Food ordering app Zomato on Monday announced its expansion in 17 new cities in India, taking the total to 213 cities.
The new cities are Bulandshahr, Shahjahanpur, Solan, Palwal, Rewari, Machilipatnam, Nandyal, Bhimavaram, Ongole, Srikakulam, Kadapa, Kottayam, Kollam, Khanna, Gurdaspur, Ambur and Deoghar.
“We have been adding almost one city to our portfolio every day since December 2018. Our next target is to deliver food across 500 cities in India by the end of September 2019,” Mohit Gupta, CEO, Food Delivery, Zomato, said in a statement.
Zomato has around 1.8 lakh delivery partners in the country.
“Emerging cities are a major growth avenue for us and we expect them to constitute more than 50 per cent of total order volume by the end of the year,” said Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.
The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) on Saturday 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.
Zomato has announced to take its Gold programme where existing and new Zomato Gold members will be able to use Gold for home delivery orders. The programme is currently available in 16 cities.
Zomato Gold was till date available only on eating out at fine-dine restaurants.
“It is another instance of Zomato changing the goalpost. Gold was originally launched as a tool to promote the culture of ‘dining out’, but now it is being extended on deliveries too,” said NRAI, which has been at loggerheads with Zomato regarding the Gold programme over deep discounting practices.
“Essentially, it is now a programme that merely promotes ‘deep discounts’ on both dine-in and delivery verticals, the cost of which is borne solely by the restaurant partners,” the restaurants’ trade body added.
NRAI also said that it continues to remain firm in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is an unacceptable proposition.
“We expressed the same unequivocally to the Zomato team in our recent talks. However, in utter disregard to the viability of the restaurant fraternity, they have chosen to extend the programme further to the delivery vertical as well,” the NRAI said.
“The NRAI remains steadfast in its belief that Zomato Gold in its current form is not acceptable in either dine-in or delivery segment,” Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI, had said in a statement.
According to the NRAI, Zomato’s move will be calamitous to the business in the delivery segment and NRAI appeals to all restaurants and cloud kitchen entrepreneurs to stay away from Zomato Gold on delivery.
“Offer right quality at the right price, rather than falling for such discount gimmicks,” NRAI told Zomato, adding that the #ZoGoIsNoGo campaign is on and “we continue to #StayLoggedOut.”
According to Zomato, food delivery was in its early stages when it launched the Gold programme in 2017.
“We thank our restaurant partners for all the feedback, and users for the love they have shown towards Zomato Gold. It is very much these conversations, that led us to put forward a better and bigger Gold programme,” Gaurav Gupta, Co-founder and COO, Zomato, said in a statement.
The Gold programme drives 25-30 per cent business for its restaurant partners and more and more Gold users (90 per cent) are exploring new restaurants because of the programme.
“It, therefore, makes eminent sense to extend this discovery behaviour to the delivery restaurant base,” said Gupta.
Zomato has always been hellbent to make its contentious Gold programme available for delivery.
“With over 13,000 establishments across 41 cities, Zomato Gold for Delivery brings a wide choice of great restaurants to Zomato Gold members,” added Mohit Gupta, CEO, Delivery, Zomato.