NEW DELHI :
Members of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) met with top executives of online food aggregators Swiggy and Zomato on Friday in a set of meetings that “progressed well" even as the NRAI continues to hold its grouse against Zomato’s Gold program that the association says remains unacceptable in its current form.
Follow up meetings with both Swiggy and Zomato on the eight core issues were largely positive and talks have progressed well so far, the NRAI said in a statement on Monday. “Both aggregators have presented concrete roadmap and apprised the NRAI core team of the progress made thus far," said Anurag Katriar, president, NRAI. Since the changes, as desired by the NRAI, are fairly large and significant, their total resolution may take some time, Katriar added.
NRAI’s managing committee is slated to meet this week in Mumbai to discuss the next course of action.
But Zomato Gold continued to remain an issue of contention among the association and the food aggregator. “NRAI remains steadfast in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is not acceptable in either dine-in or delivery segment," Katriar said.
Zomato Gold, a membership only dine-in program has remained a sore point between restaurants and the aggregator as eateries have complained that such a program was creating a pressures on their margins with deal-hunting diners availing benefits of the program that offered complimentary drinks and food to members. In fact, the issues between NRAI and online dining platforms arose in the month of August after several restaurants staged a log-out of the Gold program forcing Zomato to tone it down and revise the current terms and conditions to curb steep offers given by Gold.
Amid the ongoing discord between restaurants and Zomato, the latter has for now also put on hold its recently launched Infinity dining program that allowed members of Gold to avail unlimited food and drinks at a fixed price for a limited period of time. NRAI said it appreciated Zomato’s efforts to pause the “contentious Infinity dining program in abeyance till further notice."
On the meeting with the NRAI Swiggy spokesperson said in a statement “our recent discussions on the various projects have been well received, and has brought us one step closer to achieving our combined goals." It added that “NRAI plays an important role in our continued efforts to enable restaurant partners to grow sustainably while benefitting from the latest technology interventions."
A Zomato spokesperson added that it "continues to have discussions with the NRAI on all issues faced by the industry and are focused on providing solutions sustainable for all participants."
However, nor Swiggy or Zomato have announced any immediate changes to their terms and conditions post the meetings.
The meeting was a follow-up to discussions held last month between the two parties that saw top executives from Zomato, and Swiggy meet members of the restaurant association after the latter raised concerns that unfair practices such as steep discounts and bundling of services was hurting business at eateries in India.
The move comes close to a month after the NRAI led the delisting of several restaurants across India from dining-membership driven apps such as Zomato Gold, Dineout and EazyDiner, among others over concerns that complimentary offers doled out by them was hurting business at restaurants.
This then led way for restaurants to also raise concerns over unfair practices followed by online delivery companies, especially at a time when aggregation business has boomed in India threatening the dominance of small restaurant chains.