After days of facing the heat from restaurant partners over deep discounting and other issues, a Zomato spokesperson has confirmed that the company has now suspended Infinity Dining, the program it launched at the end of July. “Infinity Dining was launched just over two months ago in three cities with 300+ restaurants.
The product is in alpha stage and being tested continuously. Group dining, whether organised office parties or family outings, is a valuable large-table opportunity. The very focus of infinity was to enable more of these opportunities for restaurants. We received a range of feedback about the service, and have paused it as we incorporate the feedback,” a Zomato spokesperson told TNM.
The Infinity Dining program was launched for members of Zomato Gold, who would have access to a few restaurants which gave them all-you-can-eat or drink offers at specific restaurants in the city at a fixed price.
Zomato had said that Gold members can book tickets for their friends and family, and children up to the age of six can dine for free when accompanied by an adult availing Infinity. They had it made it available in Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi.
“Zomato’s attempt to sell the Infinity feature in the gold program broke the final straw. On one hand, NRAI is advocating the conversation of water and other resources, and on the other hand we get an ill-conceived product which promotes wastage. We are not at all surprised that it shut down. It had to,” Rahul Singh, former President of NRAI and owner of Beer Café told TNM.
Zomato is at loggerheads with the NRAI over deep discounting. Multiple restaurants logged out Zomato’s Gold program, which they said was hurting their margins, and wasn’t helping them.
NRAI also raised issues with delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato over issues of deep discounting, high and uneven commission charges, data masking and mandatory bundling of services.
Interestingly, a report by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has also found that deep discounts doled out by the online food aggregators are cannibalising dine-in restaurants and the burden is shifting to restaurants.