Zomato, the food and beverage app, said Friday it will conduct physical inspections of cloud kitchens that run more than 10 brands from one location in an effort to curb operator malpractice.
“While there is no exact science for the right number of brands, we believe that even the most organized outlets in the industry are not seeing operational benefits and customer confidence in serving too many brands from one kitchen,” said Zomato. in a blog. after.
The food aggregator pointed out that in the recent past, the regulatory body Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also stated that cloud kitchen entities are free to operate multiple brands on a single FSSAI license.
However, it argued that some night flight operators, representing less than 0.2 percent of registered kitchens, are abusing this flexibility in the law by creating countless brands from the same kitchen.
According to Zomato, these brands have little to no differentiation in product offerings; instead, they confuse/deceive customers by creating a false perception of choice when it doesn’t actually exist.
“Most of the brands run by these operators also have terrible reviews and ratings on our platform. Such operators tarnish the reputation of the restaurant industry as a whole and harm us all in more ways than one,” the blog post reads.
Assuming why this leads to a poor customer experience, the blog post said that these operators often create multiple brands with very little differentiation in the actual product (dishes or the food experience itself) being offered to customers.
In addition, managing multiple brands and kitchens is operationally complex, and unless done with proper SOP and oversight, will lead to major inconsistencies in food quality and hygiene, the food aggregator said.
Zomato said it has been in contact with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the other restaurant partners in recent weeks to formulate the right approach to curb these practices.
“In consultation with Zomato, we found this to be an acceptable interim solution with the Zomato team conducting a preliminary physical inspection of such sites.
“We will continue to work with the Zomato team to determine whether these kitchens meet acceptable industry standards and propose solutions. The idea is to create and nurture a healthy ecosystem,” said Kabir Suri, president of NRAI.
“In the future, we will manually audit any physical location with more than 10 brands in one location,” said Zomato.
The aggregator said it will whitelist those restaurant partners who provide a great experience other than the operators mentioned above from this manual check so that they don’t experience delays as they expand the scope of their business.
It suggested restaurant partners who fail the whitelist and believe they serve highly differentiated brands (more than 10) from the same premises to interact with the company.
“Our teams will review your proposed offering, kitchen space (is it large enough to host and do justice to multiple kitchens), historical customer experience on Zomato for your existing offerings, among others. We will also work with FSSAI upon their request so that it helps our authorities,” the blog post added.
Zomato’s decision comes in the wake of a Twitter wire a few weeks back about several brands run by the same kitchen.