BENGALURU: Just a few days ago, Dotpe, a payment platform, released a video appealing to customers to directly order in from restaurants rather than through aggregators. The video may be for commercial purposes but it was hard hitting for many restaurateurs. So much so that even chef Manu Chandra shared it on his Instagram handle. Apart from him, many other city-based restaurants have slowly started moving towards direct delivery.
Prasanna Kumar, founder of Blr Brewing Co, says it is important for restaurants to have their own customer base. According to him, one of the drawbacks of going through aggregators is doubt over customer loyalty. “These aggregators don’t give the address or contact of the customers.
So, we can’t cater to them directly even if there is a way to customise their food,” says Kumar. But there’s a bigger reason why people are opting out. And that is — high commissions charged by aggregators.“ These commissions are close to 20-25 per cent, which brings down our profit margin. And then the prices of the delivered food is charged at a higher rate,” says Kumar, adding that through direct delivery the restaurant’s staff also gets a chance to save their jobs.
Anirudh Nopany, co-founder of Brik Oven, agrees. He says that aggregators were a game changer in many ways during the first lockdown, when dinein was not allowed but the commission brings down the profit. At the same time, Nopany is aware of the challenges to be faced with direct delivery. “Competing with Swiggy and Zomato is not an easy thing, considering their data base is so big. It’s going to take us time to make our presence felt, since people are used to these aggregators,” says Nopany, adding that his franchise is still on the aggregator list in order to stay afloat.
However, they are trying to come up with a software that lets patrons order in directly from the website. “We tried it in our Indiranagar branch and are soon going to put it up for other branches too,” he adds. The smaller players in the industry are also trying out other options like Dunzo and Ola Eats. Take, for instance, Bohra Bohra Cafe, which turned into a cloud kitchen last year. “Apart from high commissions, some aggregators also ask for discounts which makes it difficult for us. So we moved to Dunzo, which is cheaper,” says Rehana Nagaria, co-founder of the cafe.