FoodPanda – The Good, The Bad & the Ugly

It’s more than 15 days since I’ve been testing FoodPanda, supposed to be the ultimate food delivery service in Pakistan, and here’s what I’ve discovered so far:

The Good

  1. It’s simple, fast and efficient overall.
  2. Almost always deliver before the promised time.
  3. Gives the options of saving multiple addresses in the FoodPanda app which you can access with a single click when ordering. Makes it easy for those ordering from multiple locations, like home and office.
  4. Since they are the biggest brand in the market with the largest share, they are able to persuade their restaurant partners to give them better deals than their competitors. And this applies not just to discount festivals. They are able to negotiate lower or free delivery charges from their vendors which at the end of the day benefits the consumer. For instance, Eatfit charges a Rs.50 delivery free if you order from but free delivery if you order through FoodPanda.
  5. FoodPanda not just has the largest repository of restaurants, it also has the most upscale ones on board like Koel café, Pantry and Il Posto. You would be hard pressed these ones listed in any other app or delivery service.
  6. All the previous orders are saved in the FoodPanda database and you can view all the details, including what you order and how much you paid for each item on the menu, right from the app. Great feature, especially for someone like me who’s documenting all his meals and their costs.

The Bad

  1. You can’t undo an order once you’ve finalized it. They don’t give even a grace of 2-3 minutes.
  2. There’s no option within FoodPanda app for additional comments in an order. If you want some ingredient removed from the recipe, replaced or added.
  3. Sometimes it takes ages to get the approval from the vendor[restaurant]. This layer ought to be removed. If the restaurant has willingly come on board this platform, then there shouldn’t be an option for them to cancel an order. Just last night, New York Coffee café took 15 minutes to confirm the order.
  4. They don’t have any filter in their own database which tells them who are their loyal customers both in terms of longevity and in terms of sales volume generated, and then use that system to offer something delightful to these customers on a regular basis that they become FoodPanda’s brand evangelists.
  5. They don’t make use of Big Data. At all. If they’re receiving 60,000 orders per month and they’ve been in operation for the last 3 years, just think how much data is being accumulated with them.

And how they’re using it? Just dumping it somewhere in the junkyard to be used in the ‘future’. Case in point, they just sent me a Pizza discount promotion, me of all the people who have been using their service to offer healthy food for this entire month, and even before I had not ordered pizza even once. In short there’s no intelligent analysis of who their customer is and tailor their offerings according to what his wants and needs, and not blindly send him any offering like the ancient mass market promotions.

This level of intelligence I’ve yet to see from FoodPanda, supposedly the biggest food delivery service in the world. Maybe FoodPanda worldwide does make intelligent use of the Big Data and it’s just that the local seth operating the business here is not tech-savvy enough to make use of it.

The Ugly:

  1. FoodPanda has just recently added a frustrating layer of email/social media validation. There was no need. Everything was going perfect. The email validation doesn’t even work. Whereas the Facebook validation looks like a cheap attempt to get access to your friends’ list. If you remove the option for FoodPanda app to access your friend’s list, they do not allow validation.
  2. FoodPanda is running a promotional campaign which touts to offer discounted rates from most restaurants if you order through FoodPanda. The ground reality is that while some restaurants are offering discounts through FoodPanda, in many cases that’s not the truth. Take Dunkin Donuts for example. While FoodPanda claims that Dunkin Donuts is offering discounts, if you compare those rates with DD’s actual menu in their outlet, the price is the same. And that holds true for many other restaurants. Have a look at Rowtisserie’s price in FoodPanda app and their own FB page. The prices are exactly the same.

So in essence, FoodPanda is carrying out a deceptive campaign to some extent.

  1. FoodPanda has got no proper complaint system. No toll-free number. Only Live Chat. And even in live chat dummy operators are placed who don’t have any authority other than saying hi bye and we’ll forward your complaint to the concerned person.

I once had an order from Nutrinizer delayed, and when I contacted the Live Chat, this dummy girl sitting there only had this to say, ‘Sir, your complaint has been forwarded to my seniors’.

Now this is the same pathetic response that I recently got from Faysal Bank, and in fact this is the kind of response you’ll get from any dinosaur organization, and that ‘response’ usually takes 2 weeks to be given until that lethargic organization has ‘investigated’ all the aspects of the complaint and the complainant, gone through his family tree, whether he has a royal lineage, genetic defects in his ancestry, and then give a response. And that is going to be copy n paste from a template.

  1. FoodPanda is not making use of local merchant account for the m-commerce part. What this means in layman terms is that if you pay through your credit card, instead of charging it then and there in the local currency in which the transaction has taken place, it goes abroad where its converted in US dollars and then all hell breaks loose. Meaning you pay more than you bargained for. How do I know that? They told me so when I asked them. FoodPanda tech rep did answer that the excess amount would be refunded to the customer, but whether that happens or not remains to be seen.

FoodPanda Verdict

As a consumer, I’ve given Foodpanda some truly unique insights into the mind of their customer. As a marketer, I can teach them a thing or two about getting the most bang for their buck, but then it’s not my job. They’ll just have to learn the hard way.

So while I believe FoodPanda has come a long way in becoming a good food delivery option, it still has got a lot of chinks in its armor to deal with it before it can really become the undisputed king of Food Delivery Service in Pakistan.

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