Restaurant association body NRAI (National Restaurant Association of India) has sought clarity on the inclusion of online food aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato in the national draft e-commerce policy.
The lobby body has also raised concern on exclusivity, private labels, unbundling of delivery and order generation — issues that have soured relations between food aggregators and restaurant owners.
NRAI raised the issues during a meeting with a committee of secretaries at the department for the promotion of industry and internal trade (DPIIT). The body wants the government to include food aggregators under ecommerce policies.
The association has been at the forefront of the #logout campaign against food aggregators Zomato and Swiggy.
The tussle, which started in August 2019, is yet to be resolved. NRAI met Zomato on February 25 and it is scheduled to meet Swiggy in the first week of March for another round of talks.
“We continue to remain in talks with them despite the excruciatingly slow pace of resolution but we are also simultaneously exploring regulatory and legal remedies with the government departments such as CCI (competition commission of India) and DPIIT,” Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI and CEO of deGustibus Hospitality said.
He told TechCircle that the association was sure that DPIIT will soon release a policy document on e-commerce addressing their concerns.
Emails sent to Zomato and Swiggy did not elicit a response till the time of publishing the article.
NRAI has previously alleged that food aggregators indulged in deep discounting, a practice that has affected margins for the restaurants. The platforms also made it mandatory for restaurants to sign up for bundled order generation and delivery service, thus locking in the restaurants.
Restaurants are also unhappy about food technology companies charging high commission rates and not sharing customer data.
In particular, the association had raised concerns over Zomato’s paid membership programme for dine-out, Zomato Gold, when the Alibaba backed platform discussed extending the benefits to delivery orders. The programme offers buy-one-get-one on food or drinks, depending on the city and hospitality chain.
In October 2019, minister of commerce Piyush Goyal offered to mediate between NRAI and online food aggregators.