Zomato Gold, the paid subscription product from Zomato, which allows users to get complimentary food or drinks at around 2000 restaurants in Hyderabad, Pune, Delhi-NCR, Mumbai and Bangalore, is going to be invite-only from 27th April, Deepinder Goyal, founder and CEO of Zomato announced in a blog post.

Zomato Gold was launched in India in November last year and since then it was giving membership on flash-sale kind of model, where it was opening the purchase window at regular intervals but only for few hours every month. Goyal added in the blog, that before going invite-only, Zomato will open one last purchase window on 27th April itself. What is unclear though is how the invite process will work. Will existing subscribers have a certain number of invites they can send to others (like how Google does it for new products)? Or will Zomato be in charge of sending out the invites which can then be shared (similar to invite only sales on Amazon)?

Pricing up

Zomato Gold subscription was started with a launch price of Rs 299 for a quarter, and Rs 999 per year with a limit of 10,000 subscribers. In a blog earlier, Goyal said that the product pricing is 2.5x (Rs 799 for a quarter, and Rs 1899 per year), and today (as on 24th April 2018) when we checked it on the Zomato app, the subscription is at Rs 2,599. However, it said in the app that these prices are for the users who want to buy the subscription right now, in they don’t want to wait. When I asked about the prices on and after 27th April over a chat assistance on the app, it said that it ‘cannot advise about that at the moment’.

It is unclear if prices will go up more or not because last time Goyal has said that the company may again increase the price of subscription, as he wrote that “maybe there’s still a tonne of room to increase pricing“.

Zomato Gold allows a customer, depending on the restaurant, a complimentary food item of the same or lower value as the food item ordered, or 2 complimentary drinks for every 2 drinks ordered. The complimentary drink will be the same as what has been ordered, and is not applicable to pitchers, buckets and full bottles. The food offer is not valid on special menus, thalis, buffets and set menus. Note that there must be at least two people on the table to avail Gold benefits, and that Zomato Gold is not valid on Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve/Day, New Year’s Eve/Day. It’s also not valid on home delivery or take-away, and cannot be clubbed with other discounts or offers.

Zomato Gold Rush

In the blog, Goyal said the latest number of Zomato Gold subscribers is 200,000, up 33% from 150,000 subscribers in March. Zomato had about 26,000 subscribers, apparently just around seven-eight hours after its launch, as per MediaNama estimates. (Read how we estimated that here)

In terms of financials, Zomato Gold contributes nearly 12% to Zomato’s monthly revenue. In MediaNama’s previous coverage of the new service, we pointed out that one reason for the sharp growth is the fact that Zomato is offering 1 month extra to users for each referral they get, and anyone who signs up with a referral code gets 25% off.

Also note that, as per Zomato’s terms and conditions, it has taken rights to auto-renew the subscription, taking authorisation to “debit your payment method linked to the Zomato platform”. However, in the March blog, Goyal said that the company wanted the product to be complete “terms and conditions free” for the end user. And it has been able to achieve 99.99% of that vision.