- The #Logout campaign by restaurants forced Zomato to revoke its Infinity Dining option in Zomato Gold
- Zomato has also continuously been laying off its employees
- The controversies have led to the souring of Zomato’s overall brand image
Food distribution and restaurant aggregation platform Zomato has had two consecutive rough months. According to YouGov, a market research platform, the brand image of the Gurugram-based company has taken a beating owing to volatile religious feelings, angry restaurants, angry customers, angry social media and laid off staff.
BrandIndex, the daily brand health tracker of YouGov, tracks how media and news occurrences affect the perception of the brand and buying habits of customers.
This BrandIndex information has shown that Zomato’s Buzz, which measures whether one has heard something beneficial or negative about the brand over the previous two weeks, has continuously decreased owing to the rising controversy, and has seen a 6.8-point drop from 42.7 in early July to 35.9 in late August.
Following are the controversial incidents that have led Zomato to have such a negative impact:
Video of Zomato Delivery Guy Opening, Eating and then Sealing the Food went viral:
The video of a delivery guy from Zomato eating food meant for delivery went viral last December and that marked the beginning of a series of Zomato controversies that followed.
The delivery boy was seen to eat some food from each of the packets and then resealed them with the original Zomato tags.
This is what happens when you use coupon codes all the time. ???? Watch till end. pic.twitter.com/KG5y9wUoNk
— Godman Chikna (@Madan_Chikna) December 10, 2018
However, Zomato apologized later via a tweet but that was too late. The deed had been done.
Bhopal man Cancelled the Order citing a Non-Hindu Delivery Boy:
A Hindu man from Bhopal denied accepting the order and asked to cancel it citing the problem with the Non-Hindu Delivery Boy. He even shared the screenshot of his conversation with the customer care executive where he had been seen asking to change the delivery executive as it was the pious month of Shravan. His tweets were backlashed by the public.
However, Zomato cashed in with the response that “Food has no religion, Food itself is a religion!”
Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion. https://t.co/H8P5FlAw6y
— Zomato India (@ZomatoIN) July 31, 2019
The Beef-Pork Religious Sentiments of Zomato Delivery Guys:
Within days of Zomato being in trend on social platforms for standing by food as a religion, a fresh controversy has emerged that has hit the food delivery app and this time within the company itself. Delivery boys refused to deliver beef or pork during the festive celebrations of Bakrid or Eid al-Adha.
Two of their demands were that the Zomato should revise the pay order and the company also must stop playing with the religious sentiment of their employees.
“The Muslims are equally feeling hurt with this decision as we Hindus are. The company is hurting our religious sentiment. We heartily want this to be stopped immediately” was the response from a number of Zomato Delivery guys.
Later, Zomato intervened and brought the situation under control.
# Logout: 1,200 Restaurants delisted themselves from dine-in programs
More than 1,200 restaurants in several major Indian cities delisting themselves from the dine-in programs of services like Zomato, which said the exits could be “anti-competitive and illegal. The restaurant claimed that the company model was hurt by “unsustainable” profound discount provided by the Zomato food aggregator and table booking service.
In response to which Zomato today revoked it’s Infinity Dining Program under the Zomato Gold Membership.
Zomato laid off 541 of its employees
Zomato recently laid off 541 of its employees just a month after firing 60 other employees, citing “technology made these jobs redundant.” It released a statement saying “Over the last few months, we have seen our technology products and platforms evolve and improve significantly. While the business has continued to grow consistently, this has led to an overall reduction in direct order-related support queries.”
This statement by the brand faced many negative and infuriating comments from the public.
Zomato Finally Revoked the Infinite Dining Option from its Gold Membership:
In the midst of the fight with restaurants over what they said was “profound and unsustainable” discounting, Zomato finally suspended the controversial Infinity Dining program from its app.
The “all-you-can-eat” model of the Infinity Dining program was the biggest bone of contention between the Gurgaon-based Zomato and restaurants.
The spokesman for Zomato, however, said 10 percent of India’s 6,500-plus restaurants that were Zomato Gold members had left but many had joined.
What have these controversies led Zomato into?
Yes, a staggering one!
Zomato’s ranking in the overall category on Google Play Store fell 10 points from 28 to 38 in one day, while its ranking among apps only (excluding games) fell to 32 from 25 over July 30 and 31.
YouGov said that not only Buzz, even Recommend (whether to recommend the brand to others) has plummeted in this time frame, from 42.5 in July to 37.5 in August, suggesting that the brand has made a public perception hit.
It has rightly been said that the internet is the most powerful tool these days and who knows it better than Zomato itself! For some people (for example, Ranu Mondal) it can prove to be a boon; on the other hand, it can also prove to be fatal for brand reputation across social media channels. Zomato will surely need some time to resurrect again with full potential in the sentimental and fierce market of India.