Zomato is extending its subscription-based Gold memberships by two months in several countries, including India, UAE, Australia, Indonesia, Philippines, Lebanon, Turkey, New Zealand, Portugal and Qatar in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The news comes amidst reports that food-delivery platforms like Zomato and Swiggy are finding it increasingly difficult to remain operational as restaurants have closed down and delivery boys are being turned back by local authorities with the 21-day nationwide lockdown coming into force earlier this week.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Zomato CEO, Deepinder Goyal, said that the company is actively working with the authorities to clear the confusion so that essential services can operate without trouble. He also said that the company will be facilitating working capital loans for its Gold partner restaurants and food delivery partners. “We can only help facilitate loans to Gold partner restaurants since the transactions flow through us, and it is easier and cheaper for our fintech partners to underwrite it. Trying to figure out how to help the rest of the restaurant community”, he tweeted.
FYI – we can only help facilitate loans to Gold partner restaurants since the transactions flow through us, and it is easier and cheaper for our fintech partners to underwrite it. Trying to figure out how to help the rest of the restaurant community. [4/n]
— Deepinder Goyal (@deepigoyal) March 25, 2020
In addition, Goyal also announced that hundreds of Zomato employees are taking what he described as “voluntary salary cuts” to conserve the company’s cash flows amidst the lockdown that has significantly affected the company’s bread-and-butter food delivery business in all major cities, including Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.
To mitigate some of the losses, both Zomato and Swiggy are said to be jumping on the grocery delivery business in India by tying up with established supermarkets and e-commerce firms in the country. According to a report from last week, Zomato was in talks with e-grocers, Grofers and BigBasket, to sell food products and essentials on its platform from this week, but it’s not immediately clear as to whether those plans are still on course following the announcement of the 21-day nationwide lockdown.