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With ShopeeFood M’sia launched, here’s the big-name food delivery app showdown of 2021

ShopeeFood has officially entered the space for food delivery apps in Malaysia, which is already saturated. Despite the many services out there, GrabFood and foodpanda appear to have the largest market shares of the food delivery scene locally.

Last year, airasia food attempted to capture a larger portion of the market by having Tony Fernandes personally deliver orders to customers between December 1 till Christmas. This year, it expanded with Teleport’s acquisition of Penang-based DeliverEat.

Thus, to see if ShopeeFood would even stand a chance against its competitors, we spent October 1 testing these 4 apps against each other. That was approximately 1 week after ShopeeFood officially launched in Malaysia.

To make the playing field as level as possible, we hunted for an outlet that all 4 apps listed. Ultimately, we were left with a very limited choice, which was Union Artisan Coffee @ 3 Damansara, which was a rough 2km away from our location in SS2, Petaling Jaya. Then we made our orders within minutes of each other.

This was to reduce external factors like bad traffic and weather that differ depending on the time of day. For this comparison, we’ll be taking into consideration the time taken to receive our order, user experience on the platform, cost differences, and the extra features offered for this experiment.

Note: This is not a sponsored article, and the services are arranged according to the order of our purchases. We also ordered different drinks on each app for some variety, but provide a comparison of the same drink’s price across the different apps for a standard reference.

GrabFood

Headquartered in Singapore, GrabFood was launched in 2018 and has since been one of the main players in the food delivery service scene. 

GrabFood is operational in 8 SEA countries. In Malaysia, it delivers in KL, Selangor, Kedah, Penang, Melaka, Johor, Pahang, Terengganu, Langkawi, Sabah, Sarawak.

Its delivery radius ranges between 7km-10km. You can pay with online methods or via GrabPay if you’re a frequent user, and cash on delivery (COD) is only available in several cities.

A look at GrabFood’s user interface and experience (UI & UX)

User experience (orders and payment): As I’m already a frequent user of GrabFood and GrabPay, the ordering and payment process was swift since all my details are already registered. New users would ultimately go through a similar process since you’ll be required to sign up for an account.

Price: I paid a total of RM11.43 for my Piccolo Latte whereby the coffee itself cost RM9.43 (inclusive of RM0.53 tax) while the delivery fee was RM2.

Time taken for order to arrive: 32 minutes. We placed our coffee order at 1.45PM, and our hot Piccolo arrived at 2.17PM, still warm.

It was wrapped up pretty well

Overall thoughts: A rather swift, yet expected experience when ordering on GrabFood. The delivery duration of 32 minutes was average for the service, though I was surprised at how low the delivery fee turned out to be as it can go much higher depending on several factors.

Here’s how I’d rate GrabFood:

Criteria:Ratings (out of 5 stars):
App’s UI & UX5 – Very intuitive for even newbies.
Price4 – Not the cheapest, but reasonable.
Delivery time4 – Not the fastest, but within expectations.
Overall service quality (How much would I use it again)5 – I’m already in too deep.

foodpanda

Expanded to Malaysia in 2012, foodpanda is a Berlin founded company that’s operational in over 40 countries worldwide. In fact, it’s actually the first food delivery app to launch here. 

Locally, foodpanda is available in KL, Selangor, Johor, Melaka, Penang, Pahang, Kedah, Terengganu, Kelantan, Negeri Sembilan, Sabah, and Sarawak.

The app is able to deliver orders from merchants within 5km of your delivery address and accepts COD in addition to the regular online methods.

foodpanda’s UI & UX

User experience (orders and payment): The ordering process was rather smooth for us as well. We had little trouble with the intuitive UI (similar to Grab’s), and payment was made without a hitch.

Price: The total for a Piccolo Latte on foodpanda was RM13.60. The coffee cost RM8.90, the delivery fee RM3.99, while there was an additional service tax of RM0.77.

