Home >Companies >News >Restaurants tell food apps to end deep discounting

NEW DELHI : The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Tuesday said reservation- and membership-driven dining platforms such as EazyDiner, Zomato Gold and Gourmet Passport will need to make changes to their features to end deep discounting in the wake of the ongoing tussle between platforms and restaurants in India.

Such changes would lead to an overhaul of how offers and promotions in bars and eateries work.

Representatives from these platforms met with top members of NRAI on Monday and Tuesday, to resolve issues being faced by the latter. “They (aggregators) have to rejig the product and come back with revised product feature which obviates the issue of deep discounting," said NRAI president Rahul Singh.

The aggregators are expected to come back with proposals on how they can modify their programmes and offerings that prevent such steep discounts that restaurants say are distorting the market and hurting business. “It was decided that all aggregators will rejig their features, which will allow the restaurant-customer ecosystem to detox from the addiction of deep-discounts that has crippled the industry," Singh said.

NRAI and aggregators have been at loggerheads over concerns that the restaurant industry is not benefiting from the rapid growth of the food aggregator and discounting ecosystem.

Last week, NRAI asked its partner restaurant members to log out of platforms such as EazyDiner (Prime), Zomato Gold, and Dineout, which owns premium membership programme Gourmet Passport, as well as Nearbuy and magicpin to protest discounts offered by them.

NRAI and the aggregators said during the two-day discussion that they were in agreement that technology is the backbone to enable restaurant discovery and a friction-less experience to guests. However, guests should not be lured by devaluing the core product at a restaurant, Singh said.

Dineout’s co-founder and chief executive officer Ankit Mehrotra said it was closely working with all its restaurant partners and NRAI to build a viable consumer-facing platform where diners can discover the right restaurants and offers around them. Magicpin, which works as a discovery and rewards platform, said it will work with its restaurant partners towards creating more awareness and visibility for them on its platform.

However, Singh said that the association is not in a position to suggest feature changes to aggregators. “It’s their platform and they have to walk the talk," he said.

Zomato, which runs the popular Gold membership programme that offers complimentary drinks and food, did not respond to a query by Mint.

On 15 August, 300 restaurants in Gurugram said they would pull out of these platforms. The #Logout move gathered pace over the next few days. As of now, more than 2,000 restaurants across the country have joined the #Logout protests, including large names in the industry such as Olive Group, The Beer Cafe, and Massive Restaurant.

“Multiple associations throughout India have joined the movement and we have messages from Dubai expressing their will to be part of it," Singh said.

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