Zomato replates Gold, restaurants not impressed
NRAI decides to #stayloggedout even as Zomato offers improvements to its deep discount loyalty programme
The #logout movement has turned into #stayloggedout. A day after the first meeting between NRAI and food aggregators, Zomato sent out a mass email to all member restaurants with a 10-pointer Upcoming Improvements to roll out before September 15. This has not been accepted well by restaurateurs.
The 10-point changes include limiting Gold usage by a single user to one unlock per day to ensure that customers complete their dining experience at a single restaurant; restricting number of unlocks to a max of two per table; a minimum floor on Gold membership fee – commitment to not sell Gold at anything less than Rs 1,800; restrict user's login ID to a single mobile device; discontinuation of trial packs for Gold; and strengthen two-way feedback system.
According to the statement: "To increase revenue, Gold restaurants that have a minimum of 1,000 Gold unlocks per quarter per outlet, and get an average cumulative rating of 4.5+ for Gold visits during that quarter, will get ads credit worth Rs 25,000 per outlet per quarter from Zomato to promote your brand and drive non-discounted business. For all Gold partners that have a minimum of 600 unlocks per quarter, we will invest back into your brand – shoot videos for your business free of charge and distribute these videos widely on Zomato. Promotion of Gold membership usage on non-peak days which accounts for 45 per cent of Gold unlocks."
The statement attributed to Deepinder Goyal, Zomato founder, concludes: "We are making these changes keeping your and our users' best interests in mind. Please understand that we cannot come up with a one size fits all answer here. We will understand if you want to stay out of the Gold programme if it still doesn't work for your business. We will continue to work with you and aim to be a great partner for you for all other aspects of our mutual businesses. We want all those who logged out to come back to Gold. All restaurants that dropped out of Gold during the logout campaign and sign back up on Gold before 26th August – they will not need to pay the sign-up fee to return back to the program."
NRAI called this a knee jerk reaction to the #logout movement and the meeting held between the founding team of Zomato and Management committee members of NRAI. "It's a validation of the fact that Zomato acknowledges the deep discounting epidemic. However, the "reconstruct of gold" is another attempt to stuff old wine in a new bottle. It's a tweak in the drug, which doesn't solve the addiction," NRAI president Rahul Singh said in a statement.
Just two days back, a stiff penalty clause was invoked to re-join the program if the notice period is not served. "Now, they have sweetened the pill in the form of free signup to re-join the program. Since the launch in Nov 2017, this program has been shifting goalposts. What started as an exclusive invite-only privilege to a marketplace for "bargain hunters", a word admitted by the founder of Zomato in recent tweets, this Gold has lost its sheen forever. We stand united in the cause to obliviate the deep discounting phenomenon, and will therefore #stayloggedout," explained Singh.
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