BusinessE-Commerce

Deep discounts on food is not the way forward according to all the restaurateurs

Food seen through a phone camera

There was a time when discounts weren’t really needed. Everything was rightly priced, no overpricing was done and everyone was happy. Turn the clock to today and giving no discount is a crime. Consumers move from retailer to retailer looking for discounts trying to find the perfect discount and are never happy. This cultural shift sometimes makes people want to go back the barter system this world had; a thing for a thing.

In that case, food is a thing which was deprived of discounts for a long time. You never saw a board outside restaurants or hotels saying ‘50% off on Chicken Tikka today’. It was never a case with food, you paid whatever price was mentioned on the menu card and had to pay an additional tip. However, food aggregators have changed everything. Even food is not left alone and is now marred with discounts; after all these years, is all we can say.

That said Swiggy and Zomato, no matter how big a rival they may be of each other, agree on one thing and that discount. They both offer aggressive discounts on food along with UberEats and Foodpanda. These online aggregators are making a lot of offline retailers unhappy and that is the case with restaurants as well. A lot of restaurateurs are unhappy with the number of discounts these food aggregators are offering.

National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) are worried and are complaining about aggressive discounts these online food-tech companies are offering. That said, NRAI and all these food-tech companies are going to meet and find a solution. The argument is that the food-tech companies and online aggregators are supposed to bring restaurants and consumers closer. That is happening in a way but the discounts are only increasing the customer count but at a loss and no restaurateur wants that.

The restaurant business is not a high profile business and many small families run these restaurants. The e-commerce companies should keep this in mind as well. They cannot compete with such businesses and NRAI has to cope with chain restaurants and standalone restaurants as well. They have to take care of all their children and so do the e-commerce companies.

That said, the e-commerce companies are accused of data-masking, deep-discounts, and opening up their private labels with delivery kitchens being another thorn in the restaurateurs business. The new FDI’s new policy will also be discussed. The food-tech companies are also scanned for preferring their own kitchens over these restaurants which is not good for business.

– Unmesh Phule

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