We all love food; and appreciate a decent food delivery service occasionally. It was no secret UberEats was coming to South Africa this year when they advertised a bunch of vacancies in July. Since then, OrderIn launched its standalone app a month later in August. By September, Mr Delivery came out with a new revamped look and app, Mr D Food. And finally, UberEats launched at the end of September.
Smartphone food image from Shutterstock
Both OrderIn and Mr Delivery had offerings already, but took it to the next level. OrderIn launched exclusively on WeChat in 2015, I’ve written about here, and was subsequently accessible via web/mobile web. It came out with a standalone app after the exclusivity with WeChat ended. OrderIn CEO Dinesh Patel tells Wired to the Web they’ve grown 400% this year. And we’ve had Mr Delivery for ages now, for as long as I can remember living in Johannesburg for over a decade. Mr D is a courier service for the likes of Takealot (who owns a stake), FNB, Pick N Pay, Superbalist; which is what powers Mr D Food. I guess it helps having your food getting delivered in a scooter, beating the traffic.
We as customers have been spoilt for choice… or have we? Well it’s obvious all three were racing to get our attention around the same time. I will compare all three apps the same way so you can see how different – or same, they are; and which one offers better value, service, etc. Look out for the sample pricing I’ve added on each one, based on the same eatery listed across all three services.
PLATFORM: Android; iOS
DELIVERY FEE: R20
PAYMENT: Credit Card via app
OPERATIONAL TIMES: 10am-10pm
TURNAROUND TIME: Between 5-7 mins after fetching from restaurant, as per UberEats SA launch.
HOW IT WORKS: If you are an existing Uber customer, login with the same credentials. So no need to go through a sign up process again. Type in your address and see what’s available, based on location. It is still rolling out in Gauteng. The menu shows popular items, which is good to know if you’re undecided. From a UX point of view, it involves a lot of scrolling to go through everything. Menus have a subheading, but nothing to tap and go into. There’s an “Under 30 Minutes” option in the app too. All restaurants are listed with estimated times from when you place an order. In my area, I can see delivery for up to 55 minutes. Individual restaurant times are listed, with full menu descriptions. Menu items are marked up.
SAMPLE PRICING: For this review I used Mexican Fresh, which appears on all three apps. A chimichanga costs R78.
UNIQUE FEATURE: Uber Eats says some of its establishment listings are exclusive to its app, i.e. you won’t find the eatery anywhere else.
MY EXPERIENCE: I’ve had both good and bad experiences with Uber Eats. When it first launched, it looked like a good option. And then afterwards, pricing on the menu looked like a lot more than the establishments itself. It is how the company makes money. What really bothered me was when my driver forgot my main dish at the restaurant, there was NO WAY to get hold of him. Everything is automated through the app, so all you can see is that a driver has accepted your order for delivery. Once he has delivered and is gone, that’s it. We had to contact Uber support for help, and their only solution is credit in your account. It doesn’t help the fact that you don’t have your dinner, and won’t be getting it. If you call the restaurant directly, they also don’t have the drivers details.
MR D FOOD
PLATFORM: Android; iOS; browser
DELIVERY FEE: R35 (minimum order of R65); option to self-collect
PAYMENT: Cash on delivery; debit and credit cards via app.
OPERATIONAL TIMES: 10am-10pm
TURNAROUND TIME: Within 20 minutes of being fetched from restaurant.
HOW IT WORKS: Download the app and register. Put in your delivery details. Start searching for what’s nearby. Results are listed based on how near a restaurant is to you by location. Menus appear neatly categorised. You can choose how you want your food done and add sides + quantities. Filter options include sorting by distance or delivery times; and by delivery or collect. There is a “cuisine type” but no options available for filtering; probably a bug. Certain eateries have yellow marker on the top right to indicate free delivery, however, nowhere does it say what delivery costs for regular places. Menu items are marked up.
SAMPLE PRICING: For this review I used Mexican Fresh, which appears on all three apps. A chimichanga costs R76.
UNIQUE FEATURE: Just a basic delivery service within a 5km radius from your location.
MY EXPERIENCE: I’ve used the app easily with no issues, especially with their free delivery options. All specials are usually sent through email so keep an eye on that. I’ve had my food arrive in time, sometimes really quick – like 29 minutes since placing the order. Does exactly what it offers. That said, R35 is the most expensive delivery fee of the three; and this appears nowhere on their website, app, or FAQ section (I asked via social media what the delivery fee is).
PLATFORM: Android; iOS; browser
DELIVERY FEE: R10 lunch; R20 dinner; restaurant offering; option to pickup.
PAYMENT: Credit Card
OPERATIONAL TIMES: 9am-10pm
TURNAROUND TIME: Slogan reads – your favourite food, delivered fast.
HOW IT WORKS: Download the app, put in your address, and start searching for food. Or use the service from a browser (desktop/mobile). Restaurants are listed based on location closest to you, once you put in your delivery details. You can view them via the Delivery or Pickup tabs. Restaurants closing times are also listed when you go into an eatery. Everything appears neatly in categories that you tap and go into. It’s all about the UX for me, so I love that I can do this, instead of keep scrolling like UberEats. It is also tabulated so you can switch between, for example, starters, mains, veg, chicken, fish, etc options. If a restaurant has its own delivery service and pricing, it will be listed on the results (example, Col’cacchio is R15).
SAMPLE PRICING: For this review I used Mexican Fresh, which appears on all three apps. A chimichanga costs R66.
UNIQUE FEATURE: Menu prices are identical to the restaurant menu, no markups.
MY EXPERIENCE: I’ve used it with no hassle. My food came in the time suggested by the app, especially considering it was lunch time, which was a total of 45 minutes since placing the order.
OTHER: With UberEats, you have to rely on a driver picking up your order, so if a driver accepts, then rejects, you are dependent on another picking up your delivery. With OrderIn and Mr D Food, you can be guaranteed someone will deliver your order, usually on a scooter (and beat traffic!). Both Mr D Food and UberEats markup their menu prices, OrderIn does not. OrderIn tells Wired to the Web it will *never* markup menu prices as its revenue model is commission based.
⚡️ WINNER ⚡️
OrderIn – transparent with prices, which are *always* identical to the menu. Great customer care, especially on Twitter. Owning mess-ups and following through, sometimes in person, and sometimes the CEO will get in touch with you!
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org