Zomato, the world’s leading restaurant search and discovery platform, has launched an initiative to help new businesses find their feet. Zomato will now feature a “New” tag on recently opened restaurants, instead of a rating score, for the first 60 days of their listing on the platform.

Deepinder Goyal, Founder and CEO of Zomato, mentioned in a recent company blog post, that upcoming restaurateurs can often end up receiving harsh reviews in their initial days, which ends up deterring their prospects of future success.

Goyal, in his post, shares the experience of a first time restaurant entrepreneur in Gurgaon, who he is sure isn’t the only one in this growing bracket. “75% of his day would be spent learning and reacting to things that he didn’t know were going to break during the day. In the initial days, he was the chef, the ops guy, table service guy, the delivery boy, all rolled into one – a full stack employee. To add to that, the activity on his restaurant's page on Zomato was relentless, making it very stressful for him as a new restaurant owner, especially in the early days.”

So, why exactly are things like this? It turns out the answer is fairly straightforward – the initial feedback that a newly opened restaurant receives often ends up setting the tone for their future ratings. Let’s say a restaurant gets 17 reviews in its first three weeks, and most of them are unkind. The issues mentioned by many of the restaurant's visitors can largely be attributed to teething issues that a restaurant is bound to face on the service front, be it at the restaurant or while fulfilling online orders. If restaurateurs are relieved of the rating pressure during this initial period, they are in a better situation to work on the feedback without the pressure, in turn allowing the business a fair shot at success.

This move follows the launch of Zomato Skillet - an educational forum for restaurateurs, run as a series of workshops to help them identify market opportunities, discuss challenges with peers, learn from the experiences of masterchefs, and address pain points in the business.

“Along with Skillet, which will allow us to engage more openly and directly with restaurant owners, we have been making steady changes to our product, especially for new restaurant owners and startups. To help restaurants navigate these early days better and more productively, new restaurants will get a “beta period” on Zomato – their overall rating will only start showing after 60 days, regardless of the reviews and ratings they receive in that time,” Goyal explains.

This way, restaurants will get direct, valuable feedback from their customers to fix any problems that may crop up during the very early days, without worrying about the existential concern of a bad rating. This beta period will be given to all restaurants that are new on the platform, with an important exception being chain restaurants with more than 2 outlets.

Zomato Co-founder, Pankaj Chaddah, had earlier mentioned, “While we have spent the last decade with a very heavy focus on helping our users discover great food, one of our core missions for the next decade is to also ensure the long-term success and sustainable growth of restaurants.”

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