Zomato suspends contentious Infinity Dining from app amid battle with restaurants
New Delhi: Food delivery and search platform Zomato has suspended the contentious Infinity Dining programme from its app, amidst a battle with restaurants over what they alleged was “deep and unsustainable” discounting.
A Zomato spokesperson confirmed the move in a statement saying, “We received a range of feedback about Infinity Dining, and have paused it as we incorporate the feedback.”
For the record, Infinity Dining had been launched just over two months ago in three cities with 300-plus restaurants.
Based on an “all-you-can-eat” model, the programme turned into the biggest bone of contention between the Gurgaon-based Zomato and restaurants.
The arranged allowed Zomato Gold subscribers to order unlimited food and drinks for a set price from the menu of partner restaurants for a limited period of time. Restaurants said this squeezed their profit margins.
“Zomato’s attempt to sell the Infinity feature in the Gold programme was the final straw. We are not at all surprised that it shut down — it had to,” said National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) president Rahul Singh.
“On one hand, NRAI is advocating the conservation of water and other resources, and on the other hand we get an ill-conceived product which promotes wastage.”
Restaurants across the country had launched a “logout” campaign on August 15 against food aggregators, including Zomato, stating allegations over “deep discounting, lack of transparency, data masking and abuse of dominant position by online delivery aggregators”.
While the restaurant association and other aggregators including Dineout, Easydiner, Magicpin and Nearbuy have resolved contentious issues, the faceoff with Zomato continues.
The platform has since delayed extending the Gold membership to online delivery, with restaurant companies rejecting its fresh proposal outright. Zomato is estimated to be delivering close to one million daily orders across 500 cities.
The Infinity programme had been positioned as a “first for India, under which diners could try as many dishes as they wanted at a fixed rate per person”. A spokesperson added that Infinity Dining is in the alpha stage and being tested continuously.