In a bid to combat operators'' misuse, Zomato, the food delivery and dining platform, has announced that it will conduct physical inspections of cloud kitchens which run more than ten brands out of a single location.
"While there is no exact understanding to the right number of brands, we believe that even the most regulated businesses in the industry do not see operational benefits and customer trust in excessive operating of too many brands," Zomato said in a blog post.
The food aggregator pointed out that recent past, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also stated that cloud kitchen organizations are free to operate multiple brands on a single FSSAI license.
Despite the claims, some fly-by-night operators, who account for less than 0.2 percent of registered kitchens, misuse this flexibility in law by allowing them to create incredible brands from the same kitchen.
According to Zomato, these brands have little to no differentiation in the product offering; instead, they confuse/cheat customers by forming a false perception of choice, while none of them is actually true.
"These operators operate a number of large corporations, making excellent reviews and ratings on our platform," says the owner. ''These operators tarnish the reputation of the restaurant industry as a whole, putting us in danger in more ways than one.
According to a blog post, operators often create multiple brands with very little differentiation in the actual product (dishes or the food experience itself) offered to customers.
Besides, managing multiple brands and cuisines is a complex process, and unless handled with the right SOP and supervision, this leads to high inconsistenencies in food quality and hygiene, according to the food aggregator.
Zomato has stated that it has worked with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and other restaurant partners in the last few weeks to develop a strategy to combat these practices.
"We agreed with Zomato for an acceptable interim solution, wherein the Zomato team undertakes a physical inspection of such sites.
"We will continue to work with the Zomato team in ascertaining whether these kitchens comply with industry standards and suggestions for solutions thereon," said Kabir Suri, President of NRAI.
"We will continue to manually inspect any physical location which includes more than ten brands out of a single location," Zomato said.
The aggregator said it will include restaurant partners who provide a decent experience other than the operators mentioned above from this manual check, so that they will avoid delays while expanding their scope.
It suggested that restaurant partners who do not make it to the whitelist and believe they are capable of serving quite differing brands (more than 10) from the same premises to get in touch with the company.
"Our teams will investigate your proposed offering, whether it be large enough to host and do justice to multiple cuisines," or a historic customer experience on Zomato, among other things. We will also collaborate with FSSAI on their request so it can assist our authorities," said the article.
Zomato''s decision comes after a Twitter thread a few weeks back on multiple brands being managed by a single kitchen.