Zomato plans to extend Gold loyalty scheme to online users from August 15

Zomato is planning to extend its popular dine-in discounts programme Zomato Gold for online orders as the restaurant discovery and online food ordering firm gears up to take on rival Swiggy in the fiercely contested food market.

 

According to sources, the roll-out may happen as early as August 15. With this upgrade, Zomato Gold users who are ordering food online and through the mobile app will be given a menu item of up to Rs 300 free. This can be used once in a mealtime — lunch, breakfast and dinner.

 

Zomato is in the process of signing up restaurants that already deliver through the Zomato app for this programme. The Deepinder Goyal-led company has set an initial sign-up fee of Rs 10,000 for Zomato Gold programme, which is currently offered to only those restaurants where the cost-for-two (CFT) is higher than Rs 500. A spokesperson confirmed the development.

 

"Zomato Gold has received immense love from its subscribers and restaurant community. We are continuously looking for avenues to expand this offering to more people and are currently working on a massive upgrade, which we will launch soon,” the company said. Gold, which has a subscription fee of Rs 1,500 per annum, is available for dine-ins only.

 

According to the sources, Zomato is concentrating only on Gold, after tepid success with programmes it had tried in the past. It shut Treats in November last year, and PiggyBank this month. Rival Swiggy runs a programme called Super, which offers zero-delivery charge to subscribers, and is also widely used.

 

Rolled out in January 2018, this programme has seen fairly good acceptance with proceeds from Zomato Gold subscription now accounting for around 20 per cent of the company’s overall revenues, according to the sources. As on March 31, 2019, the company had 1 million active subscribers of Zomato Gold.

 

According to experts, Zomato Gold has created a ‘hook’ for not only for ordering food but also for restaurant search and dine-in. “Expanding it (Zomato Gold) to online orders will help it draw customers from Swiggy and other apps while making the existing ones sworn loyalists,” said an internet-sector analyst.

 

Expanding the scope of Zomato Gold underscores an urgent need for Zomato to scale up the food-delivery business at a time when Swiggy is rapidly expanding its reach and base.

 

After Swiggy, which entered the market in 2014 and built itself up on the back of a solid delivery network, Zomato had to play catch up and entered the segment only in 2015. It has since been trying to match Swiggy, while simultaneously battling customer leakage to UberEats and FoodPanda.

 

In July 2018, Zomato brought on broad Mohit Gupta, the former chief operating officer (COO) at MakeMyTrip, to lead the food delivery business of the company as its CEO. Food delivery currently contributes 40-50 per cent to the company overall sales, with the rest coming from the ad business -- restaurants paying Zomato to show their listings on top of the list.