The National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI)’s plans to roll out a food delivery platform has been delayed. NRAI had earlier said that it would launch the platform by June this year in a bid to take on the likes of Zomato and Swiggy.

Restaurant owners who are members of NRAI have been blaming Zomato of charging higher commission and have been looking to break away with their own platform. However, sources close to the development said that the roll-out has been delayed as the restaurants are still not functioning full-fledged due to the ongoing pandemic.

“There are some modifications being made in the offerings on the portals. The team is also ironing out the technical glitches. They are also working on making it a seamless customer-facing experience,” said a source. The launch is set to happen before the end of Q3 of FY21.

NRAI had planned to launch a new platform that would have enabled online food ordering and delivery services along with loyalty programmes. “This would be a direct take-on of existing food-tech aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy. The association’s move is aimed at reducing the dependence of restaurants on such apps,” NRAI had said in the statement.

The apex body of the F&B industry had also partnered with fintech start-up DotPe that would enable them with online payments.

Logout movement

NRAI has been at loggerheads with aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy since last year. NRAI had led the “logout movement” to combat deep discounting, predatory pricing, and commissions, among other issues.

Another source said that so far over 5,000 restaurants have shown interest in the new platform.

The plan was also to launch it around the time when the lockdown in India was lifted, the restaurants could use the Dotpe’s QR-based catalogue and e-commerce platform for digital ordering which ensures minimal human touch. However, due to irregularities in rules in different States and the general downtime in the restaurant industry, the roll-out plan has been delayed by a few months.

Worst hit

The food and beverage industry is one of the worst-hit sectors. According to an estimate, it is a ₹4.25-lakh crore industry that employs more than 70 lakh people, directly or indirectly.

NRAI represents more than 5 lakh restaurants and the Association has 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.