Restaurants have made stray attempts against fees charged by Zomato and Swiggy without success. A group of premium outlets is again taking on the duopoly, not only to lower costs but to also get control over customer data.
The aggregators deduct up to a third of the order value as their share. Zomato and Swiggy also keep user data secret. A treasure trove to understand customer behaviour that could help tweak menus, alter prices and drive sales. Both costs and potential insights into buying preferences have become even more crucial during the pandemic when dine-ins have all but stopped and nearly all orders come online.
For the restaurants that have mounted the challenge, the idea is simple. Rope in software platforms such as Dotpe, Thrive, Eatable, Peppo, Airtable and Posist to take orders and manage the backend. And either deliver via own riders or outsource to cheaper service providers like Dunzo and WeFast.
The rebellion not even remotely threatens InfoEdge Ltd. and Ant Financial-backed Zomato, and Prosus Ventures-supported Swiggy. A market dominated by two players emerged after nearly a decade of cutthroat competition that saw about a dozen such aggregators, including Uber Eats and Foodpanda, fail. And the two can easily outspend others. Still, the push for direct delivery could become an alternative model for premium chains.
“With data I can learn what dish the customers are eating more, what’s the frequency of the repeat buyers and I could target them accordingly,” said Pranav Rungta, a restaurateur for a decade. “It helps us rework menus based on demand.”
Swiggy and Zomato use the same information to set up cloud or co-branded kitchens and charge a hefty commission, said Rungta, who operates Curry Me Up, Chow Me Up, Café Royal, Headquarter and Tamak in Mumbai.
Yash Bhanage, the founder of Hunger Inc, the parent of The Bombay Canteen and O Pedro, said his firm changed the delivery menu heavily in the last one year based on direct feedback. “That aided sales. And we try special menus sometimes.”
About 35% of his clientele is repeat customers. “Three months ago, we moved to Thrive as we realised customers increasingly prefer direct ordering,” he said. About 60% of the orders now are direct.