Covid-19: This Diwali in UAE, e-shop for sweets
'Only a small batch of shoppers will be allowed in-store at a given time and masks and gloves are mandatory'
Diwali celebrations remain incomplete without oodles of sweets, dry fruits, and savoury snacks. This Diwali, sweet shop vendors are encouraging expatriates and citizens to purchase boxes of mithai (Indian sweets) online to minimise physical contact amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Major sweet vendors, such as Chappan Bhog and Bikanervala, have signed up with grocery aggregators and set up their own e-shopping portals to make the sale of sweets seamless during the festive season. Diwali is a very busy time for sweet shops as halwais (confectioners) produce anything between 4,000 and 7,000kg of sweets during the festive season.
Popular sweet distributor Chappan Bhog is offering customised boxes and cashback options to their online shoppers. Gaurav Verma, CEO of parent company The Royal Orchard Group of Restaurants, told Khaleej Times: “We have our own online platform https://order.chatfood.io/chhappan-bhog-sweets-gifting/pickup and we have launched tie-ups with delivery companies to deliver sweets all over the UAE, especially for people in areas like Al Ain or Ruwais.”
Besides, in-store shoppers can pick their sweets from the comfort of their cars, scan a QR code, and have their sweet boxes delivered to them while they stay in their vehicles, said Verma. He explained: “We are also limiting our sweet production to 60-70 varieties to make the process more smooth. This year, Diwali is falling on a Saturday, which is a weekend, so we are expecting a large number of shoppers.”
Chappan Bhog has also set up several satellite kitchens and many of the staff have been deployed in them to pack and deliver the sweets to those purchasing them online. “Most popular sweets during this time are definitely the motichoor laddoo and kaju katli. I expect these will have huge demand,” Verma added. Only a small batch of shoppers will be allowed in-store at a given time and masks and gloves are mandatory, he underlined.
Pankaj Agarwal, the director of Bikanervala, said: “We are pushing our customers to go online. We’ve had the service for a while. However, it got a lot more active during Covid-19 pandemic. We have partnered with major delivery partners and grocery aggregators such as El Grocer and Noon Now. We do encourage online shopping to avoid in-store rush.” Temperature checks and social distancing norms will also be followed, he pointed out.
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