NRAI partners with DotPe to build tech platform for online payments

Forum Gandhi Mumbai | Updated on May 16, 2020

The food tech space has emerged as the fastest growing e-commerce segment   -  Getty Images/iStockphoto

National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI), the apex body of the F&B industry, has partnered with fintech start-up DotPe to build its own tech platform that would enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.

Earlier this month, in a press statement NRAI had announced that it will launch "a new platform that willenable online food ordering and delivery services along with loyalty programs. This would be in direct take on with existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy. The association's new move is aimed at reducing the dependence of restaurants on such apps."

Speaking to BusinessLine, Anurag Katriar, president of NRAI said that they had been working with the company for over the past couple of months now. “DotPe will provide us a tech solution. The good thing is that data remains ours, the rate that we pay to them is fixed, and the bank charges are paid by the customers.”

DotPe was founded by the erstwhile PayU co-founder and Managing Director, Shailaz Nag. DotPe is a Gurgaon-based O2O commerce platform which helps in increasing omnichannel sales, providing seamless B2B digital ordering solutions fully integrated with a payment gateway for its member restaurants and cloud kitchens.

On Saturday, NRAI hosted its second town hall discussing the details of the 'tech solutions for the restaurant industry'.

By deploying the Dotpe’s QR-based digital commerce and payments solution, restaurants will be able to reorient their operations by connecting with their customers directly through WhatsApp.

“NRAI Members can avail of these services at a low flat fee rather than a percentage-based commission. Once the lockdown is lifted, the restaurants can use the Dotpe’s QR based catalog and e-commerce platform for digital ordering which ensures minimal human touch,” NRAI said in a statement post the town hall.

NRAI represents over five lakh restaurant businesses. According to Katriar, so far, “We have got a very positive response from our members.”

This is also a great opportunity for restaurants to go omni-channel and in the process own the customer completely.

Currently used by a few prominent food chains like Haldiram’s, Social, Smoke House Delhi, Cafe Delhi Heights and Fab café, this will eventually benefit lakhs of large and small offline businesses within next few months.

Speaking on the partnership, Shailaz Nag, Founder, Dotpe said, “By collaborating with Dotpe, the restaurantswill now be able to stay transparent with the customers by communicating with them directly through WhatsApp for all the online orders.”

Meanwhile, in the case of dine-in, customer safety is of prime importance and by using our digital ordering solution, customers can avoid multiple human contact points. Moreover, “there’s no need for customers to download any additional app as they can start ordering food by simply scanning a QR code once. I’m confident that our solution will allow the restaurants to completely own the customer experience, create own digital channel for both online and offline ordering and thereby manage their expenses and customer data better,” Nag said.

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

The current food delivery model is riddled with deep discounts, higher commissions, no hold on customer data, among other issues. “It is not benefiting the restaurants but only helping the aggregator apps,” it had said in a statement.

NRAI is also looking at alternative delivery and logistics companies. It is also exploring synergies with social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to provide and ordering facilities and visibility for restaurant partners who could potentially be its members.

The likes of Dineout, Zomato, and Paytm are already pushing their platform with contactless dining. Zomato has, in fact, taken it a notch above and made its contactless dining free for all restaurants across India and other global destinations for a period of at least six months.

NRAI’s Katriar countered saying, that “While the charges won’t be free, but it will be fixed unlike whatother players do. It could be as minimum as Re 1.”

During the town hall, former President of NRAI, Riyaaz Amlani said, “This is an alternative to aggregators. So we will have to run a campaign to break the habit of customers using the aggregator’s apps. Initially, we too will offer discounts, and build a relationship with our customers.”

Published on May 16, 2020

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