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Zomato still resilient, Gold programme to stay

Talks with NRAI failed another time; No breakthrough with EazyDiner either.

, ET Bureau|
Sep 17, 2019, 11.44 AM IST
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Zomato Gold boasts of a membership of over a million paid subscribers across India and on last count had about 4160 members.
Zomato will continue to offer 1+1 discounts on food and 2+2 on beverages at partner restaurants under its Gold dine-in programme, as talks with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) failed over the weekend.

EazyDiner, which offers a flat 25% discount on its prime offering, too has not given in to the restaurant association's demands yet. The food aggregator told ET in a statement that it will continue to discuss all industry related issues with the NRAI and will focus on providing solutions sustainable for all participants.

A company spokesperson, however, specified that this did not refer specifically to its Gold programme.

NRAI said the Gold programme, in its current form, was not acceptable in either the dine-in or delivery segment. No significant progress has been made on the subject over the two-day talks. There has, however, been some progress regarding delivery fee.

Anurag Katriar, president, NRAI said in a statement that key delivery aggregators Swiggy and Zomato presented a concrete roadmap. NRAI has also made peace with DineOut, Gourmet Passport, Nearbuy and Magicpin, which have heeded to the restaurant body's demands.

EazyDiner's cofounder Sachin Pabreja told ET that the team will be meeting with NRAI soon to resolve issues; while Magicpin declined to comment. DineOut has agreed to standardise discounting in the range of 0-15% on the total bill provided other aggregators also follow the same level of discounting. It will restrict its Great Indian Restaurant Festival or GIRF to once a year in February instead of twice, the company told ET.

DineOut is owned by Times Internet, a part of the Times Group, which also published this paper. Gourmet Passport agreed that it will stop using the terminology 1+1 to open up its platform for restaurants to run set menus and meals for two.

Ravi Shankar, cofounder nearbuy.com said that the company helped NRAI understand that they don’t encourage deep discounts. We are not included in the logout movement anymore. Last week, after continued pressure from the restaurant industry, Zomato suspended its Infinity dining programme, which let users eat and drink all they could at certain fixed prices.

Earlier this month, a Zomato spokesperson told ET that the net discount in the older version of Gold used to be 20-30%, and that they expect a revised version of Gold will bring it down to 15-20% by limiting customers to one restaurant unlock a day. However, NRAI claims the discounts range anywhere between 30-70% and are being deployed all year round.

Unsustainable deep discounting was NRAI's main bone of contention. It said that deep discounts are a privilege and should be extended only on certain occasions. NRAI also added that aggregators were charging arbitrary, high and uneven commissions to deliver outlets. They were also masking customer data, eliminating the possibility of restaurants interacting with customers directly, it alleged.

It also alleged that big delivery aggregators were using the data to develop their own brands to divert delivery traffic to themselves, among others. Zomato Gold boasts of a membership of over a million paid subscribers across India and on last count had about 4160 members and about 2600 restaurants continue to be logged out of Gold.

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Restaurant bodies want Zomato to tweak ‘gold’ further

Zomato says working on to resume services in affected areas

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