Here’s How Foodpanda is Taking to the Skies to Change How Takeaway Food is Delivered
For years, friends and families have engaged in spirited debate about whether they’ll get Chinese or Indian food, and perhaps more crucially, who will make the dreaded phone call to place the order.
However, companies such as Foodpanda have sprung up to provide an elegant solution to this age-old problem. By collating many restaurants on a single site, and allowing customers to place their order with a few clicks, takeaway food is suddenly accessible without the need to make a single phone call. Added to this is the convenience of being able to pay by card through the website, as well as obtaining food from vendors which don’t normally offer delivery.
Foodpanda was founded in 2012, and was operating in 23 countries just one year later. In 2014 it processed over 8.7 million orders, and in 2016 was earning revenues of €50.6 million. However, with the industry booming and so many similar services springing up all the time, Foodpanda needs to be constantly innovating to maintain its relevance.
Taking a leaf out of Amazon’s book, Foodpanda is presently experimenting with enabling food delivery via unmanned radio-controlled drones. With delivery company Deliveroo making roads into Singapore and offering delivery times of 32 minutes or less, Foodpanda is looking to bring its average time down even further.
With takeaway food, getting the customer’s order to their address in as quick a manner as possible is of utmost importance. There are few things more irritating to a consumer than paying a premium for freshly made and home delivered food only to have it arrive stone cold. With drone delivery, normal concerns such as high levels of traffic, or roadworks and accidents will no longer be relevant.
Not only will drones make food delivery a more reliable prospect, but they will also expand the number of locations which can be made available for customers to order from. “The idea is to use [drone delivery] to massively expand the offerings and choice for customers in the heartlands because most of our vendors are located in central Singapore,” Foodpanda’s Managing Director, Luc Andreani, explains. “These vendors do not deliver everywhere, to Tuas, Woodlands and the far east like Changi. But if we have drone deliveries, we can actually bring the food from anywhere to everywhere.”
Foodpanda Singapore hopes to make drone delivery in less than 20-minutes available to customers in late 2018 or early 2019, with a view to rolling the service out globally as soon as possible.
One of the features which makes online third-party takeaway delivery services appealing to customers is the ability to pay for the food with a credit or debit card, or even their PayPal account. Most people will have found themselves in the frustrating situation where they want to order food, but are scuppered by a lack of physical cash, and services such as Foodpanda offer an elegant solution.
However, there are still customers who prefer to pay cash on delivery for their takeaway, and this poses additional challenges for companies who wish to facilitate this option, such as Foodpanda. “We are the only player in Singapore that offers cash on delivery as a payment option and it is great for customers, and they love it,” says Andreani. “However, it is a nightmare for us from a logistics perspective because once the rider collects the cash, you need to collect it back, which takes a lot of time and effort.”
However, Foodpanda have come up with a simple yet innovative solution which makes life easier for vendors, riders, and itself, while still ensuring customers can elect to pay cash for their food if they wish to. Foodpanda’s freelance delivery persons will have a digital wallet which is connected to Foodpanda and their own bank accounts. When they deliver an order and collect payment, the digital wallet will reimburse the vendor, while the rider simply pockets the cash – saving a trip back to the restaurant to drop off the money.
Not content with its innovations in drone delivery and enabling stress-free cash payments, Foodpanda is also considering implementing text-based chatbots to answer frequently asked question when telephone operators are unavailable. However, the company is sensitive to the fact that chatbots can be a controversial feature and will only implement them if it feels they will be well-received by customers.
The final word goes to Foodpanda’s Managing Director, Luc Andreani.
“In terms of spirit, we are super flat, the hierarchy is there, but we have an open office, where everyone can speak to everyone, interns can speak to me. There are no restrictions, rules or barriers and we strongly encourage people to take initiatives and proactively come up with their own ideas, spot problems, propose solutions and drive them from the beginning to the end.”