Changes to the restaurant aggregator’s ‘Severe Food Quality’ rules – which were to take effect from April 18 – can “temporarily disable” online orders if consumers complain about a restaurant’s food quality.
Zomato has chosen to postpone the introduction of its new food hygiene and safety policy until May 3 due to restaurant sector worries over the Gurugram-based meal-delivery platform’s implementation.
On April 15, ET reported that revisions to the restaurant aggregator’s ‘Severe Food Quality’ guidelines, which were set to go into effect on April 18, may “temporarily disable” online orders if customers complained about a restaurant’s food quality.
Within hours of restaurants accusing Zomato of being one-sided in its new food quality standards, the delivery platform increased communication with its partners to indicate peace and prevent any hasty action. Fearing a ban based on consumer complaints, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) president Kabir Suri has already expressed industry concerns to Zomato co-founder Mohit Gupta.
In a fast-paced day, Zomato said late Friday that it was delaying the implementation of the new food quality guideline until May 3 from April 18. The meal delivery platform has also requested comments from establishments on the regulatory framework by April 22. To ease restaurant owners’ concerns about a ban, the business stated that instances relevant to the policy framework had been reviewed.
“The disablement will be in consultation with the restaurant management and will only be applicable till necessary remedial actions are undertaken and verified through a FSSAI approved hygiene and safety auditor,” the company told restaurant partners in an email that Business Standard has reviewed.
“While the intent of the policy is good, the way Zomato is trying to implement it is a matter of concern. It could turn out to be a draconian move for budget restaurants and small cloud kitchens on the platform,” said Pranav Rungta, head of the Mumbai chapter of NRAI.
“How will Zomato really ascertain if the complaint is genuine through a customer support executive sitting in a call centre and looking at a photo of the food shared by the consumer,” he asked. “We can take the responsibility of the food till it leaves the restaurants.
Zomato also stated that it will work closely with its restaurant partners to determine the veracity of any complaints submitted. Following that, the restaurant may be temporarily removed off the platform if a satisfactory resolution is not provided within a reasonable period, it stated.
After that a mix up may happen at the delivery executives’ end or even after it reaches a customer,” added Rungta.