CONTEXT

When in Dubai, everything can be delivered to you.

Getting things delivered is an institution in Dubai – from the chai brought to your car window to the soda brought up to your apartment. Delivery services have evolved significantly since then, becoming full fledged e-commerce solutions.

In the realm of food delivery, we’ve now got plenty of brands which allow us to completely avoid human contact, and restaurants face a choice of services to integrate with. While customers hope the competitive field will provide greater choice and superior service, restaurants may now have less negotiating power on commissions when taking their offerings online.

There’s also international interest and local market tumult. Germany-based investor Rocket Internet recently acquired Talabat, and FoodPanda, in which the investor has a major stake, also snatched up Foodonclick and 24h. Foodora exited the market weeks ago, redirecting their customers to Talabat. As the competition heats up, creating an engaging experience has never been more important.


CHALLENGE

Lunch here at MBLM Dubai often means delivery, so we decided to turn a critical eye to the design, functionality and overall experience offered by the online services we use. We tested 6 of the largest services in Dubai, first keeping the restaurant as a constant (our perennial favorite, Maple Leaf), and then, separately, placed orders from restaurants unfamiliar to us. Our goal: to find the optimal online ordering experience.

WHO WILL WIN OUR ONLINE FOOD ORDERING BATTLE?

In Dubai since:
2011
Founded:
Dubai (2005, now owned by FoodPanda)


In Dubai since:
2015
Founded:
UK (2013)


In Dubai since:
2011
Founded:
Dubai


In Dubai since:
2010
Founded:
Turkey (2000, now owned by FoodPanda)


In Dubai since:
2012
Founded:
Kuwait (2004, now owned by Rocket Internet)


In Dubai since:
2015
Founded:
India (2009)


INSIGHTS

Before we dig into the details, here are some interesting trends we’ve noticed along the way:

BRAND

MANY WAYS TO TANTALIZE TASTEBUDS

Design and personality make Deliveroo stand out where other fall flat.

A lot of individual factors can influence an optimal ordering experience. For online food delivery brands, these factors include design, digital user experience, tone of voice in communications, and customer engagement and support.

Deliveroo does an exceptional job of whetting the appetite before you even consider placing an order, through smart hierarchy and intuitive organization on the website, witty and well written copy in both on-site messaging and emails, and simple, yet beautifully designed interfaces and communications.

TASTY: Deliveroo’s design and writing.
TIRED: Talabat’s lacklustre messaging and 24h’s old school design.

MOBILE APPS

THERE’S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO ORDER ONLINE

Smartly made dedicated apps deliver delicious experiences through added funtionality.

Eateasily, Foodonclick and Talabat all vie for places on your phone’s homescreen. Zomato launched its delivery service first through their app, and only later over their website. Deliveroo offers the same, but currently only on iOS. 24h tries to manage with a responsive website, but suffers from design and functionality bugs that detract from the experience.

Having a great app can help to establish a brand as a go-to solution through larger mindshare. Great user experience and added functionality are vital though – the Foodonclick app’s inability to use your location or the sheer number of clicks required to place an order on Talabat’s app all result in frustration.

TASTY: Zomato’s full featured app.
TIRED: 24h’s frustrating mobile website.

THE MENU

ALL THINGS TO ALL PEOPLE

Talabat and Zomato allow users to post reviews of restaurants, which helped us make choices.

As a food delivery brand, providing options in your menu selection is vital. 24h, Foodonclick and Eateasily have around 400 restaurants delivering to our area, and unsurprisingly, many of these don’t have very good food. In comparison, Deliveroo offers about 75, almost all of which were known to us as delicious eateries. Zomato and Talabat take steps in the same direction through restaurant reviews, while other brands leave it up to you to take the risk.

Curation makes restaurant discovery exciting, and reviews make it easier. It’s good to have choices, but its better when the hard decisions have already been made for you!

TASTY: Talabat and Zomato’s written restaurant reviews, Deliveroo’s curated restaurant list.
TIRED: Other brands’ indecision inducing restaurant lists.

ECOSYSTEM

NAVIGATING THE SEAS OF FOOD CULTURE

Zomato plays its cards right and creates a culture around the love of good food.

All six brands provide the essential basic services – restaurant search, menus, account setup, and online payment. And every one of them delivers on those expectations, some with pain points, others more seamlessly.

Zomato, however, is the only service that builds an entire ecosystem around food. Drawing from its origins as a restaurant review service, the brand allows users to review restaurants in detail, read others’ notes on restaurants, create a log of restaurants visited, and even follow other users’ foodie adventures. These all come together to truly help the user make a choice among a plethora of delivery options.

TASTY: Zomato’s foodie ecosystem.
TIRED: Others brands’ order-only functionality.

OFFLINE ORDERING

SOMETIMES, CALLING IS THE WAY TO GO

The restaurant downstairs already knows me – why look further?

Sometimes it’s simpler and more intimate to just dial. This is especially true when the restaurant is one you order from and visit all the time – you know exactly what you want, and the restaurant can greet you by name, and potentially guess your order. Getting to know the owners can be invaluable.Online ordering, on the other hand, requires you to make new choices and deal with unknowns. But of course, this comes with the advantages of a slew of options, digital menus, discounts, offers, online payment, and the joy of discovering excellent new food.

The Full Notes

Download the full notes to see which service kept us coming back for more!

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