Aggregators have become digital landlords – NRAI IDENTIFIES AGGREGATOR ALTERNATIVES

Jamai Shasti - Bengali Food
Jamai Shasti - Bengali Food


With restaurants shut across the country, the food and beverage industry has been one of the worst-hit sectors, with more than 70 lakh people looking at a bleak future. The National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) represents more than 5 lakh restaurants in an approx. INR 4.25 Lakh Crore industry, and the Association have come together to unite the sector that is now burdened by a crisis in business subsequent to the outbreak of COVID-19 and the lockdown in India. The Association hosted the first-ever TownHall live-streamed on Facebook to address the concerns of the Restaurateurs seeking answers on the future of their businesses in a post-COVID-19 scenario. In a first, the food and beverage industry is coming together to develop and identify alternative digital platforms that will level the playing field between restaurants and food delivery platforms.

Aggregators have become digital landlords. While they came in to solve a genuine problem, their one-sided policies are destroying the business, especially small restaurants. The industry is working together to create an alternate technology solution to reorient and sustain their businesses in the post-COVID-19 world. The focus for the NRAI is on easy reconciliation, transparent pricing, cheaper delivery and protection of customer data. The solution will be driven by customer loyalty, Omni channel online sales, integrated payment gateways and digitised delivery logistics. They are even exploring to leverage social media platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Instagram to reach out to customers. The NRAI has also launched a Rise For Restaurants (R4R) programme for customers to support their favourite restaurants that will help them pay employees, retain staff and tide them through this lockdown.” Thomas Fenn, NRAI Managing Committee Member said.

The objective is to envision and create a seamless ‘digital dining’ experience that will make the customers feel safe while trying to preserve the warmth and emotion of dining out. The NRAI relies on State intervention to help bail the industry out of this situation and they are counting on Government support to come through to prevent the crash of an industry that not only nourishes but also provides a significant source of income and employment.

Anurag Katriar, President of NRAI; CEO & Executive Director of deGustibus Hospitality Pvt Ltd  says “Members of NRAI collectively own and operate some of the most popular restaurants and bars across the country. We feel that we have an ability to create the most comprehensive and attractive loyalty program with some of the best names in the business coming together on a single loyalty program across the nation. We reckon that there cannot be a better program than this in our trade. Once again, this will be by the industry and for the industry.

We have tied up with one of the largest player in this sphere and have already drawn out our blueprint and work is going on at a good pace. We will be in a position to launch this in a few months. 

While talking about these initiatives of NRAI, let me also reiterate that our current efforts are simply aimed at creating more viable alternatives for our members and not aimed at being rivals to other aggregators or their current programmes. These are our humble efforts as a responsible Industry body to address the big concerns of the larger food service fraternity and work towards their long-term wellbeing. “