The tussle between food aggregator Zomato and restaurant owners represented by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) continues to escalate.
While Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal has alleged that NRAI’s #LogOut campaign against the food aggregator’s ‘deep discounting’ practices is an attempt by large restaurants to “sabotage” aggregators, the NRAI has launched a new campaign in response against Zomato’s decision to stick to its tweaked Gold programme.
While Zomato had made certain changes limiting the scope of discounts on its Gold programme after discussion with NRAI earlier this week, half a million restaurants-strong association had refused to accept the tweaks as sufficient.
Goyal had responded a day later on Thursday, saying that Zomato would no longer engage in negotiations with NRAI. He also alleged that the issue was not of discounting since NRAI president Rahul Singh’s The Beer Cafe chain also offered similar discounts through its BeerOcrat programme.
“This proves that Rahul Singh is not really against deep discounts as these are being offered on his own brand, on his own app,” Goyal tweeted, adding that Singh, and certain other large restaurant owners, were using the NRAI platform to “sabotage aggregators and benefit themselves”.
The founder also went on to say that with platforms like Zomato democratising the food business, “large restaurant owners have to compete with independent restaurants on a hyperlocal basis and are not able to leverage their large presence to pull more distribution/profits”. “This is about the small restaurant owners vs the large restaurant owners and we (aggregators) are being painted as bullies,” Goyal had added.
NRAI’s new protest campaign: Goyal’s allegations did not go well with the association, with Singh shooting back on the same day that the ‘BeerOcrat’ programme offered by his chain was a privilege programme for a select few.
“BeerOcrat is a privilege programme for a select few, which we enable based on the loyalty life cycle of our guests. Our in-house programme has been up since 2014 and has 3.5 lakh downloads, when Zomato was probably a directory app. As a brand owner, we have the right to provide privileges to our loyalists. Brokers cannot enjoy the same right as owners!” Singh declared.
The association has only gone on to intensify its protest against Zomato by launching a new #ZoGoIsNoGo campaign on Friday, pointing out that while “use of technology is imperative, technology has to be seen as an enabler of privileges, not a privilege itself”.
“The strength of technology and it’s adoption is therefore paramount to avoid detrimental circumstances like we have witnessed where discovery platforms have pivoted into discounting ones,” it added.
The association also said that other food aggregators —Dineout, Eazydiner, Magicpin & Nearbuy — have all “rejigged their features to eradicate the deep discounting epidemic”.
“However, Zomato has decided to cut all ties through a statement of their assertion of logging out of the logout campaign. From our end, that simply implies #ZoGoisNoGo,” Singh concluded.