The food delivery and dining app Zomato announced on Friday that it would physically audit cloud kitchens that operate more than ten brands from a single location to prevent operator fraud.
Zomato stated in a blog post that even the most organized outlets in the sector don’t perceive operational benefits and consumer trust in operating too many brands from a single kitchen, “yet there is no perfect science to the optimal number of brands.”
The food aggregator cited recent statements by the government agency Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that cloud kitchen firms are permitted to run several brands under a single FSSAI license.
It claimed that certain fly-by-night operators, who make up fewer than 0.2% of licenced kitchens, abuse this legal latitude by launching countless brands from a single kitchen.
According to Zomato, these firms sell products with little to no distinction; instead, they deceive/confuse clients by giving them the impression that there are many options when there aren’t any.
“On our platform, most of the brands these operators operate likewise receive bad reviews and ratings.
Such businesspeople damage the reputation of the restaurant sector as a whole, harming all of us in several ways “The blog article stated.
According to the blog article, these operators frequently develop many brands with no difference in the natural product (dishes or the actual culinary experience) supplied to clients, which further explains why this results in a terrible customer experience.
The food aggregator added that managing various brands and cuisines is operationally challenging and, without the proper SOP and control, results in significant discrepancies in food quality and hygienic practices.
According to Zomato, it has been collaborating with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the other restaurant partners over the last few weeks to develop the best strategy to stop these activities.
“After discussions with Zomato, we decided that this was a workable temporary solution in which the Zomato team does a first physical examination of such locations.
“Together with the Zomato team, we will determine if these kitchens adhere to accepted industry standards and offer remedies if not. The goal is establishing and maintaining a thriving ecology, “said NRAI President Kabir Suri.
Future physical locations that operate more than ten brands out of a single place will be carefully checked, according to Zomato.
Other than the operators indicated above, the aggregator said it would allow restaurant partners that offer an outstanding experience from this manual inspection, so they do not have delays while growing the scope of their companies.
Restaurant partners that do not make the allowlist but think they serve several brands (more than 10) from the same premises get in touch with the company.
“Our teams will evaluate your projected offering, the cooking area (will it be big enough to accommodate and do justice to a variety of cuisines), and previous Zomato consumer feedback for your active listings, among other factors. We would also work with FSSAI to support our authorities at their request, “said the blog post.
The decision by Zomato follows a Twitter discussion over various brands being handled by the same kitchen that took place a few weeks ago.
It recommended dining establishment partners that do not make the allowlist but feel they provide a significant number of distinctive brands (more than 10) from the