Food delivery firms Zomato and Swiggy are on a clean-up drive, delisting restaurants that do not comply with regulations and hygiene standards put in place by the country’s food regulator.
In a blog posted on Tuesday, Zomato chief executive Deepinder Goyal said that restaurants which do not furnish a Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) licence will be taken off its menu.
Goyal said the number of restaurants could run into hundreds, but did not specify an actual number. The platform currently has 3,700 partner restaurants across India. The restaurants, some of which have high user ratings, have until the end of the month to provide the necessary details.
“We are going to make sure that we don’t list any cloud kitchen on Zomato unless and until it goes through our mandatory hygiene check, which is a food safety and hygiene checklist,” said Goyal. “This hygiene check is conducted by reputed third parties who are experts at this.”
The company is a strategic investor in cloud kitchen food delivery service Tin Men which operates in Hyderabad.
The issue of FSSAI licensing for online restaurant aggregators and food delivery platforms such as Zomato, Swiggy and Foodpanda was also raised at a recent discussion on the provisions of draft e-commerce policy, which was attended by the secretary of Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP).
Zomato had also introduced Food Hygiene Ratings in October last year, where users could provide reviews specific to this aspect.
Separately, a Swiggy spokesperson told TechCircle that starting in July, it had already delisted hundreds of restaurants that did not comply with FSSAI regulations or have poor customer ratings.
"We have also set up an FSSAI Assist Program to help all non-compliant restaurants procure their licenses within the specified timeframe, and currently aren’t onboarding any new restaurants without a license," said the spokesperson.
Swiggy has also been working with Equinox Labs, an FSSAI-accredited food audit firm, to conduct inspections at restaurants.
Zomato also said that its food delivery business has grown over 2.5x in under four months and has reached a monthly order run rate of 16.5 million in September.
Swiggy, which is reportedly in talks to raise a new round of capital from Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent, delivers 15 million orders per month at last count.
Zomato and Swiggy are eyeing alternative business streams. While the former wants to get into micro delivery space delivering medicines and groceries, Zomato plans on being a farm to fork delivery company supplying fresh produce to restaurant and hotel chains.