In an age where popular food aggregating apps have been accused of running a duopoly and dictating terms to the restaurant sector, the advent of the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is expected to revolutionise the food industry, according to Prahlad Sukhtankar, Goa Chapter Head of the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI).
The Goa Chapter of NRAI recently facilitated an informative session in Panjim on the likely impact of the ONDC on the restaurant sector, in particular, and the food industry, in general, in the coastal state, where a senior ONDC official said that the unique central government-run network facilitates seamless integration of various digital services, such as online ordering, delivery logistics and payment solutions, into a single ecosystem.
According to Sukhtankar, the ONDC, which is currently operational in the beta phase across the country, would help restaurateurs break the shackles of the food aggregator apps-driven duopoly.
“Currently, food delivery is controlled majorly by a couple of food aggregators, which provide the logistics as well as the discovery of the brand. It will change with the ONDC because each such component on the network either can be availed of together or separately. Hence, prices will also vary, and customers would then have the discretion to choose who to do business with,” Sukhtankar said.
He added that the ONDC’s entry would hopefully rationalise prices, give more control to the user and revolutionise the way people generally do retail business. “And this is not just for food. It could also apply to shopping for clothes, groceries, etc,” he said.
The ONDC enables restaurants to directly connect with consumers, eliminating the need for intermediaries. The network is also expected to democratise the whole interactive experience for both consumers as well as restaurants.
This innovative network has emerged as a viable alternative for the restaurant industry, offering new opportunities for growth and profitability, according to Marichi Mathur, F&B Domain Leader at ONDC.
“The ONDC has emerged as a game changer for the restaurant industry by revolutionising the way businesses connect, transact and engage with customers. By leveraging this network, restaurants can streamline their operations, enhance efficiency and improve customer experiences,” Mathur said.
Sharing his experience or the benefits of using the ONDC, Murali Krishnan, CEO and CMO of Wow! Momo, a pan-India restaurant chain, said that the new network promises to usher in a new era of profitability for restaurant owners compared to their current reliance on food aggregators.
“By leveraging the power of the ONDC, restaurateurs will gain consumer ownership and the ability to hyper-personalise customer experience. Unlike limitations imposed by food aggregators, the ONDC will provide restaurants with valuable data, such as details of the customers' past orders, identifying repeat customers and other relevant information which will help the restaurant improve the customer experience. The ONDC will also aid in increased visibility and profitability for the restaurants and result in possible reduction of commissions (which restaurants have to pay) from around 25 per cent currently to five to eight per cent,” Krishnan said.