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Despite Logout Campaign, More Restaurants Joining Gold: Zomato

The NRAI, however, said that it continues to remain firm in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is an unacceptable proposition

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Zomato, Dining, Gold
Home-grown restaurant search and delivery platform Zomato on Friday introduced the "Infinity Dining" plan for its "Gold" subscribers that allows them to have unlimited buffet at partner restaurants. Pixabay

Zomato on Tuesday said that despite the Logout campaign run by the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), more dine-out restaurants have joined its Gold programme in days that followed, and those who returned to Gold have seen a 100 per cent increase in revenue.

At the start of the Logout campaign that began on August 15, Zomato had 6,100 restaurants in India on Zomato Gold for dining out.

“As of today, we have 6,300 restaurants in India on Gold (for dining out). In addition to that, we have 10,000 restaurants that are participating in recently launched Zomato Gold for delivery,” the company said in a statement.

The NRAI has slammed Zomato for extending its “Gold” programme on its delivery platform, saying it is a desperate attempt by the online food aggregator to shore up the sinking fortunes of its flagship Gold programme.

According to Zomato, the number of restaurants participating in Gold outside of India stands at 6,500.

The company said it now have 1.4 million members worldwide on Zomato Gold who are using their privileges more than thrice a month.

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Founded in 1982, the NRAI represents the interests of over 5 lakh restaurants. Pixabay

“So far, less than 5 per cent restaurants participate in Zomato Gold, and less than 5 per cent of our MAUs (monthly active users) are Gold members. There’s so much headroom to grow here,’ said the company.

“Some restaurant owners in India campaigned against Zomato Gold last month (#logout campaign); we engaged with the restaurant owner community and rolled out some changes to the programme that were widely accepted by most restaurants, as well as users,” the online food aggregator said.

Bengaluru-based research firm RedSeer reported last month that Zomato Gold has been a game changer in terms of driving the dine-out habits of customers, saying there has been a 20 per cent decline in bill volumes for partners after they logged out of Zomato Gold programme.

Gold partners witnessed growth over 35 per cent growth in bill volumes after partnering with Zomato Gold and weekday growth has been marginally better than weekend growth, it added.

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“Ninety per cent of Zomato Gold Members try out new restaurants just because of the programme. Dine-out frequency for Gold members has increased from 2.8 to 3.3 times/month after subscribing to Gold membership and is 50 per cent higher than that of non-Gold members,” the findings showed.

The NRAI, however, said that it continues to remain firm in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is an unacceptable proposition. (IANS)

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McDonald’s Reveals Plan to Open More Drive-Thru Restaurants in UK

McDonald's reopened 39 restaurants in England and Ireland last week

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McDonald's plans to open more number of UK branches. Pixabay

Fast-food giant McDonald’s revealed a plan to open all of its drive-thru restaurants in the UK in the coming weeks and has”not forgotten” about people in the north of England, it was reported on Monday to World and International News.

The company reopened 39 restaurants in England and Ireland last week as it prepared to get back up and running with new safety measures in place, but all of the English locations were in the south east, reports the Metro nwespaper.

In a message to customers, McDonald’s Chief Executive Paul Pomroy said: “To help us test the new procedures and to slowly restart our supply chain, the pilot restaurants in the UK are all located close to our head office and to one of our distribution centres in the south east.

“I promise I have not forgotten about any part of the UK or Ireland. We are taking our time to test the new ways of working in our restaurants, ensuring that we can continue to help our teams to work safely, and to get back to the communities we have proudly served for so many years.”

Pomroy further said that McDonald’s will make a further announcement this week about reopening more restaurants and expanding its delivery service.

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The workers on each site will be reduced to ensure safety, McDonald’s has said. Pixabay

Last week, Police were called to a drive-thru McDonald’s in Peterborough on the first day it reopened after easing of the COVID-19 lockdown because the queue at the outlet went out of hand.

Also Read: COVID-19 Restrictions Cause Disruption in Vaccination Programs: WHO, Other Organisations

Six of the 30 new drive-thrus that have opened across the country were in Peterborough.

