Companies

Retailers say yes to Sodexo coupons again

Bindu D Menon New Delhi | Updated on November 15, 2017 Published on April 11, 2012

With minor changes in operational processes

Sodexo's meal coupons are once again being accepted at retail counters. Since December last year, most big retail chains had stopped accepting Sodexo, citing operational glitches, high fees and late reimbursement.

“We have started accepting Sodexo coupons since last two days. The commercial issues with Sodexo have now been resolved,” said Mr Sanjay Gupta, Executive Director, Marketing and Business Development, Spencer's confirmed. Meanwhile, a Future Group official said they were in the process of finalising talks with Sodexo on it.

Mr Amitabh Sinha, Head Marketing, Motivation Solutions, Sodexo, said, “We have reached an agreement on resuming ties with most of the retail chains. Minor changes have been made in the operational processes to the satisfaction of our partners.”

Leading players in the food and beverage segment like Future Group's Big Bazaar, RPG-promoted Spencer's and Aditya Birla-owned More had discontinued use of meal coupons in December, complaining about lack of clarity on usage as well.

Tax-free perk

Meal coupons are used as a tax-free perk by employers. Several retailers Business Line spoke to said, technically, an employee could spend only about 80 coupons a day according to company policy. Most people were using much beyond that to make their monthly grocery purchases. No retailer wanted to take that legal risk at a time when margins were under pressures, they noted.

Also high affiliation charge (a 3-5 per cent commission that the retailer had to pay to the meal coupon company to affiliate with them) was a cause of concern.

Retailers said for a cashier it was increasingly getting difficult to count the meal passes during peak hours. The coupons which come in denomination of Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 15 and Rs 50, increased the queue.

Retailers Association of India CEO, Mr Kumar Rajagopalan said, “Some retailers wanted clarity on whether Sodexo vouchers could be used to buy food and grocery. We have clarified that it can be used to buy food items and hence they can go ahead using it to buy groceries.”

There are currently over 15,000 Sodexo affiliated outlets including retail outlets, food courts and canteens among others.

> Bindu.menon@thehindu.co.in

Published on April 11, 2012
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