Times Internet Ltd (Indiatimes)* which had recently launched a new deals site ‘TimesDeal‘, seems to have added a new dedicated section for food, and interestingly it offers deals on individual ‘dishes’ rather than offering discounts or freebies. We feel that offering discounts on individual dishes instead of offering meal combos or ‘buy one get one’ offers is a move to rope in restaurants that complained of not getting repeat customers after expiration of deals, and hesitated in offering deals. Since the customer would not just order a single dish, he would end up paying more. However, it would still pull a lot of people who would not visit the restaurant otherwise, so it’s a win-win situation for both. Deals not encouraging repeat visits was one of the reasons why Zomato said that it was going slow when it comes to introducing restaurant deals.

The website currently seems to offer deals in cities that TimesDeal is currently in business i.e. Delhi-NCR, Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Kolkata, Chennai and Pan-India. Featuring the same interface as TimesDeal, this section seems to offer deals spanning across various cuisines like Indian, Chinese, and Italian although there is currently no method to filter between different cuisines. As expected, these deals are time-bound and highly discounted, with discounts going up to 88%, as per the website listings at the time of writing this post.

Interestingly, we also noticed a few Indiatimes shopping deals retailing instant recipes and mixes on the website, apart from in-house deals. These listings, upon clicking, led to Indiatimes shopping pages where one could order the respective products. Hence, it might be possible that Indiatimes uses the dishes section to push its other food-related offerings which present on its online shopping venture, Indiatimes Shopping, through similar deals.

As anticipated earlier, this section along with the rest of TimesDeal will be a part of the group’s print push, showing city-specific daily deals in their newspapers. In fact, TimesDeal published an ad in today’s Times of India Bangalore edition, promoting the section.With daily deal sites mushrooming all over, the print backing will probably give a competitive edge to the Times Group, over other daily deal sites like Snapdeal, Crazeal (previously Groupon India), MyDala and Deals And You.

Another interesting point to note is that, unlike other daily deals sites which are still dominated by spa, pubs and tattoo studio deals, a dedicated section for food and beverages should theoretically do better for both consumers as well as for restaurants, if implemented correctly.

Note: this is our take based on what we’ve seen. We’ll update in case we get any further inputs from Indiatimes.

*Disclosure: Indiatimes is an advertiser with MediaNama