On Tuesday, hotel and restaurant owners in Kochi, under the Kerala Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA), have temporarily withdrawn their ban on accepting food orders from delivery apps like Swiggy, Uber Eats and Zomato. The Association had called for a 10-day ban on hotels accepting orders from these apps, starting Saturday, 1 December.
Mathrubhumi reports that the ban was temporarily withdrawn after the food delivery apps agreed to consider the matters raised by the KHRA, and to hold a discussion with the Association within a week. The KHRA has stated that the ban will be put back in place if the talks between the Association and food delivery apps do not bear fruit.
The ban was called for by the Kochi chapter of the KHRA to protest what restaurant owners alleged were unduly high commission rates, and alienation of customers from existing business centres. In the long term, the association worried that their customersâ€™ dependence of food delivery apps, as opposed to stepping out to visit actual restaurants, would lead to the market being dominated by food delivery apps, and break customer relationships, in addition to affecting the business of other industries, like shops and entertainment centres located near restaurants.
They also wanted food delivery apps to reduce the number of discounts and offers they provided to customers, as only tech giants could afford to create such discounts, further discouraging customers from visiting restaurants and building customer relationships. Some other hotel owners pointed out that the discounts offered to customers came out of the restaurantâ€™s own commissions.
However, despite the ban called for by the KHRA, The New Indian Express reports that the ban didnâ€™t have a visible impact on customers in the four days that it lasted, as many hotels continued to service orders through the food delivery apps. A fewer number of restaurants were seen as available during the period of the strike.