Ordering food on online apps and using them to avail deals while dining out has become a way of life. It's convenient, time-saving and gives you attractive discounts. Maybe, not anymore! In a surprising move, restaurants across the country de-listed themselves from online food aggregators and table reservation platforms blaming deep discounts that were ‘unsustainable' and hurting the business. Zomato has lost about 65 restaurants across major cities, that is 1 per cent of the restaurant partner base of its ‘Zomato Gold' programme. National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) president Rahul Singh said, “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.”
Restaurants have floated #LogOut campaign on social media to protest against these offers-driven paid membership programs such as Zomato (Gold), EazyDiner (Prime). “We are here to provide you a wholesome experience through a sustainable business environment. “Zomato Gold, EazyDiner, MagicPin, Nearbuy, etc are resorting to unjust practices and hurting our business. We have no option but to #LogOut as a mark of our protest.” In fact, many restaurants in popular hangout places in Gurugram like CyberHub, Golf Course Road and Sector 29 put up posters in a show of support to the campaign, reading “We have no option but to #LOGOUT as a mark of protest.”
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Deep discounting and membership privileges by food portals helped in luring the customers to a particular eatery but it was never a profitable proposition. The restaurants joined the bandwagon only to not be left out. The #LogOut campaign stemmed out of long-brewing tension among the restaurateurs. The movement that started in Gurugram earlier this week has spread nationwide to cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Goa, Pune, Gurgaon and Vadodra exiting major food platforms.
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Priyank Sukhija, CEO of First Fiddle Restaurants, shared his view on the issue with NDTV Food, “It's a reaction to arm twisting by Zomato. Gold was anyway unsustainable and restaurants were only opting for it because of the fear of missing out on customers. Zomato Infinity is the nail in the coffin of Zomato's disregard for our businesses. This got all of us together and they had it coming.”
Meanwhile on Saturday evening, Zomato' s founder and CEO Deepinder Goyal, in a series of tweets, appealed the restaurant owners to stop the campaign and urged them to initiate a dialogue with food aggregators.
“In the interest of consumers, we request restaurant owners, to stop the logout campaign, and have a collaborative discussion with internet aggregators for finding a sustainable way forward,” he said.
Goyal further said Zomato is committed to work with the restaurant industry and make modifications to Zomato Gold that results in a win win situation for restaurants as well as the consumers.