India’s Restaurant Association Seeks Help From Commission To Resolve Issues With Food Aggregators.
The association has sent its recommendations to India’s competition regulator and has participated in various workshops conducted under them.
“Our issues with the food service aggregators have been in the public domain for fairly a long time,” said Anurag Kataria, president of the National Restaurant Association of India.
“We have been engaging with these aggregators for a year now. Unfortunately, we could not make any significant progress with that, and that is why we were compelled to move the Competition Commission of India to seek an investigation and direction.”
He said that the issues with them are simple; these are how e-commerce should function and how the relationship between e-commerce players and restaurants should be established.
The primary concerns are bundling of services, data masking and exorbitant commission charges, price parity agreements, deep discounting, forcing the restaurant partners to give discounts to maintain an appropriate listing, the exclusivity of listed restaurants, violation of platform neutrality, vertical integration, and lack of transparency on the platform.
“We are very hopeful that Competition Commission of India will take cognizance of our information, and they will carry out an investigation with the right guidelines which gives equitable rights to both operators and aggregators,” said Kataria.
“As restaurant owners, we totally understand the value of e-commerce. We are absolutely clear that if India has to hit the INR 5 trillion [$66.8 billion] economy mark, e-commerce has to play a significant role. But any e-commerce which grows without a bottom line cannot be termed as growth, and that is what exactly is happening in the food services space.”
He said that they are expecting the Competition Commission of India to conduct an investigation. “We will wait to go ahead.”
“As far as the National Restaurant Association of India is concerned, our doors are always open for the aggregators for dialogue to resolve them, but if we don’t make any progress with these dialogues, then it is a futile waste of time for everyone.”
“We have taken this step after failing to negotiate with them and are hoping that the Competition Commission of India will do the needful to make sure that the food service e-commerce ecosystem works out more profitably for every state,” he said.
Swiggy had raised $157 million last year at about a $3.7 billion valuation. Whereas, Zomato raised $250 million last year at a valuation of $5.4 billion.
(With inputs from ANI)
(Edited by Amrita Das and Saptak Datta)