Zomato blinks, wants speedy resolution of restaurants standoff
Restaurant aggregator unicorn Zomato is now back in discussions with National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) to iron out differences on deep discounting and other issues which led to multiple restaurants delisting from restaurant aggregation platforms.
After a showdown that has lasted over two weeks, the Alibaba-backed company appeared on the back foot as it had called off talks with the restaurant partners.
During a panel discussion organised by the Competition Commission of India, Mohit Gupta, CEO, food delivery, Zomato, said the platform was “committed to ironing out issues aired by the restaurant partners.”
Gupta told TechCircle the company had moved away from the talks as the discussions were not progressing in a transparent manner but were now committed to “iron out differences very soon.”
Speaking at the same forum, Anurag Katriar, Mumbai chapter head of NRAI, said the association had held a four-hour long meeting with Zomato and Swiggy on eight critical issues including deep discounting, masking of consumer data from restaurants, mandatory bundling of services such as delivery and uneven commission charges.
Katriar also said Swiggy’s practice of running private food labels, including brands like The Bowl Company, was driven by “conflict of interest.”
“Broad contours of resolving each issue was chalked out. We are tentatively scheduled to reconvene in the second week of September to update the reformation progress. In the back to back meetings, Swiggy’s approach was fairly constructive,” Katriar said in a statement.
He added there was an in-principle agreement to resolve the issues within a specific timeline.
NRAI, which represents over 500,000 restaurants across India, had started the #Logout campaign against delivery and food aggregator platforms Zomato, Swiggy and other booking and dine-in membership platforms including Magicpin, EazyDiner, DineOut and Nearbuy over deep discounting and encouraging bargain hunters. The subscription products gave members 1+1 offers on food or drinks at partner restaurants.
Things reached a flashpoint on August 23 when Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal tweeted that he was “logging out” of the discussions, calling out NRAI president and Beer Cafe owner Rahul Singh for running a member loyalty programme for his chain.