In a bid to stop "unethical" deep discounting practices of online food aggregators amid nationwide #logout campaign, the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Tuesday told the platforms to realign their offerings to create a restaurant-friendly ecosystem, thus ending freebies and detox the consumers from discount addiction.
In a meeting with the five top players -- Zomato, EazyDiner, Dineout, Magicpin and Nearbuy – in New Delhi, the industry body discussed how technology has a key role to play in driving engagement and discovery for retailers versus deep discounting.
"It was decided that all aggregators will rejig their features to detox the consumers from the addiction of deep discounts that has crippled the industry," the association said in a statement.
The meeting came after thousands of restaurants delisted from online food aggregators' platforms across the country. The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) on Monday joined the chorus, calling for a review of the agreement of online food apps with restaurants and threatening nationwide protests.
Anshoo Sharma, Co-Founder and CEO, magicpin, said in a statement that they had a very productive discussion with the key members of NRAI.
"The NRAI members included President Rahul Singh (Beer Cafe), Priyank Sukhija (BoomBox, Lazeez Affaire, Flying Saucer and more), Vikrant Batra (Cafe Delhi Heights) and Nitin Saluja (Chaayos). We agreed on how technology has a key role to play in driving engagement and discovery for retailers versus deep discounting,' said Sharma.
Magicpin said it works at a base margin of 10 per cent and allows partners to top-up anywhere from Rs 2,000 to Rs 20 Lakh as per their marketing needs for the month while delivering guaranteed RoIs to them.
"We are fully supportive of NRAI's cause and are looking forward to working together to create sustainable impact for its members through the use of technology," Sharma added.
Ankit Mehrotra, Founder and CEO, Dineout said that as an industry body, NRAI had to take a stand for all aggregators.
"However, their major issue is around 'deep discounts'. Dineout as a dining out platform has been in existence for the last eight years and has never believed in deep discounting with its restaurant-first approach," Mehrotra told IANS.
"We allow the restaurants to select the discounts that they want based on day of the week and time of the day. This is something that the NRAI recognizes. We had a great meeting with NRAI and we are working with them as a tech platform to enable sustainable growth of the restaurant industry in the long run," he added.
According to the FHRAI, restaurants are willing to do business with online food apps but the current policies need to be reconsidered.
"Restaurants are constantly but subtly threatened to participate in deep discounting schemes without respite through the year with one scheme getting replaced by another.
"Our members are neither given an option nor the opportunity to agree nor are they even consulted. Promises made while launching any new scheme is almost always broken by changing the rules itself," said SK Jaiswal, Vice President of FHRAI.
Zomato did not reply to an email sent on the NRAI meeting. Zomato's Founder Deepinder Goyal had earlier requested restaurant owners to stop the #logout campaign.