Why the NRAI wants to cut out the middleman of aggregator platforms like Swiggy and Zomato
At a recent townhall webinar, The National Restaurant Association of India discussed the need for restaurants to reprioritise direct delivery
National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), a voice of the Indian restaurant industry, in their Townhall 4.0 recently discussed the importance of ‘direct order and the way to get your business future-ready’.
At the townhall, held virtually, prominent chefs and restaurant owners discussed the importance and challenges of enabling customers to order food directly from restaurants, instead of being solely dependent on aggregator apps like Swiggy and Zomato.
Though the multiple lockdowns to check the spread of COVID-19, since March 2020, many restaurants have survived purely on deliveries, all the while paying a large chunk of their profits to food aggregators. Aggregators take a large percentage of the restaurants’ delivery revenues (as much as 30 – 40 %, by some restaurateurs’ estimates) and are unwilling to share customer-related data (like identity of the customer and where the order came from) with restaurants, observed the panellists.
Discussing the benefits of customers directly ordering from the restaurants, the townhall stressed on the need to make use of easily available tools like social media and delivery apps for last mile delivery. Apart from maximising profits, restaurateurs also highlighted that this will enable them to give customers the best possible price.
Gauri Devidayal, CEO and founder of Food Matters and the owner of Mumbai-based The Table, spoke on making food travel-ready and how to decide which part of the menu is good for delivery.
‘No better time’
Referring to the session as ‘Back to the Future’, Riyaaz Amlani, CEO and MD of Impresario Handmade Restaurants, that runs multi-city brands like SOCIAL, Smoke House Deli, Mocha and more, said, “Five years ago, there were no aggregators and we were directly communicating with our guests. That is why our industry is known as the hospitality industry. There is no better time than this to go back to building our own customer base and serving them directly once more. In the past few years, we have gotten complacent and lazy when it comes to delivering an order to the customer at home, allowing aggregators to keep our database from us. Today, we don’t know who we are serving, and that needs fixing.”
Bengaluru-based chef-partner Manu Chandra of The Fatty Bao, Monkey Bar and Toast & Tonic explained how the pandemic made them rethink their own business, “The USP of the brand doesn’t matter as long as the food meets the customer’s expectations. We noticed that a simple menu and a simple tech interface makes it easy for customers — across all age groups — to get what they want.”