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Entertainment, Food & Beverage

More choices online for foodies

Third-party delivery websites serve up a wide variety of restaurant dishes with just a mouse click.
The Straits Times - September 19, 2012
By: Seow Tein Hee
| More
More choices online for foodies ST ILLUSTRATION: QUEK HONG SHIN

Food delivery does not mean you will end up getting burgers, pizza and fried chicken for dinner.

Fussy eaters can now enjoy piping hot Indian curry, restaurant-style BBQ ribs, fresh sushi and even ice-cold beer delivered to their homes at the click of a button.

More than a dozen delivery services have popped up, representing more than 100restaurants around the island, promising a balanced diet without you lifting a finger in your kitchen.

There is dim sum from Yum Cha, burgers from Bergs Gourmet Burgers and baby-back ribs from Dallas Restaurant and Bar. These are a huge change from the pizzas and burgers Mr Eugene Teo used to order to feed his friends during football match screenings in his home.

"We got quite sick of eating the same pizzas at every match," said the 30-year-old engineer.

Unlike fast-food restaurants that run their own dispatch services, these online third-party delivery services are independent and form a bridge between food merchants and customers, giving consumers more cuisine options.

Mr Teo recently discovered Dealivery.sg, a spin-off from the daily deal website Deal.com.sg, that was launched in April.

"We have about 150 merchants on board and have received an overwhelming number of orders since we launched," said Mr Richin Desai, vice-president of marketing at DealGuru Holdings.

The popularity of the service meant the company had to scale back on its marketing to avoid being inundated with orders.

Limitations

These operations differ from traditional food-delivery ones. Some offer full-day delivery and will pick up and send food to any location, while others put customers in contact with restaurants willing to deliver within a particular vicinity.

There are also services where delivery personnel are allocated to eateries, such as Long John Silver's.

Due to the high investment cost of an island-wide delivery service, the fast-food chain preferred to use the services of Dealivery.sg, which charges a commission.

"Besides the low cost of investment, the logistics is better handled by Dealivery.sg," said MrKelvin Tan, chief marketing officer for Long John Silver's, on the benefits of using a third-party delivery service.

He estimates that the chain has seen a 10 per cent increase in deliveries.

Mr Teo said he prefers ordering online as it allows him to track his order in real time.

However, convenience has a price.

"The delivery cost is now higher than what I am used to," he said.

Most require a minimum order, which can start from $20, and go as high as $70. Others also add a service fee, on top of a delivery charge.

Foodpanda's charges are based on location, while Singapore-dine.sg charges $10 per delivery, with a 10per cent service charge.

Yet, money cannot buy 24-hour convenience, as not all services nor restaurants operate throughout the day.

Depending on the restaurant's opening hours and the delivery company's resources, the service may be limited to lunch hours, ranging from 11am to 2.30pm, and dinner hours, from 6pm to 9.30pm.

Even so, Mr Teo does not mind.

"Such restaurant food is usually eaten during normal waking hours. If I really need a late-night snack, I will just go online and order from a 24-hour fast-food chain," he said.

Digital Life tests four of these services and looks at how they performed in the areas of food variety, ease of ordering, delivery speed and food freshness.

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