Zomato, the Gurugram-based unicorn, has faced significant conflicts coming from restaurant bodies and associations over the past month. The food-tech startup has, however, refused to hamper its growth. The company recently expanded its Zomato Gold services to its food delivery options.
The Gold service was launched in 2017 and offered an exclusive dining-out membership with a monthly or yearly subscription plan. Members avail complimentary meals and drinks option st a wide range of selected restaurants. The firm claims to have a member base of 1.1 million and over 6,000 restaurant partners.
Earlier troubles faced
According to reports, the National Restaurant Association of India had raised concerns about the unfair practices followed by the food aggregators such as massive discounts and bundling of services that have been affecting the business at eateries in India.
In August, the restaurants commenced a battle with the apps when over 300 restaurants under NRAI began a #logout campaign. The restaurants in Gurugram removed themselves from platforms such as Zomato Gold, EazyDiner, Dineout’s Gourmet Passport, Nearbuy, MagicPin. The protest expanded to more than 1,200 restaurants across major cities. Despite all of the issues and troubles faced by the food-tech companies, Zomato has taken a bold step to fasten its business.
Last week, Zomato discontinued its Infinity Dining feature before its second meeting with NRAI.
All about Gold on Wheels
The firm has stated that the existing and new Zomato Gold members would be able to use the benefits of Gold for home delivery orders now. The company has added another bunch of 13,000 restaurants. The plan has been initiated in around 16 cities beginning from Friday. In the coming week, the firm has said that the program will be expanding to 25 more cities including Mangalore, Mysore, Nashik, Patiala, Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Surat, Udaipur, Vadodara, Agra, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Varanasi and Bhopal among others. Overall, the service will be available in over 40 cities in a couple of days.
The existing members of Zomato Gold will be given access to food delivery privileges without any additional cost along with some Fair Usage Policy revisions in their current membership. The members will get a limit of two unlocks per day, one dining-out and one delivery each, and the membership will also be limited to a single device per individual.
Gold on Delivery will be offering a BOGO offer where the second-highest priced item on the order will be for free. The offer won’t be applicable in the case of combos, MRP items, and unique dishes. It will only be applicable on a minimum order value of Rs 300 with discount capped to Rs 300 per order. Gold’s membership is priced at Rs 1,800 for the yearly package.
However, the launch of the service was heavily criticized by the restaurant bodies. The NRAI, not pleased with a new development from the food aggregator stated,
“Launch of Zomato Gold on delivery is a desperate attempt by Zomato to shore up the sinking fortunes of their flagship Zomato Gold program.”
Issues with Zomato Gold
During the #logout campaign, the listed restaurants on Zomato had called out the startup for consuming their margins through their features like Gold and infinity Dining, which provided heavy discounts to their customers. The NRAI had highlighted issues like “unreasonably high commissions, payment terms and arbitrarily applied additional charges” that the eateries are charged to be a part of the Gold community.
The company, however, has silently been updating terms and conditions for its features saying that the offers can be availed only once per day by a Zomato Gold member. Additionally, only one offer can be availed amongst two Gold customers on a table. Zomato also limited the Gold members a maximum of two unlocks per table, regardless of the number of Gold diners present at a table.