UAE delivery firm Zomato under fire over hygiene audit promotion

Food delivery service Zomato says AED945 hygiene feature is not new and does not make profit for the company

Food delivery service Zomato has been criticised for offering to provide hygiene audits to restaurants amid the current coronavirus crisis, and charging almost AED1,000 for the service.

However, Zomato has insisted this it is not a new service, adding that the company does not make any profit from it.

Although not mentioning the Covid-19 pandemic, an email to restaurants from the delivery giant claims there has been a “drastic increase in users searching and making decisions based on the hygiene features on Zomato”.

It goes on to say that “multiple restaurant partners” have contacted the company to request the Zomato Hygiene Audit. For the audit to take place and “stickering”, the charge is AED945 for a single year.

The email shows a selection of Zomato’s “best rated hygiene places rated for you” with an option to promote hygiene standards for an additional fee, believed to be around AED600.

However, the promotion has received a backlash from Twitter followers.

@foodsheikh tweeted: “Oh @ZomatoUAE – this is how you support your restaurant partners in difficult times? By selling them ‘hygiene audit’ stickers for 1,000 dhs so they perform better in the searches? Can’t we do better than this?”

While @LejlaCharif added: “What a cheap shot. Plus there are regular official hygiene check-ups by authorities no need to pay Zomato for this.”

@danielnargunam said: “Any company that tries to make money now is sick… The restaurant owners are already affected with less people eating out,.. It’s time to support the community not make money.”

A spokesperson for Zomato said: “We make no profits from this service, we simply connect restaurants to government-certified audit partners. And once they complete their audit process, we publish the results on our platform for users to see.”

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