By Chokkapan S (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Food delivery apps have been saviors of millions of customers craving to sate their hunger pangs. It’s not the same case with the partnering restaurants, though. Many have been crying foul over the ‘exorbitant’ commissions levied by the online food aggregators, including Swiggy, Uber Eats, and Zomato. Restaurateurs have also been grumbling about other issues of the delivery partners’ hegemony over their core businesses.
The Solution: Rezoy
The Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA) has decided to bell the cat before it’s too late. The industry body from the south Indian state has recently launched its own online delivery application, Rezoy, to cater to the needs of restaurants, small eateries, cafés, and local customers as well. Since its inception in 1964, KHRA has been the umbrella organization of over 65,000 eateries in Kerala. Its member outlets include major hotel groups, boutique hotels, heritage hotels, large, medium-sized, and smaller hotels, restaurants, tourist homes, lodges, bakeries, tea shops, and coffee shops.
Explaining the need for such an application, G. Jayapal, General Secretary of KHRA, says that the high commissions that ate into restaurants’ profit margins paved the way for its conception. “We are currently serving Kochi-based restaurant-partners and customers. We shall soon be launching the app across all 14 districts of Kerala.”
Rezoy provides information, menus, and user-reviews of restaurants as well as food delivery options from partner restaurants in select cities. “The app is an innovative and revolutionary online food delivery initiative launched on a non-profit basis to stop all levels of exploitation in this domain,” asserts Mr Jayapal.
Feeling the Heat
Even before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, many online food aggregators, like Swiggy and Zomato, started hiking their commissions, points out Mohamed Mustafa, Chief Executive Officer of the Rezoy app. “Food delivery apps took away most of our business profits and nearly killed many food outlets. Initially, their commission of was around 10 percent, which they kept hiking in due course. Soon, they coaxed most of us into offering up to 50 per cent discount, promising more orders,” he adds.
Being a restaurateur himself, Mr. Mustafa could empathize with fellow businessmen in the food industry. “It is when most regular customers stopped walking in to our outlets and started buying online through the apps that we realized the trap. I eventually impressed upon all restaurateurs under the KHRA the need for our own app to counter the external threat,” he recounts.
The association charges an app membership fee starting at an affordable Rs 5,000 and a pre-delivery commission of 10 percent. Furthermore, non-member restaurants of KHRA will also be able to use the app platform. They just have to shell out a variable one-time fee, depending on which the commission rate will be decided. According to Mr. Mustafa, “We sell all the food items on the menu price, unlike other aggregators who add the commission to the MRP.”
The Rezoy app has currently onboarded around 500 Kochi restaurants. It, however, will cover small eateries and cafés unlike other platforms which focus on high-volume restaurants. “We are planning to take it to other cities from April. Rezoy offers four-fold benefit to every partnering restaurant, cafe or food outlet,” elucidates Mr Mustafa, “Primarily, it is for food delivery in cities. Next, customers can place orders for food at restaurants without door delivery facility. They can go personally and collect the food after they successfully place the order. Third, restaurants with their own delivery staff and mechanism can take orders through our app. The last option is for customers from remote areas to search and locate the nearest eateries from our app.”
By the end of this year, the app has an ambitious target of onboarding over 35,000 KHRA member restaurants from the current membership of 3,000. Mr Mustafa says that they also have plans to roll out the app across India as well as to other countries. “We are in talks with some neighboring states, including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, to extend our services. Our idea is to ‘disrupt the disruptors’, so we have started a Digital Empowerment Centre.”
With business slowly limping back to normal after the Corona lockdown and the increasing number of tourists in Kerala, Mr Mustafa expresses confidence that the app is here to stay and take the fight against its established adversaries.
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