Smaller food aggregators rejig plans after eateries say no to Zomato Gold

Topics Zomato | restaurants | NRAI

File photo of a Zomato delivery executive
The feud between Zomato and restaurants is unlikely to end anytime soon. While players such as Dineout, Eazydiner, Magicpin and Nearbuy have all rejigged their plans to do away with deep discounting, restaurants say they will still not endorse Zomato Gold until the food service aggregator discontinues its deep discounting tactics.

National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said on Friday that Zomato technology has to be seen as an enabler of privileges, not a privilege itself. “The strength of technology and its adoption is paramount to avoid detrimental circumstances like we have witnessed where discovery platforms have pivoted into discounting ones,” said Rahul Singh, president, NRAI. Singh is also the founder and CEO of The Beer Café.

Dineout, Eazydiner, Magicpin and Nearbuy have over the past few days post discussions with restaurants have rejigged features on their platforms to prevent deep discounting. According to many restaurants, Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal attacked the same high-end premium restaurants who were sold Gold with a promise of exclusivity. 

“Zomato has decided to cut all ties through a statement of their assertion of logging out of the #logout campaign. From our end, that simply implies #ZoGoisNoGo,” Singh said. Most of these aggregators have said that they do not endorse the concept of deep discounting. 

“We're happy to have come to a positive consensus with the NRAI and support our restaurant partners. Dineout has never been a platform encouraging deep discounting. We have offered to extend our Loyalty Management module of our B2B platform — inResto at zero cost to our restaurant partners in order to further our mission of making every restaurant in the country to be tech-enabled,” Ankit Mehrotra, chief executive and co-founder of Dineout, said.

Singling out Singh, Goyal tweeted on Thursday that the food aggregator will no longer engage with restaurants on the ongoing #logout campaign. The tweets led to Singh and Goyal exchanging barbs with each other. 

"Zomato is logging out of the logout campaign. We have said enough and we are getting back to work. I am confident better business sense will prevail at the end," Goyal tweeted, after posting pictures of Beer Cafe offering a membership programme called Gold, which allows customers to claim 1+1 on food or drinks in different packages. 

NRAI has led the charge against Zomato's deep discounting membership based scheme Zomato Gold. Restaurant bodies have claimed that offering discounting schemes that allow users to claim free drinks and food for an annual fee has led to an influx of bargain hunters to their outlets and also hit their bottomlines.

The ongoing tussle between Zomato and restaurants came to a head on Wednesday when Zomato shared a Gold modification plan that addressed some of these issues. However, NRAI rejected the proposal saying the move from exclusive membership to being available to everyone has made Gold lose its sheen forever.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel