Faces Behind the Masks: elGrocer highlights drivers and pickers


Care-driven staff at elGrocer and partners go the extra mile, no matter the season

From Left to right: Janet Escanela, Qaiser Malik, and Ahsan Tariq

With most people preferring to shop for their groceries online, a team of dedicated and compassionate individuals from fast-growing online grocery app, elGrocer, has risen to the challenge, ensuring a continuous flow of good quality products from the groceries to their homes with a human touch.

Under a new initiative at elGrocer, Faces behind the Mask, the company wants to highlight and raise the profile of its key teams behind the success of its platform. In the midst of all the technological advances and virtual lives, where almost everything has been reduced to numbers on the mobile phone or iPad, the care-driven pickers and drivers at elGrocer go the extra mile in taking care of its customers’ needs.

“We have 40 pickers and 50 drivers on our elGrocer team,” company CEO Raed Hafez shared. “These men and women have courageously faced the threat of the virus just like other frontliners to make sure that our customers get their food and other vital needs during this time of crisis. We ensure that we take good care of these workers. A happy worker will ensure that our customers are taken care of too.”

Hafez added that as one of the fast-growing grocery delivery apps in the UAE, safety is a priority for all of its staff with regular training to ensure they are well protected while carrying out their duties.

This month, elGrocer picked four individuals to highlight their contribution to keeping their customers happy.

Qaiser Feroze Malik: The happy driver

Qaiser Feroze Malik, a Pakistani driver for ElGrocer, said he follows the company policy to always wear gloves and masks when out in the streets delivering orders for customers.

“I am very happy to work at ElGrocer because our store staff and our management are good to us. They treat us like family and everyone here is friendly,” said Malik who has been with the company for more than nine months now.

Assigned to Union Coop in Al Wasl, Malik is constantly on the road delivering orders for customers. He finds his job exciting, saying, “While times are tough, we have organised ourselves to ensure that everything is running smoothly.”

And when he’s not busy at work, Malik loves spending time with his family and friends.

Ramir Demsey M. Sarmiento: The melodious picker

Dispatcher and picker Ramir Demsey M. Sarmiento takes his job seriously and is highly motivated to meet beyond expectations their customers’ approval. Just like Malik, Sarmiento also underwent training on how to safely handle food and other merchandise ordered through elGrocer’s, as well as how to protect themselves.

To make his job easier, Sarmiento said he took it upon himself to memorize the different product names and their exact location at Union Coop’s Al Wasl Branch. Now more than a year into his job, Sarmiento said he finds speaking to Arabic customers the most difficult part of his work but thankfully his Arab colleagues are very helpful.

When he’s off-duty, the Philippine-born, fun-loving Sarmiento said he loves listening to music to recharge and be inspired again.

“I enjoy it a lot. My favourite songs right now are “Someone You Loved” and “Before You Go” by Lewis Capaldi,” he shared.

Ahsan Tariq: The busy picker

Another picker, Ahsan Tariq, who has been with elGrocer for two and a half years, said the pandemic has significantly increased grocery orders online, keeping them always busy, sometimes working up to 16 hours a day. With the pledge to deliver orders within an hour, Tariq says pickers like him must always have the presence of mind and should be time conscious. And more importantly, one must learn how to remain calm despite the pressure.

“Keeping a good attitude and good grooming while at work, being responsible and honest has its rewards. We must be responsible and truthful at all times,” said Tariq who supervises five stores in Sharjah.

He’s motivated to satisfy customers, get the orders on time, get fewer complaints and make repeat-customers for elGrocer.

This Pakistani lad who is bent on nurturing a career in the retail industry shared that he enjoys going to the gym and taking photos around UAE during his spare time.

Janet Escaniela: The energized store supervisor

Janet Escaniela is responsible for five elGrocer stores in Dubai and 10 staff who run them. Now in her second year with the company, Escaniela described the pandemic as a tough time but one that gives them the opportunity to learn new skills and become more flexible.

“Through the training,” said Escaniela who is originally from the Philippines, “I learned new skills on how to help my team overcome the difficult situation we are in now, and still grow.”

“This training has given me new energy and skills that can be applied in many difficult situations,” added Escaniela who said making her team stay motivated and focused is her top priority as orders come in unusual volumes.

When she’s off-duty, Escaniela says she sings to release her stress and start anew, “I really love singing, especially songs from Air Supply.”

Convenient online shopping 

The pandemic has turned more consumers to online grocery shopping to avoid unnecessary exposure to the threat of COVID-19 virus. Social distancing and wearing masks in public places remain mandatory with cases now rising to more than 41 million worldwide and some countries fearing the worst as the second wave hits with still no approved vaccine against the virus.

In a recent survey, elGrocer found out that more consumers would rather shop online than go directly to supermarkets or stores for fear of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

elGrocer, which has ties to dozens of major supermarkets and stores across the UAE, vowed to make consumers’ shopping experience easier with lots of value-added services, including offering them promotional items.

“At elGrocer, we not only work to ensure shopping convenience, but we also take time to understand consumers’ needs, especially during these critical times. Our product selections have now increased from 40,000 to nearly 80,000, giving them more choices. Our partner stores also continuously offer promotional items to provide much-needed savings for customers,” noted elGrocer CEO Hafez.

About El Grocer:

Launched in 2015, el Grocer is a multi-award winning and industry recognized grocery delivery startup offering same day delivery within 2 hours and has more than 80,000 items from a network of more than +150 stores. The service personnel are trained to be your personal shoppers when dealing with the store and ensuring the highest quality products are picked. It has bagged recognition as the biggest crowdfunded company in the Middle East, in addition to being a Publicis90 gold global winner (2016) and Forbes ME Top 100 Startups for 2 years running.