The fast-food giant has brought in social distancing measures to keep workers safe, with staff receiving temperature checks before each shift.

The number of workers on each site will be reduced to ensure safety, the company has said. (IANS)

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National Capital Delhi Makes a Gradual Comeback

The city of Delhi has slowly and gradually reopened

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Shutters are lifted and shops spruced up as Delhi's markets open after two months as lockdown restrictions are eased. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Signs are being spruced up and prayers performed as shops in the Indian capital open their shutters after two months with the gradual easing of a stringent lockdown.

Markets were allowed to reopen recently after the government signaled economic activity must resume, even as the fight against the COVID -19 pandemic continues. Traffic is humming on once-deserted streets as buses and auto rickshaws have been given the go-ahead to operate.

However, people in the city of nearly 20 million — one of the worst-hit in the country — remain hesitant about venturing out as cases of coronavirus touched record highs in recent days.

Shop owners, hoping to slowly emerge from the economic pain imposed by a weekslong shutdown, have instituted new rules to cope with the pandemic.

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Though markets are open, they are seeing few customers as people remain wary amid the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“We’ve restricted it to three people at a time for browsing, and then we have new checks and measures in place where we first check the person’s temperature, we give them hand sanitizer and we have started giving everyone a pair of gloves as well,” said Rajni Malhotra, owner of Bahrisons Booksellers, a 65-year-old landmark in one of the city’s most iconic markets.

The city is only partially open — shopping malls, restaurants, schools and colleges still remain closed and offices can only have limited staff.  Even in markets that have opened, only half the shops open every day to avoid crowding. Delhi accounts for about 10% of India’s infections.

“We have a twofold challenge — to reduce the transmission rate of the disease, and to increase public activity gradually,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in an address to the country two weeks ago. “Coronavirus is going to be part of our lives for a long time. But we can’t let our lives revolve around it,” he said.

Shop owners even sanitize customers’ purchases to reassure people still wary of entering markets. Among those that sold some goods is a store that sells kitchen equipment — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking have been therapy for some of those confined indoors.

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A customer turns up to buy baking tins — in Delhi, like much of the world, cooking and baking has been a therapy for people confined indoors. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

However, a sense of unease remains as once-buzzing markets see only a sprinkling of customers, who mostly visit shops selling groceries and other essentials.

“There is this feeling that complete your work fast and then return home,” said Aparajita Pant, a city resident who had come to buy food for her pets.

“Earlier one would like to linger around, there are so many interesting shops here but as of now, there is that cautious approach, at least in me,” she said.

That is not good news for some shop owners. Not a single person had walked into Leena Mehra’s shop selling handicrafts and silver jewelry during the first two days.

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Most customers head to shops selling essentials like groceries and medicines. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

“It’s depressing. We have to open the shop, we don’t have any choice,” she said.

“We know it is difficult for us to sell this product to the consumer because right now the mindset of the people is not at all in this direction, but we will try,” she said.

The pandemic has left its mark on a city whose love for shopping and being well turned out made it a retailers’ paradise.

“One would take more efforts to get maybe a little better dressed, but now you come here, avoid jewelry, avoid wearing even a watch, I am not even wearing my earrings,” Pant said ruefully.

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Shops display signs asking people to wear masks and take precautions as new rules are put in place to cope with the COVID 19 pandemic. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)

Even budget accessories and clothes being sold from small stalls tucked in the market’s narrow lanes have few takers. That is disappointing for low-income workers who say they desperately need to start earning again.

“Everybody needs money. If customers don’t come and this atmosphere persists, it will not be easy to face the problem created by this pandemic,” said a despondent Lucky Arya, as he helped set up a stall to sell summer clothes.

The wait for customers is also long for auto rickshaw drivers waiting on sidewalks.

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Auto rickshaw drivers don’t see too many customers as most people still hesitate to venture outside. (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
 A once-familiar sight as they skillfully negotiated their way through Delhi’s often chaotic traffic, they too have been scarred by the pandemic because of new rules allowing only one passenger instead of the customary two to ensure social distancing.

