Deep discounts: Restaurants, online food aggregators battle it out

New Delhi: With hundreds of restaurants under the umbrella of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) coming out in the open to challenge the deep discounting practices of online food aggregators like Zomato Gold and Dineout, the war over who controls the palate of Indians has intensified.

Nearly 300 restaurants in Gurgaon on Thursday observed a #Logout campaign, delisting themselves from platforms such as Zomato Gold, EazyDiner and Dineout’s Gourmet Passport, among others.

According to NRAI president Rahul Singh, the situation is now aggravated through the anytime, anywhere, any day discounting behaviour by aggregators.

The game is on as according to a recent study by business consultancy firm Market Research Future, the online food ordering market in India is likely to grow at over 16 per cent annually to touch $17.02 billion by 2023.

The findings showed that 95 per cent of the respondents surveyed order food online, owing to promotional offers and discounts, while 84 per cent said it is hassle-free and time-saving.

According to Ankit Mehrotra, Co-founder and CEO, Dineout, being the largest dining out and tech platform in the country, his company is always looking to build a more sustainable and viable ecosystem for both its restaurant partners and the users using the Dineout platform.

“As a platform, we certainly don’t believe in the concept of deep discounting. On our platform, we have persisted with sustainable discounts which works really well for both the consumer as well as the restaurants to fill up their restaurants throughout the day,” Mehrotra said in a statement.

“Over and beyond, even our premium offering of Gourmet Passport limits the redemption to only three coupons per restaurant. In consultation with the restaurants, we run promotional campaigns for shorter durations ( and not through the year) such as the “Great Indian Restaurant Festival” which gives a higher discount to the consumer but for only limited covers per restaurant per day,” Mehrotra elaborated.

Zomato didn’t reply to an email sent to them.

Home-grown restaurant search and delivery platform Zomato last month introduced the “Infinity Dining” plan for its “Gold” subscribers that allows them to have unlimited a la carte at partner restaurants.

It said its Gold subscription programme has grown almost 100 per cent in the past eight months. The plan has been introduced in partnership with 350 restaurants – with at least a 3.5 rating — in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

However, the restaurants under the NRAI in Delhi and Mumbai have also threatened to delist from online dining platforms.

Last month, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) officials met representatives from online food delivery firms and offline industry leaders and directed them to sit and solve their differences and boost equitable growth in the industry.

The meeting was called to discuss issues such as deep discounting and opening up of private label brands by the online food platforms that has affected the operations of offline restaurants across the country.