NEW DELHI :
A day after the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) said changes to Zomato’s Gold programme did not meet its expectations, founder and chief executive Deepinder Goyal on Thursday took to Twitter to back his company’s stand on dine-in discount offers.
“We stand by the changes we are making to Gold—they are in supreme interest of the restaurants and valued partners," Goyal said in a tweet.
“Zomato is logging out of the logout campaign. We have said enough and we are getting back to work. I am confident better business sense will prevail at the end."
Goyal’s statement is expected to further escalate tensions between the online food platform and the restaurant body.
Goyal further claimed that the #logout campaign was being driven by a few large restaurant owners, which are part of the NRAI.
“On a large democratized platform like Zomato, large restaurant owners have to compete with independent restaurants on a hyper-local basis, and are not able to leverage their large presence to pull more distribution and profits."
“An aggregator’s most important job is to level the playing field for everyone," he added. “This is not about aggregators versus restaurants; this is about the small restaurant owners versus the large restaurant owners—and we are being painted as bullies."
In his tweets, Goyal also took on NRAI president Rahul Singh who runs the loyalty programme offered by The Beer Cafe, claiming that Singh himself wasn’t against discounts—the issue which is at the centre of the tiff between aggregators and the association.
In response to Goyal’s tweet, Singh maintained that the beer chain’s loyalty programme was started in 2014 as the scope and scale of his business grew.
A week ago, over 2,000 restaurants across India pulled out of the membership-driven dining apps, including EazyDiner (Prime), Zomato Gold, Dineout, Nearbuy and Magicpin.
Led by the NRAI, the move is largely aimed at ending steep discounting by such platforms. Restaurants, both small and big, have participated in the protests.
Several meetings between NRAI members and representatives of online food aggregators prompted the platforms to make changes to the offers and reduce discounts.
For Zomato Gold, which has 1.1 million subscribers, the key changes to its programme include restricting the use of the Gold membership to one unlock per day.
It has also capped the number of Gold “unlocks" per table, restricting it to two. An unlock is an offer that can be availed at an outlet.
Members of the NRAI, meanwhile, said they will continue with the #logout campaign as a mark of protest against discount-driven dining apps. “This is a knee-jerk reaction to the #logout movement," the NRAI said.