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Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Brazilian startup, iFood, announces big 2020 plans—and faces protests

Don't worry, we speak : Español (Spanish), too!

Contxto – Startups continue to cook up expansive projects to add value to food chain solutions. This is of course in order to stay relevant in the face of competition. iFood, the Brazilian food delivery startup is one of these, based on the announcement of its 2020 plans made last Friday. 

According to the startup’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Diego Barreto, iFood intends to increase operations in retail. In particular, it wants to push the number of supermarkets covered by its delivery service from 200 to 1,000 by the first half of 2020.

But that’s not the only iFood-related news we’re dishing out. This business, controlled by Brazilian Movile, also saw a spark of protests from some of its delivery staff in São Paulo.

An insatiable appetite for growth

99 Food and GPA, a major Brazilian retailer, are contenders with their own delivery apps. And perhaps they are the trigger behind iFood’s plans for growth. However, Barreto insisted that despite these rivals, iFood grew at an impressive 116 percent in processed orders when compared to 2018.

The number of cities covered by iFood also increased from 459 to 912. This is also related to the increase of registered restaurants which went from 52,000 to 131,000 within that same period.

Despite these positive numbers, the CFO stated an initial public offering (IPO) isn’t under consideration for the moment. According to Barreto, thanks to the US$500 million iFood raised from investors last year, it has sufficient capital and means to still avoid the stock market track.

… and growing delivery demands

Now who’s hungry for a little controversy?

iFood also has some protests on its plate. As the municipality of Jundiaí in São Paulo witnessed the suspension of deliveries on behalf of some of its iFood’s motorcycled staff last Saturday. 

Among their demands is an adjustment to the startup’s parameter of payment per kilometer driven. According to the protestors, they are working at a loss. In addition, they also request a rest stop in which to wait out orders through the app.

The startup responded in a very public relations (PR) fashion. First, it reiterated its understanding of the importance of demonstrations and freedom of expression. Nonetheless, under its business model, delivery companies are independent partners who choose to act at their own convenience.

The protestors are therefore being told to understand that their claims are not iFood’s problem. They decide their fate and are free to work with whomever they choose. The old “no one’s forcing you to be here” gambit.

An unsavory response for some. But it’s unlikely the matter will end there.

Rappi, faced similar scenarios earlier this year. Regardless, they eventually did wind up providing rest stops in countries like Colombia and Mexico.

Related article: Deliverers protest in front of Rappi’s headquarters

However, the iFood also deserves its props. As some may recall, in October, the Brazilian unicorn announced it would provide its workers with employee insurance while on the job. In addition to that, it would also implement a point-based delivery incentives programs for its delivery staff.

As for who has the right of it—well, that’s food for thought now isn’t it?

-ML

Mariana López
My topic darlings are startup management, edtech, and all-things pop culture. J Balvin is Latin America's best reggaetonero and I dare you to convince me otherwise.

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