Panaji, 26th May 2023 – 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 Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is expected to revolutionize the food industry, according to the Prahlad Sukhtankar, Goa Chapter Head of the National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI).

The Goa Chapter of NRAI recently facilitated an informative session in Panaji 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, ONDC, which is currently operational in 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 discovery of the brand. It will change with 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, adding that 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,” Sukhtankar said.

ONDC enables restaurants to directly connect with consumers, eliminating the need for intermediaries. The network is also expected to democratize 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.

“ONDC has emerged as a game-changer for the restaurant industry by revolutionizing 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 benefits of using ONDC, Murali Krishnan, CEO & 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 ONDC, restaurateurs will gain consumer ownership and the ability to hyper-personalise customer experience. Unlike limitations imposed by food aggregators, 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. 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 percent currently to five to eight percent,” Krishnan said.