The customer from Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh then took this to Twitter to share his experience and claimed that Zomato had not issued him the refund after cancellation of the order. Later Zomato from its official twitter handle gushingly took the internet by quoting the customer’s tweet and wrote, “Food doesn’t have a religion. It is a religion.”
Adding to this, Zomato’s founder Deepinder Goyal politely conveyed that Zomato doesn’t have a place for such religious discrimination saying goodbye to the customers who want an option to choose delivery executives based on religion. Writing further in his tweet, Goyal said, “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]”
Soon after this incident sparked a massive social media outrage, the company had been bashed for being okay with Zomato customer’s specified request for halal meat. Many users shared a Zomato’s post on Twitter apologising for serving non-halal food. The company got slammed by users when they started giving a 1-star rating to the app on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
This criticism led the company to issue a lengthy statement defending the Halal tag. “The halal tag on Zomato is a result of restaurants seeking that distinction – not as an aggregator. Restaurants (whether a Muslim establishment or otherwise) serving meat specifically obtain halal certification by an all-India body. Again, we play no role in this categorisation as we only seek proof of authenticity when a restaurant claims halal food. FSSAI licence is mandatory. Halal certification is voluntary,” said Zomato in its statement.
It further added, “We provide this information, so that you, as a customer, can make an informed choice about whether you want to eat halal meat, or not. As an aggregator, it’s imperative that we showcase all the various facets that a restaurant would like us to display to its potential customers. Moreover, the tag helps the user in making a more informed choice as far as their food is concerned. We take responsibility for a customer not being able to find our app usable enough and then mistakenly order a different category of food that what they prefer.
Responding to users stating Zomato’s ‘food has no religion,’ the company further stated,” Yes, food has no religion. Humans make their choice of what to cook and what to eat – whether or not you are a religious person. We respect all religions and we, therefore, provide all possible information to make sure that you get the food of your choice e.g. we have tags for Jain Food, Vegan Food, Navratra Thalis as well.”
People had reached to an extent of rating the app with 1 star on Google play store in order to teach the company a lesson which stirred up a major controversy. Many had been supporting the company applauding the company’s dare to stand up against bigotry while many quoted the company as ‘hypocrite.’ The people who called the company hypocrite claimed Zomato to have a problem with people who demanded their food to be cancelled based on religion and yet not raising the same issue for people asking for halal meat.
Hashtags like #ZomatoUninstalled and #BoycottZomato trended on Twitter.