'#Reject_Zomato': When Zomato serves controversy hot than food...What's the latest friction?

'#Reject_Zomato' - this hashtag has been trending on Twitter ever since the controversial response from an executive of the food delivery app came to light. Drawing wrath from the netizens and from the political leaders of Tamil Nadu, Zomato has written another page in its book of controversy as the incident that happened on Monday has sparked a question that why it has been serving controversy hot than food. For every minute, the hashtag has been attracting more tweets. Let's take a look at what's the friction and what the company had to say.

The issue began when a customer care executive of Zomato had told a customer that Hindi is the national language and that everyone should know Hindi a little. On Monday, a Twitter user Vikash has shared the screenshots of his conversation with the Zomato executive and ever since it was posted on a global platform, it has presented a pack of outrage to the food delivery company. In his tweet, Vikash has said he had ordered food in Zomato and an item was missed after which he contacted the concerned restaurant asking about the missing item.

Vikash's screenshots show that he had spoken to the restaurant about the missing item. But, he was told by the restaurant to contact Zomato and ask for a refund. When he asked the executive to call the restaurant for the refund, the executive has replied, "Already tried 5 times but language barrier." Vikash then replies, "If Zomato is available in Tamil Nadu, they should have hired people who understand the language. Ask them to transfer to someone else and get me a refund." 

Responding to his message, the Zomato executive has said, "For your kind information, Hindi is our national language. So it is very common that everybody should know Hindi a little bit." Sharing all these conservations on Twitter, Vikash alleged, "Customer care says amount can't be refunded as I didn't know Hindi. Also takes the lesson that being an Indian, I should know Hindi. Tagged me a liar as he didn't know Tamil. " He further wrote, "Zomato, not the way you talk to a customer."

Vikash has also tagged the official handles of the Chief Minister Office's, Tamil Nadu, DMK MP Kanimozhi, Udhayanidhi Stalin, and several news agencies to get their attention towards the matter. His Tweet has been going viral and has drawn massive notice and scrutiny against Zomato. After knowing that a wide call to reject Zomato has been spreading online, the company came up with a response. Replying to Vikash on Twitter, Zomato has said, "Hi Vikash, this is unacceptable. We'd like to get this checked ASAP, could you please share your registered contact number via a private message?". 

Vikash then demands the company to issue a public apology. He replied, "I need a strong clarification and public apology from the concerned person who accused me a liar and asked me to learn Hindi without any base reasons." While the company has later said to Vikash that his concern has been addressed, it was a testament on social media sites that the matter didn't get subdued. Several Tweeple had used the hashtag #Reject_Zomato and slammed the company and circulated their tweets that 'Hindi is not our national language.'

The incident had again brought the debate of Hindi into the limelight and it has invited a strong affirmation, for yet another time, that Hindi hasn't been a national language. In a staunch tweet, DMK MP Dr Senthil Kumar wrote, "Team Zomato and Zomato care, from when did Hindi become a National language. Why should the customer in Tamil Nadu know Hindi and on what grounds did you advise your customer that he should at least know a little of Hindi. Kindly address your customer's problem and apologize." 

The Tweeple had fueled the hashtag #Reject_Zomato and by the time of writing this content, this hashtag has attracted over 43,000 tweets and become a national subject. As the sequel of an unprecedented outrage from across and beyond the borders, Zomato has on Tuesday - October 19, issued an apology for what Vikash has faced. It has issued a statement in English and Tamil and said on Twitter, "Vanakkam Vikash, we apologise for our customer care agent's behaviour. Here's our official statement on this incident. We hope you give us a chance to serve you better next time. Please don't #Reject_Zomato (sic)." 

In its statement, Zomato has said, "Vanakkam Tamil Nadu, we are sorry for the behaviour of our customer care agent, we have terminated the agent for their negligence towards our diverse culture. The termination is in line with our protocols, and the agent's behaviour was clearly against the principles of sensitivity that we train our agents for on a regular basis. This customer care agent's statements do not represent our company's stance towards language and diversity." 

"At Zomato, we are building a Tamil version of our app. We have already localised marketing communication in Tamil for the state (e.g. we also signed up Aniruddh Ravichander as our local brand ambassador), and we are in the process of building a local Tamil call/support centre in Coimbatore. We understand food and language are core to any local culture and we take both of them seriously", Zomato added.