Time taken for order to arrive: 19 minutes. We managed to place the order at 1.47PM, and it arrived at 2.06PM. The iced latte we ordered came with its ice still intact, albeit with a little leakage that wasn’t really the rider’s fault.

foodpanda has definitely stepped up its game from the last time one of our colleagues reviewed it back in 2019, where he reported that it took the service 1.5 hours to deliver his food for what should’ve been at most a 45-minute process.

The first one to arrive

Overall thoughts: For a service that’s been in the food delivery scene for 9 years now, the user experience is unsurprisingly smooth, just like GrabFood. However, foodpanda has the smallest delivery radius in each area compared to the 3 other apps reviewed here. 

This could be a strategic move on foodpanda’s part, as a smaller delivery radius may be able to ensure rider availability by keeping them saturated within a small area. My colleague, who lives in a more suburban town with fewer restaurant choices, has also stated that foodpanda has been the most reliable food delivery option for her.

Thus, foodpanda takes the win for the fastest delivery time.

My ratings for foodpanda:

Criteria:Ratings (out of 5 stars):
App’s UI & UX5 – An overall good experience.
Price3 – A much higher delivery fee than GrabFood’s.
Delivery time5 – Fastest delivery during the review process.
Overall service quality (How much would I use it again)5 – It’d be my 2nd choice after GrabFood.

airasia food

airasia food was launched in May 2020 as a response to its grounded flights during the first MCO. Supported by AirAsia’s logistics arm, Teleport, it first made its debut in the Klang Valley and has since expanded to Ipoh, Johor, and Melaka.

Although the service originally provided a delivery radius of up to 60km, it currently only lists restaurants that fall within 15km of my final delivery address. The COD payment method is not offered.

When our order was finally picked up

User experience (orders and payment): airasia food probably had one of the worst user interfaces for its ordering page. We wanted to order a caramel iced latte, but instead of having the usual drop-down menu to choose your flavour, we had to type out this preference as a note, which is a step that can be easily missed by users.

Unlike the other apps, airasia food oddly didn’t allow for immediate deliveries and prompted us to choose a scheduled delivery time. Which means, if you wanted to order your food at 1.55PM, you’d have to choose the most immediate time slot which is 2.30PM. However, this may differ from area to area, as my previous experience with the app wasn’t like this.

To add, the payment process was very slow as there were long buffer times in between the switching of pages on the app. My colleague’s app froze upon paying for her order, so I gave it a shot but experienced the same.

We waited a couple of minutes to try again, and the second time was the charm. After placing our order and making the payment though, we had to wait for the restaurant to confirm our order. This probably took 10 minutes and was a weird experience because we were just left in limbo for a while, not knowing if our order would actually come or not.

Price: The bill for a Piccolo Latte would’ve cost RM10.44, where the drink was RM9.45 while the delivery fee was RM0.99.

Time taken for order to arrive: 52 minutes. Our iced caramel latte order that got through was placed at 2PM and only arrived at 2.52PM. Its ice was intact and the drink suffered no leakages.

All lined up

Overall thoughts: Perhaps the delivery time slots are meant to manage customers’ expectations when receiving their items. There was also some confusion from our rider asking to confirm our delivery address, implying that airasia food’s location tagging and address input was inefficient.

To add, the rider also had to confirm our order to ensure he picked up the right one. We weren’t sure if it was because airasia food’s ordering system was also inefficient, or it was because we had forgotten to specify “caramel” in the notes of our order due to repeated tries.

Just like their flights, airasia food brands itself as being a more affordable option in the market. And based on the price comparison, they do have the cheapest rates, giving them the point for having the best price.

Here’s how we’d rate airasia food:

Criteria:Ratings (out of 5 stars):
App’s UI & UX1 – Messy interface, laggy app.
Price5 – Very affordable.
Delivery time1 – Scheduled delivery slots are not favourable for food orders.
Overall service quality (How much would I use it again)2 – At least our rider called to confirm details.

