“Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion” — Zomato on Twitter, July 31, 2019
Known for not mincing its words, this is how Zomato jumped out of the frying pan into the fire. Having faced months of angry clamour from restaurants over its discount-heavy model, lack of data transparency and creating a forced dependency on delivery for restaurants, Zomato weighed into a battle that many believe it should have steered clear of.
But if there’s ever been a firebrand startup in the Indian market, it’s Zomato. While the food and religion controversy died down after a few weeks, Zomato continued to see push-back from restaurants over not only its deep-discounts policy but also for its Gold subscription and Infinity Dining model.
Since then, Zomato has claimed that a majority of the restaurants that it has partnered with for Gold — which is now called Zomato Pro and completely revamped from free food or drinks to discounts — are satisfied with the changes made by the company to the discounts and loyalty programme policies. In November 2019, founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal said 40% of the restaurant partners are happy with Zomato for limiting Zomato Gold and nearly a quarter of the partners appreciated Zomato keeping an eye on abusive or low-rated customers.