Food doesn’t have religion: Will Zomato’s much-applauded stand add to the love for brand?

Zomato’s reply to a man who asked for order cancellation as the designated rider was a "non Hindu" is winning the internet, and hearts of everyone

e4m by Anjali Thakur & Nafisa Shaheen
Published: Aug 1, 2019 8:36 AM  | 4 min read

Zomato’s response to a man who tweeted about cancelling his order placed on food delivery platform as the designated rider was a "non Hindu" is winning the internet, and hearts of everyone.

The tweet by Amit Shukla (account now deleted) read, “Just cancelled an order on @ZomatoIN they allocated a non-hindu rider for my food they said they can't change rider and can't refund on cancellation I said you can't force me to take a delivery I don't want don't refund just cancel.” (sic) The user also posted a screenshot about his conversation with the app.

"Food doesn't have a religion. It is a religion," Zomato responded. 

Later, the food delivery platform shared a longer statement on the micro-blogging site. 

Deepinder Goyal, Founder of Zomato also joined the conversation and echoed his company’s stand with the message, “We are proud of the idea of India - and the diversity of our esteemed customers and partners. We aren’t sorry to lose any business that comes in the way of our values.”  (sic)

Zomato’s stand was applauded on social media for ‘rejecting the growing hate and bigotry.’ Celebrities who otherwise charge a bomb to tweet for a brand took to social media to applaud the food delivery service provider. From politicians to celebrities, including the likes of Omar Abdullah and actor Swara Bhaskar, came forward in support of the platform.


A negative feedback turned into a blessing in disguise for the food delivery platform. With Zomato winning hearts all over the internet, will the brand see a spike in its value, image and sales?

According to Kiran Khalap, Co-founder & Managing Director of Chlorophyll, the brand will see a spike in likeability. “Zomato’s reply is fine reply of a brand’s behaviour endearing itself to multiple stakeholders,” he says.

Sabyasachi Mitter, Founder & MD, Fulcro, believes the brand won’t see any hike immediately. “However, the positive earned, PR generated from the acknowledgment and endorsement from celebrities & common people alike will surely enhance the brand preference. A word of caution needs to throw in, the public memory is very short and a brand has to keep doing this consistently to benefit over the term.”

Jyoti Bansal, CEO, PHD Media, feels managing social media profiles and persona is definitely a top priority for companies today, especially service brands like Zomato.

“This is a great case of being respectful to your customers and to your values as a brand. With today’s millennial and Gen Z consumers being highly conscious of the social responsibility that brands display, this one seems to be a winner.”

“That said, this is less about competition and more about Zomato themselves. Building brand love and business is a long-term task. That’s a real and human challenger brand, behaving true to its character,” adds Bansal.

As of Wednesday midnight, #Zomato was trending with 35.9k impressions. However, the brand was also slammed by some users with the hashtag #Boycottzomato (21.1k impressions) and #IStandwithAmit (21.2k impressions). 

According to Mitter, it is not for the first time that Zomato has taken a firm stand as per the company’s values and beliefs. “Many brands would have allowed moments like this to pass by, and at best, put out a politically correct response. However, Zomato, and by that measure many startups, have been far more bold, not staying shy of wearing their beliefs on their sleeves. Clearly, today’s youth see in such brands a reflection of their values and the brand's stature naturally gets a boost.”  

Khalap says the biggest and most fundamental change in marketing and branding that social media has caused is the shift in psychological ownership of any brand.

“It has shifted from the legal owner of the brand to all the stakeholders, whether customers, investors, activists, employees, celebrities, influencers or even the government. Stakeholders are able to change the behaviour of many companies. The SRI (Socially Responsible Investing) movement has changed the corporate habits of hundreds of brands.”

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