Hi, I’m Sanchay , partner at a restaurant in Hyderabad. While many of you know when the pandemic struck , the restaurants were completely dependent on online delivery platforms. There are a few advantages and a few disadvantages of the same and that’s everywhere.
This story starts from March 2021 , we had to shut down our locations in 2020 march due to the pandemic and lockdowns in 2021 when we opened ,they had a new rule where the restaurants don’t have account managers , that is you’d have no swiggy representative to reach out for any queries , issues etc. Any query we had to mail their team and it took 24 hours for each response. Simple issues took days. We had 5 outlets ready but no assigned manager.
We mailed swiggy in march 2021 for starting old outlets and new onboardings with all the documents but we had no success. Even after repeated mails and calls the onboarding didn’t happen.
Then we received a call from a swiggy employee Sameer who was a part of the PAM service. We had a couple of calls and we were assigned a manager (Nikhil) , so basically PAM service is that you’ll have an account manager only if you pay for it. With no other way to resolve our issue of new restaurant onboarding we had to take up the service for 2 outlets, they said the new onboarding would be done in 2 weeks max. It took 3 months with the PAM for the onboarding.
On the call earlier we were told that the PAM would be helping us get more orders. He was supposed to help our outlets grow and he was the *ONLY* swiggy point of contact. Any issue we had to reach him out, he was the only person to look after our swiggy account.
We had 0 orders in 3 months, maybe one or 2 orders max in 3 ‘MONTHS’. Our payout (weekly generated money from orders) was in negative. That means we had to pay swiggy for the PAM service, the main purpose of increasing sales wasn’t even happening. We had a negative revenue, it was an absolute waste of resources.
We still went on with hope because we were told it was new and would require time for visibility. We recieved an email stating the PAM service is being renewed to which we replied not to renew. It still went on. We didnt know for a week that it was still on when nikhil reached out for a regular check up call.
We were still okay with it as we wanted to give it time, some more time and continued paying for the service with a hope to grow . It didn’t. We were in a extremely bad state by then, because we hardly had any orders and our expenses were the same, we had rents and salaries to pay.
We took a decision to invest in marketing ( ads , promotions etc). Generally swiggy assigns a manager for every new outlet. We again were hardly approached to improve sales. We were asked to put up discounts and we did. It didn’t work. So an account manager Varun was responsible for a new outlet(not under PAM). He asked us to do a promotion called CPC , its cost per click. This makes your restaurant show up as an ad, when someone visits your page ypu get charged about 8 rupees irrespective of the order being placed or not. The CPC assured the number of clicks and estimate number of orders, so we went ahead. Half way in the number of orders were 0, clicks were being shown, spent about 7000 for 0 orders. We raised complaints over twitter that these weren’t working and how is it possible to get 0 orders. They responded saying the team will get back to us. We tweeted several times and one day our PAM manager (Nikhil) called saying please stop raising complaints, the finance team will be approving a refund for the same.
We said okay because he was our personal manager and we had to trust him. Next for the outlets under Nikhil (our PAM) we requested to get banner promotions and add restaurant to featured lists etc. He said CPC wont work unless you have a rating or something. As he was responsible for our sales growth and other issues we asked him to give us the best option.
After finalizing on the promotion type he asked us to transfer money to his account to which we asked him that the previous promotions were deducted from our swiggy payouts to which he said this has to be done from the managers end as they get a code as he’s assigned for the job. We had to transfer for the promotions to start. As soon as we transfered the amount the promotions begin. It was all good until then.
The promotions were running, we had a few orders and with all this we went for addition promotions. After a few days we happened to notice our negative payout is still negative, when checked we were being charged for promotions. This was in october, we asked Nikhil that we were being charged from our payout as well. He said there was technical glitch and he’s working with the finance team for the refund of these promotions and previous CPC. This went on for a month and we started doubting.