Also Read: COVID-19 Makes it Difficult to Manage Cancer Care: Oncologist

Mohammad Parvez Khan decided to brave the city’s sizzling summer temperatures to ply his auto rickshaw even during Ramadan because his savings were running out.

“Only we know how we passed these last two months,” he said.

“Every day, when I fasted, I prayed that let the coronavirus go quickly, and may everything come back to how it used to be,” he said. (VOA)

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All Our Employees Will Continue to be With Us at 50 % Salary for the Next 6 Months: Zomato CEO

Zomato lays off 13% workforce due to the pandemic

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Zomato
Zomato lays off 13% workforce and up to 50% salary will be cut for the rest of the employees due to the pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

Hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal on Friday announced to lay off nearly 13 per cent of its workforce — over 600 employees — via Zoom calls, along with salary cuts for the rest of the employees for at least the next six months starting June, with higher cuts going up to 50 per cent for people in senior roles.

Stressing that the company needs to prepare itself for things getting worse, Goyal said that multiple aspects of his business have changed dramatically over the last couple of months and many of these changes are expected to be permanent.

“While we continue to build a more focused Zomato, we do not foresee having enough work for all our employees. We owe all our colleagues a challenging work environment, but we won’t be able to offer that to 13 per cent of our workforce going forward,” he said in a detailed statement.

Over the next couple of days, the company will get on Zoom video calls with the impacted employees to walk them through the next steps and help them find jobs as soon as possible.

“All our employees, who no longer have any work at Zomato, will continue to be with us at 50 per cent salary for the next 6 months,” said Goyal.

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To conserve cash flows, hundreds of Zomato employees have taken deep voluntary salary cuts as hinted by Goyal in March. (Representational Image). Pixabay

“Some impacted employees work with us through manpower agencies and not directly on our payroll. We are going to help these agencies support these employees with two months of severance (vs 15 days of contractual obligation),” he added.

In March, Goyal had hinted that to conserve cash flows, hundreds of Zomato employees have taken deep voluntary salary cuts.

Zomato is offering those who are laid off to keep their company-issued laptops and phones (if any), saying that previously allocated ESOPs will continue to vest “during this period of 6 months, as all these people will remain on our payroll with reduced pay”.

Starting June, said Goyal, the company proposed a temporary reduction in pay for the entire organisation.

“Lower cuts are being proposed for people with lower salaries, and higher cuts (up to 50 per cent) for people with higher salaries,” informed Goyal.

If someone has already taken a voluntary cut equal to or more than the proposed temporary reduction in pay, he or she will not be expected to take an additional cut.

“This temporary reduction in pay will also be eligible for 2x ESOP grants just like the earlier voluntary cuts. I foresee (and hope) this to be around 6 months from now,” said the Zomato CEO.

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Many restaurants remain shut due to the pandemic, which has severely affected
Zomato’s business. Pixabay

Zomato’s business has been severely affected by the Covid-19 induced lockdown as a large number of restaurants have already shut down permanently.

“I expect the number of restaurants to shrink by 25-40 per cent over the next 6-12 months. What actually happens, for better or worse, is anybody’s guess,” Goyal said.

He, however, said that the company’s burn rate is significantly down from the pre-Covid levels.

Read More: “We Have to Learn to Live With COVID-19”, Says Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain

“We are, however, going to prepare ourselves for things getting worse. Covid-19 has been a black swan event for the world economy; and we do not yet know if we have hit the global minima in this journey with the virus,” said Goyal.

“Therefore, we need to make sure that we preserve as much cash as possible to weather the storm if the business environment gets worse, or continues to be the same for the rest of the year or more,” he added.

Zomato has over 150 offices globally.

Goyal also announced plans to make partial or full work from home a permanent feature.

This includes full-time work from home or at the field (for sales teams, office presence is only required for large team meetings, gatherings, performance reviews), part-time work from home (some days in office, other days at home), and work from office (all days in office). (IANS)