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Restaurant Discovery Site Zomato to Launch Online Ordering Platform

It will launch in India on March 16.

India-based restaurant discovery service Zomato — which recently acquired Urbanspoon — is getting into the food ordering game. According to TechCrunch, the company will let customers across India order food directly from the website — similar to platforms like Seamless — beginning on March 16. For the launch, Zomato has partnered with 2,000 restaurants, but CEO Deepinder Goyal believes that number will jump to 10,000 restaurants nationwide in the next few months.

Zomato is adopting a platform that requires restaurants to "manually accept each order" from customers before they are processed. This is quite different from many similar systems that simply pass on confirmed orders from customers. Goyal adds that Zomato is providing iPads to the restaurants that are fitted "with an app that essentially turns the device into an order hotline."

The system incentivizes good service.

The company is also incorporating a ratings feature into the platform that affects the cut Zomato takes. The system incentivizes good service. Customers must provide ratings (on a five star scale) for each delivery experience. For orders that get a five-star rating, Zomato will take a 7.5 percent commission, but for those with super low ratings, Zomato will up their take to 15 percent. While the service will first be introduced in India, Goyal says the company will expand the food ordering system to 21 other countries. Among the first will be Indonesia, Australia, and Dubai.

The online ordering space is becoming quite competitive: Restaurant review site Yelp recently announced that it also intends to integrate online ordering into its site. The company purchased food ordering platform Eat24 for $134 million earlier this week, to do so. Currently, Eat24 works with around 20,000 restaurants in 1,500 cities across the U.S., but Yelp plans to help grow that number to one million restaurants.

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