Noida-based mobile wallet company Paytm has decided to get into direct competition with companies offering physical meal vouchers, such as Sodexo, Ticket Restaurant and Zeta, with its new digital offering.
The new Food Wallet feature on the Paytm app will provide corporate employees with tax-saving benefits, the company said, adding that it has already partnered with 10 companies.
“Paytm’s Food Wallet comes with a unique interface where employees can see real-time balance and locate the nearest food outlet. It can be used at office cafeterias as well as at a wide range of online and physical merchants, including small standalone outlets. The list includes KFC, Burger King, Zomato, Pizza Hut, Café Coffee Day and Big Bazaar, among others,” the company said in a statement.
Customers can also enjoy added benefits such as exclusive deals, discounts and cashbacks. “It will revolutionise the traditional meal voucher space and will benefit all stakeholders – employers, employees and food retailers,” said Kiran Vasireddy, senior vice president, Paytm.
According to Paytm, the digital food allowance platform will eliminate risks of loss and expiry, and will target the Rs 25,000-crore tax-free allowance market in India. The company is expecting to get a major share of the estimated six million employee base.
Last month, the Reserve Bank of India had issued guidelines for all prepaid meal vouchers to go digital by 2017-end.
Sodexo India Pvt Ltd, one of the largest players in this category, is already in the process of digitalising its meal vouchers and moving to the mobile platform, while another leading player, Edenred (India) Pvt Ltd, which runs Ticket Restaurants, is yet to finalise its strategy.
As of January 2016, Sodexo Merchant Network had presence in 1,500-plus Indian cities with over 25,000 outlets, while Ticket Restaurant Meal Vouchers had 14,000-plus outlets across 3,400 cities in the country.
In January 2016, serial tech entrepreneur Bhavin Turakhia had also entered into the meal voucher space with Zeta Meal Vouchers, which aimed at providing app-generated meal vouchers to corporate employees. Zeta had entered into a commercial engagement with RBL Bank for a pan-India rollout, and had said that it had already partnered with 100,000 merchants.
Zeta was launched with $4 million internal funding. In September 2016, Turakhia, who operates four businesses under the Directi Group, had announced that he would invest $110 million in all his ventures, including Zeta.
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