In an attempt to take on food aggregators like Zomato and Swiggy, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) is currently working on a delivery and restaurant aggregator platform, which could launch with as many as 6 Lakh restaurants and hotels.
The announcement was made by Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI, in a Covid-19 town hall on May 6. The platform will offer online ordering, food delivery, loyalty programmes and contactless dining options to minimise the restaurants’ dependence on third-party private aggregators. NRAI, which has over 6 Lakh restaurants and hotels as members, has clarified that the platform would offer food delivery services in a transparent manner, share data about customers with the concerned restaurants and also allow restaurants to lower delivery costs and manage their expenses.
NRAI has assured that its solution would not work on the same lines as Zomato and Swiggy, who have been accused of eating into the restaurant partner margins by increasing tech costs and adding new programmes without consulting partners. The association has been trying to take control of the food delivery space through digital initiatives and has formed specific small teams for the same, Katriar added.
The teams are currently working on finding and partnering with alternative delivery and logistics companies. It is also exploring the role of social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram to provide visibility and ordering facilities for restaurant partners.
The move is significant as food aggregators faced massive protests all through 2019 from restaurant partners, backed by NRAI and other such restaurant associations. The logout campaign against food aggregators forced many to change their discounting policies last year. The campaigns were majorly pointed at Zomato and Swiggy, which are currently the biggest delivery players in the foodtech industry.
Among the chief concerns were the hefty commissions charged by Zomato and Swiggy, not providing order and user data to restaurants fulfilling orders and preferential treatments to few entities and cloud kitchens that are operated under their infrastructure.
Partners had also raised an issue with premium services offered by Zomato such as Gold and Infinity Dining. Zomato was forced to shut down the Infinity Dining services amid the protests.
Just like restaurants, even local retailers and traders have taken a stand against foreign-funded ecommerce platforms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm Mall, Snapdeal and others, who have been accused of using similar tactics against sellers. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT), recently, announced its plan to launch bharatemarket ecommerce marketplace next month.
The CAIT has assured that its marketplace will be very different from other private ecommerce entities and will focus on retailers and customers. Besides, it will not charge any commission or fees from the vendors listed on the platform, and whatever the traders earn will be directly transferred to their bank accounts.
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