but they think customers will not pay that is why they have adopted this clandestine shortcut
    Why fool customers??
    You can fool some customers some time but not all customers all the time
    Will not be using Swiggy henceforth
    Will surely check out UberEats /others

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. THanks. Yes, swiggy should be transparent in their dealings- if I can't trust a brand, I don't want to do business with them

      Delete
  9. As a restaurant owner, allow me to explain the difference in walk-in and app prices. Yes, they are different. Swiggy charges us minimum 23% on the food bill. So if i am selling a plate at 100 rupees at my restaurant, in swiggy, i get back only 77. To make up for this loss, we post a higher price in the apps like swiggy and zomato. The apps have no say on the prices, its decided by the restaurant owners. But believe me, we dont want to do this, our hands are tied. We attribute this kind of differences to the fact that getting an item delivered at home, without the hastle of driving, parking, sweating, swearing etc etc comes at a cost. But a range of 15-20% more price is understandable. If, as per the author, the restaurant is charging more than 30% in swiggy and zomato, then it means that the owner is dishonest and you should avoid such restaurants, even walk-ins. Hope you understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing the insights... I think the commission also varies from restaurant to restaurant- I read somewhere that Swiggy may try charging as high as 40% if restaurants are not popular enough.. so such owners may be forced to charge 40% more..

      Delete

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