“This logout campaign as it seems now, is driven by Rahul Singh, along with participation of a few large restaurant owners, to use the NRAI (National Restaurants Association of India) platform to sabotage aggregators and benefit themselves on a democratised platform like Zomato,” Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal wrote in a three-point tweet. Taking a dig at NRAI President and The Beer Café founder Rahul Singh, Goyal called him out on the beer chain’s own “Gold” programme, saying that Singh wasn’t “against deep discounts, as these discounts [were] being offered on his own brand, on his own app”. “This is not about aggregators vs restaurants; this is about the small restaurant owner vs the large restaurant owner — and we are being painted as bullies,” Goyal added.

The Beer Café’s Gold Plan seems to have been halted

According to the screenshots shared by Goyal in his tweet, The Beer Café offers an annual package worth Rs 999 which provides unlimited claims/redemptions on 1+1 offers either on food or beverages. However, when we downloaded The Beer Café’s app, we couldn’t spot the programme on it. Goyal’s tweet had highlighted an option called ‘Beerocrat’ on the app, but we couldn’t spot that option.

The ‘Beerocrat’ option was missing

We did, however, find Beerocrat’s login page on the internet; but, couldn’t register as new users, since we couldn’t click on the ‘Register Now’ option.

We couldn’t click the ‘Register Now’ option

Zomato’s proposed changed to its Gold service

Goyal’s response comes after Zomato had sent an email to partner restaurants, rejigging certain provisions under the company’s Gold programme. MediaNama has reviewed a copy of the email, and it proposed the following changes, which will come into effect before September 15:

  • Limiting the use of  Gold usage by a single user to one unlock per day: Users hop between restaurants “claiming 1+1 starters at one place, 1+1 main course at another, and 2+2 drinks at some other”, the mail said, before adding that limiting the use of the service to one unlock per day would “ensure that customers complete their dining experience at a single restaurant”.
  • 2 Gold unlocks per table: The mail noted that a big problem faced by restaurants was multiple number of Gold unlocks per table, so it limited it to a maximum of 2.
  • Highlighting that login sharing of Gold led to “illegitimate” unlocks, the mail said that Zomato would restrict a user’s login ID to a single mobile device at a time so that login sharing becomes “impossible”.
  • Apart from discontinuing trial packs for Gold membership, Zomato said that it’ll set a “minimum floor on Gold membership fee” and not sell the annual membership for less than Rs 1,800.
  • Gold restaurants that have a minimum of 1,000 Gold unlocks per quarter per outlet, and get an average cumulative rating of 4.5+ for Gold visits during that quarter, will get ads credit worth Rs 25,000 per outlet per quarter.
  • For all Gold partners with a minimum of 600 unlocks per quarter, Zomato would shoot brand videos for them free of charge and distribute them “widely” on its platform.
  • No sign-up fee: All restaurants that dropped out of Gold during the logout campaign and sign back up before 26th August, wouldn’t be required to pay the sign-up fee to return.

NRAI had however called these changes a “knee jerk reaction”, and had urged restaurants to stay logged out of the platform.

The NRAI had started a #Logout campaign on August 14 claiming that it was protesting “against aggregators who have distorted a vibrant marketplace by aggressive discounting and predatory pricing”. About 1,200 restaurants had de-listed themselves from platforms such as Zomato Gold, EazyDiner, and Dineout’s Gourmet Passport, among others. In the aftermath of this campaign, Goyal had tweeted, on August 17, that Zomato had made “mistakes” and things hadn’t gone according to plan. He said that they needed to “do 100x more for our restaurant partners than we have done before”.