It's officially war between Zomato and restaurant owners

Updated: Aug 24, 2019, 10:07 IST | Phorum Dalal

With every other food tech company agreeing to do away with deep discounts, Zomato stands isolated in its battle against NRAI

It's officially war between Zomato and restaurant owners
Representation pic

"Har chamakti cheez sona nahi hoti! Be Bold, logout of Gold," read a social media post by Riyaaz Amlani, as Zomato on Thursday decided to stick to its stand without agreeing to the demands put forth by National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) regarding deep discounts. This was on the day that Deepinder Goyal, CEO of Zomato, tweeted: 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 in the end. Amlani's Instagram story had memes that offered sarcasm on the #logout movement by restaurants. The picture of a mother holding a stick behind her back, as the caption read: Duniya ka sabse bada jhooth, aa jao nahi marungi. The child is National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and mother Zomato. The war, it seems, is officially on, with restaurants keeping the protest on with the #logout. "Zomato has decided to cut all ties through a statement [Goyal's tweet] of their assertion of logging out of the logout campaign. From our end, that simply implies #ZoGoisNoGo," Rahul Singh, president of The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said.

Also Read: Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal taunts NRAI president in a tweet

Social media was full of memes over the Zomato-NRAI war
Social media was full of memes over the Zomato-NRAI war

Loyalty not discounts

On the other hand, after Sunday's meeting, NRAI and food aggregators Dineout, EazyDiner, MagicPin and NearBuy have reached a common consensus. Singh said, "With the evolution of time, use of technology is imperative. It has to be seen as an enabler of privileges, not a privilege itself. The strength of technology and its adoption is therefore paramount to avoid detrimental circumstances like we have witnessed where discovery platforms have pivoted into discounting ones. We embrace the adoption of tech to connect with our guests in the form of reservation, reviews, feedback and personalisation. We understand the importance of loyalty as it has to be earned, not purchased through discounts. We thank Dineout, Eazydiner, Magicpin & Nearbuy for rejigging their features to eradicate the deep discounting epidemic."

EazyDiner released a statement saying it does not have a deep discount product or a walk-in product which gives discounts. "As an aggregator, we never launched a 1+1 deep discount product. NRAI appreciated our stand on this matter and the fact that we always opposed products where the promise was a 1+1 deal except for a special time-bound promotion," an official statement said. This week, Dineout offered its loyalty management tool from their inResto backed operations platform at a zero cost to restaurant owners.

Social media was full of memes over the Zomato-NRAI war following Zomato's concluding statement
Social media was full of memes over the Zomato-NRAI war following Zomato's concluding statement

"This tool helps restaurants capture their diner data and use this data to create their own customised communication strategy," Vivek Kapoor, co-founder, Dineout, said, adding, "We have always had a restaurant-first approach and hence encourage restaurants to #LogIn with technology. We are a B2C platform supporting discovery, payments and reservations to drive diners to restaurants but also a restaurant partner on the technology front through inResto, our B2B platform. Together we can bring in a new era and take the restaurant industry forward with the help of technology, discovery, reservations and payments."

According to Ravi Shankar, co-founder, NearBuy, the app doesn't charge any subscription fee from customers or partners. "We have made changes to the platform to further empower restaurants to 100 per cent control over what they sell and at what price they sell. Nearbuy.com has set up a special team so that the restaurants can take advantage of these features. We also strongly believe that our products like Payments (helps merchant customise its price depending on day of week and time of day) and loyalty (reward point specific to merchant) will further help our partners in growing their business," said Shankar.

Also Read: Zomato replates Gold, restaurants not impressed

Social media was full of memes over the Zomato-NRAI war following Zomato's concluding statement

Zomato stands by plan

A Zomato spokesperson told mid-day, "All our products are always in a continuous state of evolution, and we are always listening to our users and partners. We stand by our 10-point improvement plan [mentioned in the e-mail to NRAI] that addresses the collective concerns of our restaurant partners while keeping our users' best interests in mind." The improvement ideas were rejected by NRAI earlier this week.

Also Read: Food delivery also to take hit on apps?

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