Sodexo and Zeta are expanding from meal benefits and have signed a strategic partnership where they will start offering companies solutions to manage medical, fuel, leave and travel allowances for employees.  Suvodeep Das, vice president of marketing at Sodexo, told MediaNama that the two companies are working on a co-branded app for the other allowances.  Through the partnership, Zeta will act as technology provider while Sodexo will bring in expertise in the B2B domain of sales.

Note that Zeta and Sodexo operate in the employee benefits space and both have offerings for the meal benefits but these will continue to exist separately. The partnership will also allow Zeta’s meal benefits programme to be accepted at Sodexo’s outlets, as indicated by this Economic Times report. The publication added that every transaction done on the Sodexo network will go through the Zeta platform, and during the settlement, Sodexo will be paying Zeta a particular amount.

Currently, Sodexo has 11,000 clients and the partnership will give a boost to Zeta which currently has a client base of over 650 corporates.

Increasing acceptance networks

Sodexo has an independent network of 30,000 terminals in 15,000 outlets across 700 cities in India. But it is looking to grow its acceptance network. Earlier this month, Sodexo signed a partnership with point-of-sale (POS) provider Mswipe where employees can use Sodexo’s Meal Card at some Mswipe merchants like grocery stores, restaurants, cafes and food delivery services. Manish Patel, CEO of Mswipe told MediaNama that more than 30,000 merchants will be able to use Sodexo’s meal card in the first phase.

Meanwhile, Zeta has partnered with card network RuPay to issue a pre-paid card called Zeta Super Card for employees.With this, employees can pay with the pre-paid card at over 12 lakh RuPay enabled POS terminals.

Meal vouchers cannot be in paper form

The employee benefits space has started heating up following the Reserve Bank of India’s draft guidelines which say that meal vouchers cannot be issued in paper form anymore and will have to move to digital means by the end of 2017. Last month, Paytm had launched a Food Wallet where companies will be allowed to load food allowance to employees under the government’s approved tax redemption bracket.

Edenred, which runs Ticket Restaurant and is present in the meal benefits programme, also said it is in the process of moving to a digital platform. The company said that it has converted 60% of the business volume on to digital meal cards, as indicated by this Economic Times report.