A fresh round of talks between the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) and online food platforms on Friday (13 September) was largely positive but failed to yield any resolution to the critical issues of deep discounting by Swiggy and Zomato, NRAI president Anurag Katriar said.
This was the second time food aggregators Swiggy, and Zomato came together with restaurateurs after the #Logout campaign in August which took issue with Zomato’s Gold programme. The campaign, started by about 300 Gurugram restaurants, said that the Gold programme was encouraging discount hunters rather than loyal customers.
“No significant progress was made on the subject of Zomato Gold. NRAI remains steadfast in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is not acceptable in either dine-in or delivery segment.” NRAI said in a press release on Monday.
However NRAI said that both Swiggy and Zomato have presented a concrete roadmap and apprised the NRAI core team of the progress made thus far. NRAI also said that since their desired changes are fairly large and significant, their total resolution may take some time. The group which claims to represent more than 50K restaurants across India, did appreciate that Zomato has put the contentious Infinity dining program in abeyance till further notice.
Talking about the Friday meeting, food delivery leader Swiggy said that “recent discussions on the various projects have been well received and brought us one step closer to achieving our combined goals.” A similar view was echoed by Zomato which said “We continue to have discussions with the NRAI on all issues faced by the industry and are focused on providing solutions sustainable for all participants.”
The #Logout movement started on August 14 when restaurants started delisting themselves from platforms such as Zomato Gold, EazyDiner, Dineout’s Gourmet Passport, Nearbuy, MagicPin among others. The plan involved using the hashtag “Logout” on twitter and cancel their agreement with Zomato’s membership programme that allow diners to indulge in bargains such as “one plus one” on drinks and food on their in-restaurant bills to mark their protest.
Tensions had ramped up to such an extent that union minister of Industry and Commerce, Piyush Goyal, offered to mediate between the two parties. “I am happy to sit down, because the restaurateurs have met me also, complaining about some of the practices of the food-aggregators. I would suggest that you sort it out quickly amongst yourselves, and if you can’t, I am happy to intervene,” the minister had said.
NRAI’s former president Rahul Singh had said at the time that restaurants have already suffered due to increasing rentals, and denial of input tax credit. “The situation is now aggravated through the anytime, anywhere, any-day discounting behaviour by aggregators. So now restaurants have come together to detox consumers from discount addiction.”