One day we got a call from Divya who mentioned she was our PAM, when asked about nikhil she had not much of an idea and told he might have left the company. But nikhil was still in touch with us a Swiggy manager. We raised a twitter complaint. It was of no use, Everytime the reply was they were working on it.
We had absolutely no idea that if Nikhil was working with swiggy or not. We didnt have any information as he was the only point of contact, he was still in touch as a swiggy employee so we assumed him to be working .
I was in Bangalore in November , he agreed to meet and close the issue. At the date and time of the meeting he didnt pick up the call, he picked up after sometime where he mentioned hes stuck because of work and would be late. He told us he’ll call us once hes there but he never did. I left to Hyderabad the next day.
With the doubt we repeatedly raised tweets to which an employee called Rohit got in touch from swiggy. We explained him about the situation. Sent him the call recordings which we started to have proofs. We repeatedly asked him to check if nikhil was still working to which he always replied he can’t tell if he’s still working or not. On the other hand Nikhil was still in touch as a swiggy employee and our manager. Rohit said he’s sent the recordings to their team but they won’t be able to process a refund as there was no proof where he accepts that he’s taken money for promotions.
We forwarded every single call we had. We had to make him accept he took money for promotions, with great difficulty we could record and forward the same. After this Rohit came back saying it wasn’t in written. It was highly impossible to have that in written or text. Every single time we had to reach nikhil we had to use a number from different state, because he was avoiding calls from our numbers. We had to call from a difefrent number , add him as a conference call and record. Even then he claimed to be working for swiggy and there is a issue with the finance team. This was in January. We forwarded the same to rohit. With no response we had to mail saying we’ll have to take it to a higher level for a resolution.
We got a call from Chaitanya , who’d be taking the matter forward now. On the first call we got to know Nikhil left the company in September. We had absolutely no clue about this, we had no email that nikhil is no more our manager. Even the employees looking into this matter couldn’t confirm if Nikhil was working for swiggy or not. It took 4 months till now and still the person pretends to be working as a swiggy employee. I have recordings where he mentions working with swiggy and forwarded the same. Its been 4 months now , an ex employee using swiggys name using the power of a manager, taking money and potraying himself as a manger scamming restaurants who are in dire trouble already and swiggy is still okay with it. We wouldn’t have transferred money if he wasn’t our Personal Account Manager as he was the only point of contact for our restaurants and was reponsible for brand growth and its a paid service ( we pay monthly for the manager).
After a few days and multiple failed attempts to contact him, he responded he’s down with covid (fake) and can’t talk. He messaged saying i’d be getting the money back which was sent to him on a Monday (31st january) which we havent, sent the screenshots to swiggy team but they have no response.
The person still pretends to work for swiggy , (call recorded in January where he claims to be working for swiggy). Now its upto you to think the number of restaurants that have been scammed. Its not just our restaurant that he managed.
We are stubborn and want a resolution, do you think any other restaurant owner with no much tech knowledge would be able to proove this, most of the restaurant owners just let go because they’ve got to concentrate on the business and letting this go as a one bad loss.
Its costed us hours, days and months to follow up every week, mentally draining us with sleepless nights because the amount is big and we already are struggling for orders. We are just one restaurant, assume how many others have had the issue and just let go because they have no help or no contact from swiggy.
Moving onto February 7th we’ve raised another email to PAM. Swiggy support and Chaitanya. I got a reply saying the matter has been taken up oon extreme priority and will be resolved. Days passed, raised emails on 9th , 15th and 19th but no response from Chaitanya (who’s looking after the issue). We had CC for swiggy partner support, PAM support and Chaitanya. The swiggy partner support asked for the PAM mangers email to which we’ve replied and post that the we had no response even after 48 hours. Not just the email , we sent messages to swiggy on instagram , we again shared the details to which they responded dont worry, we’ve taken this on priority, we’ve followed up for a week but still had no luck. ‘SWIGGY DOESN’T CARE’ , do you think any small restaurant owner would keep following for this long leaving behind all his business? We had a team that was handling the kitchen so I had the time to follow up here.
