Following a viral Twitter thread about a Bengaluru-based cloud kitchen operating 200 brands from one location, Zomato has announced manual checks of any physical location which runs more than 10 brands.
“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,” the company said in a recent blog.
Additionally, Zomato will also showcase the information of multiple brands linked to a kitchen on the restaurant’s page on Zomato. Over the last few weeks, Zomato has been engaging with the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) and the other restaurant partners to formulate the right approach to curb these practices.
"Upon deliberations with Zomato, we felt this was an acceptable interim solution wherein the Zomato team carries out a preliminary physical inspection of such locations. We will further work with the Zomato team in ascertaining whether these kitchens comply with acceptable industry norms and suggest solutions thereon. The idea is to create and nurture a healthy ecosystem, " Kabir Suri, President NRAI & Co-Founder Azure Hospitality.
Misusing FSSAI rule
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has stated that cloud kitchen entities are free to operate multiple brands on a single FSSAI license (usually unique to a kitchen). However, there are some exceptions to this. 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 added.