Zomato, Swiggy under the spotlight as restaurant owners send petitions to CCI

Competition Commission of India (CCI) has received petitions from restaurant owners, accusing the food delivery aggregators of wrongdoings

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With hundreds of restaurant owners sending petitions to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) alleging foul play by food aggregator companies, Zomato earlier this week said they were discussing the matter with the involved restaurant partners to achieve a reasonable solution which would benefit everyone.

According to the petition in January, food aggregators Swiggy, Zomato, Uber Eats and Foodpanda were allegedly misusing their dominant positions by engaging in practices such as deep discounting, in-house kitchens and internal sourcing.

The e-commerce business earlier faced similar allegations where small businesses accused Flipkart and Amazon of deep discounting affecting their sales on their online marketplace. The restaurant owners believe that their businesses will be wiped out if the food delivery companies are allowed to continue in the way they are functioning.

While denying reports that they run any in-house kitchens, Zomato, which lists over 80,000 restaurants across about 150 cities in India, argued that those partners who are not happy with the discounting programmes could discontinue their association. 

The petition reportedly asked the CCI to "put an end to unsustainable pricing by these companies, prohibition of cross-holdings of food services, delivery company to own or have a stake in any kitchen/restaurant, and appointing food regulators to ensure that a level playing field is not breached in the garb of cutthroat competition".

Zomato on Monday announced the introduction of bicycles (both mechanical and electric) - into its last mile delivery fleet and said that it was working towards raising the scale of e-cycle adoption with the aim of converting 40 percent of our fleet to power-assisted bikes within the next two years.

According to a report in Gadgets 360, a Zomato spokesperson argued that far from destroying the small and mid-sized restaurant industry as has been alleged by some, the company had been "able to deliver long-term growth for our restaurant partners by connecting them with more users".

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