Zomato founder hits back at owners of big restaurants, accuses them of 'sabotage'

Zomato has been accused by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) of 'unethical' deep discounting practices for its 'Gold' programme.

Published: 22nd August 2019 06:38 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd August 2019 06:38 PM   |  A+A-

Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The war of words between food aggregator Zomato and the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) escalated on Thursday, with Zomato founder Deepinder Goyal taking to Twitter to call out NRAI president Rahul Singh for discounts offered on his own restaurant.

“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”. 

Goyal’s tweet storm comes a day after Zomato tweaked its Gold dine-in programme to limit the scope of discounts offered to customers, in response to NRAI’s #logout campaign which saw several restaurants sign out of food aggregator platforms in protest against deep discounting offered for dine-in experiences. 

However, the NRAI, which represents nearly 1.5 million restaurants across India, had refused to accept the changes made in the programme on Wednesday, calling it just another “reconstruct of Gold”. 

Big restaurants finding it hard to compete on democratised platforms

In his response on Twitter, Goyal stood by the changes made in the program and alleged that the issue was not really one of the discounts. “On a democratised platform like Zomato, 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,” Goyal said. 

“This is about the small restaurant owner vs the large restaurant owner - and we (aggregators) are being painted as bullies,” Goyal added. 

Brokers cannot enjoy same rights as owners, says Singh

NRAI president Rahul Singh, in a statement to TNIE, dismissed Goyal’s allegations, declaring that the “BeerOcrat” programme offered by his restaurant chain -- The Beer Cafe --  was a privilege programme for a select few. 

“As India’s largest beer chain spread in 13 cities, we understand the importance of loyalty as it has to be earned, not purchased. “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 said.  

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