Singapore-based food delivery service Grab is letting go of about 5 percent of its workforce and “winding down” several projects and functions, according to AgFunder News.
The layoffs are part of Grab’s ongoing struggles with COVID-19’s impact on the global economy. Grab had previously asked its workers to accept decreased hours or take unpaid leave of absence in an effort to avoid having to reduce its workforce. The company also implemented pay cuts for senior management.
But in a letter to staff that was cited by AFN, Grab cofounder and CEL Anthony Tan noted that after trying everything possible to avoid staff reductions, the company now has to accept this reality. “In spite of all this, we recognize that we still have to become leaner as an organization in order to tackle the challenges of the post-pandemic economy,” he said.
Affected employees will receive “enhanced severance payments, expedited equity vesting, extended medical insurance coverage, and access to career advice and mental health support.”
Softbank-backed Grab bills itself as “your everyday everything app.” The company offers on-demand food delivery as well as ride hailing services in about 300 cities across Southeast Asia.
And it’s hardly the first food delivery service to announce layoffs in the last few months. In India, the two major players in third-party delivery, Swiggy and Zomato, both announced layoffs in May. U.K.-based Deliveroo cut 15 percent of its workforce in April, citing coronavirus’s impact as the reason, and Uber recently laid off employees, including those working for the company’s Eats division.
At the same time, consolidation has come for the food delivery world, most notably in Just Eat Takeaway’s plans to acquire Grubhub. In 2019, Delivery Hero bought South Korean Woowa Bros.’ food delivery service, and Brazil-based iFood merged with Colombian service Domicillios.com.
Layoffs don’t necessarily signal that a company is about to get gobbled up by an acquisition, but the pandemic has certainly caused many on-demand businesses around the world to struggle, cut costs, and become leaner all around. Competition has long been fierce in food delivery, especially in Southeast Asia, where Grab competes with rival Gojek for dominance. Grab’s announced layoffs this week are hardly the last we’ll see in the coming months as the market for on-demand food delivery becomes even more cutthroat.