ShopeeFood

The new kid in town, ShopeeFood was made available in Malaysia on September 24 this year. Headquartered under SEA Group in Singapore, ShopeeFood is currently available in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia (with rumours that Singapore will be included too).

In Malaysia, ShopeeFood is only available in the Klang Valley for now. Though its official delivery radius is not known, my app only shows me merchants within 6km. Unlike on the other apps, self pickups are not available.

User experience (orders and payment): The ordering and payment process was as smooth as GrabFood’s for the same reason: I’m already a frequent user of ShopeePay and its e-commerce platform.

Price: The Piccolo Latte’s total price was RM13.40 with tax included. The drink itself was RM9.40 while the delivery fee was RM4 (no vouchers were available).

Time taken for order to arrive: Here’s the twist: it never did. We tried ordering twice, and both attempts got rejected as it couldn’t find us a rider, just like my pre-launch attempts

I gave it another try the next day but switched merchants as I’d lost all hope in getting my coffee via ShopeeFood after 4 further failed attempts (was it just the location of the store?). I placed an order at 5.12PM for an avocado milkshake from a location that was 4km away from my residence.

It was delivered to me 14 minutes later at 5.26PM, which was actually the fastest recorded time compared to the others, even with an extended delivery distance.

Overall thoughts: With the number of cancellations we faced when trying out ShopeeFood, the service’s only redeeming factor for us was its prompt refunds supplied via ShopeePay. 

However, for those without the app’s e-wallet enabled, it can be said that the service might just be pigeonholing users into using it. While beneficial for existing users, it’s a hindrance to new ones.

As for its inability to find us riders in a reliable manner, we’d pose this question to Shopee Malaysia: why launch the food delivery service if it’s not of a scale to fully meet demands?

This experience proved an immediate failure on ShopeeFood’s part to capture users early on. If it can’t reliably match riders to users and is adamant about forcing its e-wallet onto them, there would be few incentives for people to try it again and again. 

With stronger and more dependable food delivery services already in the market, the only way we can see ShopeeFood being a competitor is if they offer lower food or delivery prices, or offer irresistible promos that aren’t just ShopeePay-exclusive.

Our ratings for ShopeeFood:

Criteria:Ratings (out of 5 stars):
App’s UI & UX5 – Intuitive interface and reliable payment system.
Price3 – With no promos, prices are higher than competitors’.
Delivery time2 – Fast delivery if it works as intended, but we have to take points off for the many cancellations experienced.
Overall service quality (How much would I use it again)0 – I’ve got other more dependable food delivery apps.

-//- 

Tying up all the ratings above, here’s how they each fare:

Criteria:GrabFoodfoodpandaairasia foodShopeeFood
App’s UI & UX5/55/51/55/5
Price4/53/55/53/5
Delivery time4/55/51/52/5
Overall service quality (How much would I use it again)5/55/52/50/5
Total:18/2018/209/2010/20

In the end, the winners that came out on top were still GrabFood and foodpanda. Perhaps there’s a good reason why they command so much market share here.

Despite ShopeeFood’s fastest delivery time (ultimately) and airasia food’s more affordable prices, the main players still won us over for their dependability, consistent delivery, and overall good user experience. They’re the undisputed champions, and using either foodpanda or GrabFood is very much down to one’s personal preferences.

PS: to the Union Artisan Coffee branch in 3 Damansara, thank you for the 3 solid cups of coffee we got that day. It’s what kept us going throughout this stressful experience managing the logistics of this experiment.

  • You can read more articles we’ve written about food deliveries here.

Featured Image Credit: ShopeeFood Malaysia / GrabFood Malaysia / airasia food / foodpanda Malaysia

Categories: Reviews, Malaysian, F&B, AirAsia

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Vulcan Post aims to be the knowledge hub of Singapore and Malaysia.

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(UEN 201431998C.)

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