Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has said that a cloud kitchen can offer its products to multiple brands. FSSAI’s comments come after a Substack user revealed that someone was allegedly running hundreds of counterfeit trademarks on Swiggy and Zomato.
Last week, a Substack user, Pea Bee, or Prashant Baid, posted an article mentioning that a single person is running about 200 brands on Swiggy and Zomato from two locations in Bengaluru. Ramjani Khan, the owner of these cloud kitchens, registered the restaurants with the same FSSAI number but from slightly different addresses.
Mr Baid added that many curated brands have similar names to popular brands, adding, “It can trick customers into appearing at the top of search results if the restaurant isn’t initially available for delivery at this address”. Baid also added that many of the restaurants have identical names, but with a change of letters.
Braid quoted “Creating hundreds of fake restaurant brands on these platforms shouldn’t be so easy.” He also added that most of the said restaurants had ratings of less than 4 across both Zomato and Swiggy.
Kabir Suri, President of the National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI), said, “the competition between restaurants comes down to quality, consistency, and pricing from a customer perspective and not how many brands a kitchen can operate.”
This is a platform that only lists food business operators (FBOs) but does not engage in any of the activities mentioned in section 3(n) of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 (regarding the food business) and is not required to obtain an FSSAI license.
However, they should only list FBOs with a valid FSSAI license or registration. Therefore, Swiggy and Zomato are required to list only FSSAI-licensed FBOs. While Twitter users debate whether to allow hundreds of brands to operate from one location, restaurant owners believe there is nothing illegal about it.
The safe thing to mention here is that the FSSAI license is not entity dependent but location dependent. Thus, all food companies associated with the same approved location can be registered under the same FSSAI approval.