Zomato will inspect cloud kitchens hosting more than 10 brands

Food aggregator Zomato Friday said he would perform physical inspection of cloud kitchens who run more than 10 brands from one place in an effort to combat operator abuse. “While there is no exact science for the right number of brands, we believe that even the most organized outlets in the industry fail to see the operational benefits and customer confidence in operating too many brands from one kitchen,” Zomato said in a blog post. .

The food aggregator pointed out that in the recent past, the statutory body Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) also stated that cloud kitchen entities are free to operate multiple brands on a single FSSAI license.

However, he argued that some underground operators, who represent less than 0.2% of registered kitchens, abuse this flexibility of the law by creating countless brands from the same kitchen.

According to Zomato, these brands have little to no differentiation in product offering; instead, they confuse/deceive customers by creating a false perception of choice, when none of that actually exists.

“Most of the brands run by these operators also have terrible reviews and ratings on our platform. These operators are tarnishing the reputation of the restaurant industry as a whole, hurting us all in more ways than one,” he said in the blog.

Explaining why this leads to a poor customer experience, the blog said these operators often create multiple brands with very little differentiation in the actual product (dishes or food experience itself) offered to customers.

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Additionally, managing multiple brands and kitchens is operationally complex, and unless done with the right SOP and oversight, it leads to strong inconsistencies in food quality and hygiene, said the food aggregator.

Zomato said over the past few weeks that he has been engaging with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the other partner restaurants to formulate the right approach to curb such practices.

“After deliberations with Zomato, we felt this was an acceptable interim solution in which the Zomato team performs a preliminary physical inspection of these locations.

“We will continue to work with the Zomato team to determine if these kitchens meet acceptable industry standards and suggest solutions for this. The idea is to create and nurture a healthy ecosystem,” said Kabir Suri, president of the NRAI.

“Going forward, we will manually verify any physical location that handles more than 10 brands from a single location,” Zomato said.

The aggregator said it will whitelist partner restaurants that provide a great experience other than the operators mentioned above from this manual verification so they don’t face delays while expanding reach. of their activities.

He suggested partner restaurants who are not on the whitelist and who believe they serve highly differentiated brands (more than 10) in the same premises to get in touch with the company.

“Our teams will review your offer proposal, kitchen space (is it large enough to accommodate and do justice to multiple kitchens), historical customer experience on Zomato for your existing listings among others. We will also work with the FSSAI at their request so that it helps our authorities,” the blog post added.

Zomato’s decision follows a Twitter thread a few weeks ago about multiple brands run by the same kitchen.

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