A demand to categorise foodservice aggregators as e-commerce platforms were spearheaded by some of the largest restaurants in India. These restaurants approached the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) while already being in talks with aggregators such as Zomato to resolve conflicts regarding discounting, data sharing and commissions.
The demand put up by the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) suggests that the guidelines framed for companies such as Amazon and Flipkart should also be extended to the foodservice aggregators. The NRAI comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and has met with the officials of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
The current guidelines around e-commerce platforms prohibit companies from swaying prices and working on an inventory-based model. In the case of restaurants, there are some that work as marketplaces, others as inventory model and the rest operate as a combination of both.
A nationwide campaign called ‘logout’ was orchestrated by restaurants against food aggregators such as Zomato citing the reason being heavy discounting, less transparency, abuse of dominant position in the market, etc. NRAI has pointed out some major issues that they claim could be a threat to online delivery services.
While some issues have been resolved, a lot of restaurants continue to remain logged out of Zomato Gold which is used for both dining and delivery. Zomato Gold gives offers such as one-plus-one on food and alcohol to its customers which proves as a heavy discount for restaurants on the platform.
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