On the side we somehow managed to reach Nikhil through a new number every single time. We had to call him from our friends, karnataka number , friends moms number etc because he wouldn’t pick up calls from our numbers. We’ve recorded all the calls. The most important call was on the 10th.
He finally broke down and apologized for what has been done. He shared that he has been cheated by swiggy, they’ve stopped his salaries due to which he had done this. (salary from september, this was in september even before we raised an issue about the fraud, not sure what issue does he and swiggy have in between). (If someone from swiggy is reading this we can share the call recordings)
He clearly mentions that his salaries have been stopped, he useed to recommend swiggy to everyone but once he faced these issues from his own company he did’nt know what to do. He also said swiggy is running because of the brand name but in reality its in a very bad position financially. He told us he is now working for an MNC and has asked for time till March 1st and asked us to take the complaint back. He also added he has a lot of issues going on and because he did’nt get the pending salary and was looking after his family with just about 400 rupees in his account. I told him i can’t believe him anymore and we need some of his proofs so that atleast we have his information. On the other hand we were following up with Chaitanya and swiggy because we did’nt know what was actually the truth. Also if this was the true scene with the employees at swiggy then its definitely in a bad state and i wish that’s not the case.
I’ve raised another email to follow up from swiggy’s end , Chaitanya on 21st Feb responded its in the last stage and will be closed shortly. Its been 20 days now and we still have 0 updates, On the other hand Nikhil says he has a KYC issue from his bank and neither did he transfer the money back. He sent the following screenshot and we are waiting for the swiggy update.
The reason why we still have a soft corner for nikhil is because he’s still in touch. If his main motto was to scam and move on he’d have switched his number off and fled. If everything that Nikhil said about swiggy was true, I hope swiggy looks after its employees with utmost respect and treats them as a family.
Another issue is PAM charges, we’ve signed on the agreement that says the charge is 1000 per month for an outlet and 600 for the additional outlets. Our payouts showed different numbers for which we asked for clarifications, tens of mails and everytime someone calls and says we are forwarding it to the relevant team but no one gets back.
We’ve lost a few thousands for PAM from october to January only to have someone from swigyy so that our scam issue gets resolved. We had to get 7000 that was spent on CPC which was promised by the PAM manager then because it was all false metrics, we had received 0 orders after spending 7000. The manager said the finance team is issuing the refund.
I personally had gone through sleepless nights, business was nil , to add up this fraud / scam , swiggy taking no action, mental stress and what not.
The 15500 we sent for promotions to the PAM manager.
I’d like to summarise based on our personal experience. The PAM service is a waste, an absolute waste. Don’t waste your hard earned money, they promise sales and visibility but don’t show you the metrics. They just say these number of clicks but you don’t really know. We had 0 orders after spending thousands for CPC. If you have orders coming in everyday, they can show the number of orders under the CPC promotion too, you can’t even know if they are your regular orders or orders generated from CPC.
The managers appointed are not trust worthy, we had to transfer money because only until we sent the money to the manager our ads didn’t start.
Losing money , promotions on the online platform not working just give you sleepless nights and its not worth it. Better to implement some other modes of promotion.
To all the small and mid scale restaurant owners , who have faced any similar kind of online frauds, you may reach me on instagram (trio_la_patisserie) or (hyderabadfoodexplorer) and i shall add them here and lets make sure we get a resolution.
Its a sincere request to all the food bloggers , influencers and food reviewers to spread the word and alert all the restaurant owners. Each one of you have the power to help restaurants, a lot of them are just about reviving from the covid affect and they need your support. Do share this on your stories so that no other restaurant owner falls for the trap and get scammed and finally know that
‘SWIGGY DOESN’T CARE.’
I usually don’t share such things unless its way too worse, but this is also to alert the fellow restaurant owners. I shall keep updating the blog with the further updates.