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Zomato to start manual checks on cloud kitchens with more than 10 brands



Food aggregator and delivery platform Zomato will start doubling down on kitchen operators that operate multiple cloud kitchen brands. Zomato on Friday said that it will start manually checking physical locations of kitchens that run more than 10 brands out of a single location. It will also start displaying information of multiple brands linked to a kitchen on the restaurant’s page on Zomato.

This comes after one restaurant in Bengaluru was found to be operating around 200 cloud kitchen brands from a single kitchen, with most restaurants having lower ratings. This was first brought to notice by a Twitter user who found a list of restaurants on Swiggy and Zomato that operated under the same FSSAI licence. This he claimed operated from a single cloud kitchen.

This is not entirely illegal, as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allows a registered entity (with a single FSSAI licence) to supply its product to any number of brands as long as FSSAI norms are complied with. However, in the case of this Bengaluru-based kitchen, most of its brands were knock offs of popular Bengaluru restaurants and had ratings of 3.5 or below.

Zomato too, has said that while there are cloud kitchens that create and operate multiple brands serviced from the same kitchen, there are exceptions. “Such as some fly-by-night operators, who account for less than 0.2 percent of registered kitchens, misuse this flexibility in law by creating innumerable brands from the same kitchen. These brands have little to no differentiation in the product offering; instead they confuse/cheat customers by creating a false perception of choice, while none of it actually exists. 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, hurting all of us in more ways than one,” Zomato Co-Founder Mohit Gupta wrote in a post.

Also Read: Swiggy, Zomato among top 10 food delivery platforms in the world

To curb these practices, Zomato will not only manually check locations of brands running more than 10 brands, it is also engaging with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the other restaurant partners to curb these practices. Zomato is also looking to jointly create parameters to avoid the misuse of aggregator platforms.

“While there is no exact science to the right number of brands, we believe that even the most organised outlets in the industry don’t see operational benefits and customer trust in operating too many brands from a single kitchen,” Gupta wrote.

Through its manual checks, Zomato will also ‘whitelist’ restaurant partners that it finds provide better experience than other operators. It is also allowing restaurant partners to reach out to Zomato, should they not make it to the whitelist.

“Our teams will review your proposed offering, kitchen space (is it large enough to host and do justice to multiple cuisines), historic customer experience on Zomato for your existing listings among other things. We will also collaborate with FSSAI at their request so that it helps our authorities,” Gupta added.

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