Food Delivery

Food Delivery ventures have resulted in the contribution of a major amount of plastic waste in the past few years. While a lot of eateries are increasing the use of biodegradable packaging, a fair amount is still into heavy usage of plastic packaging. This is a study to understand the Service & Experience of a Food Delivery Service to improvise it in terms of the packaging keeping the business model in mind.

Service Design - Mobile App
of 2 - Classroom Project


To understand the existing business model of a food delivery service and come up with a sustainable solution to curb the excess food packaging wastage.

Delivery Partner - Zomato

We chose to work on Zomato as it was just a restaurant finder and then started the food delivery as it’s main POS. We wanted to study the shift of the same, the wastage it is creating and introduce a better system.

In order to understand how Zomato’s Service works, we had to look at it on a birds eye view level. The Eco-system mapping helped me understand the stake holders, their role how could we intervene the system.

Through the ecosystem mapping we found out that there are 3 main stakeholders to which the app caters to:
1. Foodies (customers)
2. Delivery agent (delivers the food to the customer)
3. Restaurant (who prepares the food)



The existing packaging has a lot of additional components that leads to more wastage. These components are provided so that the food reaches safely and that it doesn’t spill.

Aluminium foil, Plastic for the sachet
Thali Base - Polypropylene
Thali cover - Polypropylene

Brown paper
Tape - BOPP
Paper for bill

Gravy Tiffin - Polypropylene

Field Research

We visited restaurants to experience how the back-end service works. The restaurant accepts the order, marks the food ready to notify the runner (delivery agent ).

Restaurant can also track the runner, who knows the preparation time which is generally the estimated arrival time.

It was clear that restaurants get more orders through apps than phone calls. It also gives advantage to the restaurant to tie up with more food delivery apps as there is no restriction.

Eco-friendly options by Other Restaurants

  • Taco Bell announced the rollout of recyclable cold cups and lids in all of its 7,000 restaurants across the United States. The Yum Brands chain says this accounts for 95% of the drinks they sell.
  • KFC, one of the world's largest quick service restaurant chains, today announced a new global sustainability commitment that all plastic-based, consumer-facing packaging will be recoverable or reusable by 2025. The goal supports KFC's long-term plan to implement a more sustainable packaging strategy in its restaurants – by both developing and using sustainable packaging options – and builds on progress already made in some markets to eliminate plastic packaging items.
  • “Bamboo products (which also provide employment to tribal communities), corrugated paper with coatings and other products will be supplied. These are initial steps that we have taken towards a plastic-free future with an aim to drive the entire restaurant industry towards a sustainable direction,” the spokesperson said. A Zomato spokesperson said the company had launched its eco-friendly packing range in Chennai and was working closely with restaurant partners since the plastic ban announcement.

User Journey


Through the course of the research we collected many insights which provided information regarding why many restaurants have not yet adopted the Eco-friendly packaging. Some of these arguments or insights are:

  1. Reiterating that there is no other alternative to deliver daal, sambar, rasam, juices and soups etc.
  2. The government has not provided any strict rules or regulations pertaining to the ban of plastic containers used by the restaurants.
  3. Even after Swiggy and Zomato have provided Eco-friendly solutions, restaurants don’t prefer it due to the high cost.
  4. The counter argument is that the usage of Eco-friendly products like cardboard would lead to deforestation, which is more harmful than plastics.
  5. There are different types of restaurants which cater to different audiences. The restaurants which provide food at cheaper rates feels that if they introduce Eco-friendly packaging, they would have to increase their price of the food, which would lead to fewer customers ordering from them.
  6. High-end restaurants require their own branding on the packaging which they provide, this is an interference for Zomato to sell their packaging.
  7. There are different types of containers that the restaurants require, in terms of size, shape and what they serve.
  8. Paper once getting in contact with oil is not recyclable.

Probing Restaurants

Finding Solution



To create a business module for Zomato which enables sustainable delivery options keeping the budget and restaurants profit in mind.

Business Model


Service Blueprint

Implementation Plan



User Flow


This was a comprehensive exercise in understanding business and strategy as part of Service Design. Not only the consumer application, but also the delivery agent as well as Zomato’s backend were considered as touchpoints during the conceptualization phase. Most companies are now trying to adopt a sustainable approach; With the implementation of design thinking, we wanted to convince them how beneficial it can be for the future of the company and the environment. We would like to test this to get more insights and usability of approaches like this on a large scale.

© 2022 Apurva Chandwadkar. Thank you.