Nowadays, online ordering is becoming a norm and an option often provided by restaurants for delivery apart from calling a hotline number. Foodpanda recently acquired City Delivery, one of the two big delivery service provider in the country (the other one being Quick Delivery). This year, I’ve had several experiences ordering with various restaurants and establishments in Foodpanda, and this review gives the lowdown on the good and the not-so-good experiences.
* Promos and discounts – free delivery, 30% off, Php 100 off, etc., FoodPanda often offers discounts, at least as of this writing. Not sure if it’s just during the beginning while FoodPanda is establishing itself or it will go on in the future – it remains to be seen. In any case, this definitely entices would-be customers into browsing their menus and ordering food to be delivered at their convenience.
* Wide array of restaurants and food establishments – from fast food to fine dining, from appetizers to desserts, from burgers to main courses, FoodPanda would have an establishment to cater to your tastes. And folks with a sweet tooth need not despair, it also offers a wide selection of desserts for delivery, including guilt-free indulgences such as sugar-free variants from the likes of Catherine’s Cakes and Pies or Lia’s Cakes in Season.
* Ease of navigating the website for online ordering – enough said. Haven’t tried the downloadable app though.
Areas for Improvement:
1. Hotline 87878 not fully functional
I’ve call this number a lot of times and the person on the other line keeps hanging up. I was asked to call back because there were food items I ordered that were unavailable, but there was no way to call back, not through the mobile number used to call me nor through the hotline. FoodPanda needs to be able to provide a number to air or follow up on concerns which need immediate response. This wasn’t a problem with City Delivery, but is consistently a problem with after being acquired by FoodPanda. Currently the only way to contact them is via email, which doesn’t really get immediate response, and is not an appropriate medium for raising and following up on order concerns that need immediate response.
On one time my pre-ordered food was delivered a day early. We needed it by a particular date for an event, that’s why we marked it as an advanced order. On the other hand, I have read others’ comments about the opposite – delayed delivery – this is the more common complaint.
In relation to this, lack of info of riders – had experience with riders not knowing whether the food was already paid for or not, or a rider asking me to pay a delivery in full when it was already partially paid for online (the only reason it wasn’t fully paid online was because there were additional orders because apparently the merchant had a minimum amount for delivery but the site was not configured or had no info on that minimum amount).
One of my more recent experiences was being charged a full amount by the rider even if my foodpanda order confirmation showed the voucher amount being deducted and the discounted total. I had to show a screenshot to the rider. I did pay just the discounted total. But it highlights the fact that sometimes information gets lost along the way, from the order taking to the delivery. They should be more coordinated.
3. Inconsistent confirmations
Some orders would send SMS and email confirmation, some would not, which leaves one wondering if the orders that did not receive confirmation would arrive. If advised to contact them to confirm, see problem # 1 – hotline is not functional. For now, it’s my habit not to close the order confirmation page after ordering online (or if I had to close the page I’d take a screenshot), because it contains the details of my order and the amount, plus discounts/deductions. This would come in handy in case of disputes, especially since as illustrated in point # 2, there can be a disconnect at times.
4. Food handling
I ordered cupcakes from Sweet Ants Bakeshop and received disclaimer from FoodPanda that icing may stick on the box or melt – that’s fine with me. But I did not expect that some of the cupcakes would be turned upside down, especially when it was properly packaged by the merchant with holes that set apart each cupcake from each other to avoid them from sticking together. Having the cupcakes turned upside down, with icing all over the top cover, could only be a result of mishandling – like when the whole box was turned upside down – that’s negligence and mishandling, not the normal minimal damage expected from deliveries. Below image shows a snapshot of how it looked like upon receipt – cupcakes were all over the place, some had their icings messed up, while some cupcakes were cracked. Like I said, not your normal delivery damage.
If I’m not mistaken, for some merchants they provide their own riders to make their own deliveries, while for some they make use of FoodPanda riders. In any case, it should be transparent to the customers, i.e., we don’t need to know who’s responsible for the delivery, just that we receive our food in a presentable manner accurately and on time.
5. Incomplete information on the site
Some would have minimum amounts or would need pre-order but not stated on the site, you’ll know only when food panda calls you up after you order and tells you that requirement. Or some would have options like ice and sugar levels for milk tea drinks but not in the options (only way to indicate is to note in a free text field but as with my experience, it’s not 100% reliable, and can get missed out). Moreover, some merchants that offer pre-ordered items do not have the option for “Later” delivery, which does not make sense. Again, only way to indicate is to note in a free text field – this field is a catch-all for anything you want to instruct.
6. Refund delays
Lesson learned: do not pay online. Because you don’t know if your order’s available. And from experience, more than half of my orders had unavailable food items. As of this writing, my refund for an April transaction is still yet to be received (reference order # p0en-e4qv/1, refund request # request # 1350958).
8. Accuracy of orders
I ordered Happy Lemon drinks with no sugar and no ice noted on the instruction but all were delivered with 100% sugar and 100% ice, the total opposite, as we can see below.
I just wasted Php500 on drinks I could not drink because I was scaling down on sugar intake. If I had put some allergy warnings, with the way the instructions were not followed, I would have had an allergy attack already.
In summary, the concept of FoodPanda is good and promising, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. I do hope they use the customers’ feedback to continuously improve their service, in order to succeed in this competitive business.
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