For a while now, food delivery startup Foodpanda’s Viman Nagar office in Pune has felt more like a fortress than your run-of-the-mill workplace. At its entrance, a group of bouncers stand guard. Their task is simple: keep the company’s delivery executives—yes, its own employees—from entering the building. The measure was taken after protesting delivery personnel stormed Foodpanda’s Mumbai and Pune offices, roughing up the employees who worked there.
The protests were the result of an increasingly familiar phenomenon in the gig-economy—a surplus of ambition and a shortfall of follow through.