Foodpanda: Rocket Internet’s Play At Food Delivery in Asia

Willis Wee
10:39 pm on Apr 22, 2013
foodpanda co-founder

Foodpanda co-founder Kiren Tanna

Rocket Internet’s online food delivery website, Foodpanda, was launched last year in April and has since undergone rapid expansion. Today, Rocket Internet’s FoodPanda is in eight Asian countries supported by 150 staff. Foodpanda, combined with Hellofood which is a food delivery site targeted at non-Asian markets, is serving over 10,000 restaurants. Foodpanda alone has around 5,000 restaurants.

Foodpanda co-founder Kiren Tanna (pictured), claims that all nine markets are growing and growth has been especially great for Pakistan, India, and Indonesia. In India, Foodpanda is working with over 2,000 restaurants. Interestingly, Kiren shared that India has a lot of orders from iPads over the weekend. For Pakistan, around 60 to 70 percent of the orders come from mobile. Singapore is a big dinner market while Indonesia and Taiwan prefer to order during lunch time.

Foodpanda works like this: customers go to the website and place orders online, then the restaurants will receive an order slip from Foodpanda’s GPRS box (or through SMS/email/fax), prepare the orders, and deliver them to the customers’ doorstep.


Foodpanda GPRS box

In places like Indonesia where food orders can be done by text or phone without the need of such a platform, I asked how Foodpanda differentiates itself. Kiren explained that the experience ordering food through the phone isn’t ideal. There’s a higher rate of errors when communicating information on the phone. Plus, expats who don’t speak the local language wouldn’t be able to place an order. With Foodpanda, it remembers customers’ delivery information when they next place an order, minimizes errors in communication since information is digitized, and ensures the most updated menus and prices available.

Although food orders are mostly done online, Foodpanda occasionally accepts phone orders to help new users get started. In such cases, the login details are sent to first time users together with discount perks to encourage them to order online in the future.

When asked about how Foodpanda selects restaurants to work with, Kiren told me:

We find the [restaurant] leads based on what we see [online], for example, HungryGoWhere. When we signed up a restaurant, we asked them questions like how many deliveries do you do? Are you ready for weekend peak capacity?

Foodpanda also orders from new restaurants to ensure that the food delivery experience is good and the food is in a good state when they are delivered. Orders from Foodpanda, though great, can be stressful for restaurants. Kiren shared that there are cases whereby a company flooded one store by ordering 200 sandwiches and another ordered 120 lunch boxes!

Moving forward, Foodpanda is looking to integrate with the big restaurants’ points-of-sale (POS) to make the process from ordering to billing smoother. Foodpanda is also investing heavily in mobile as it sees “very good traction” and growing number of orders from mobile devices. Kiren added:

We’re looking at city expansion […] and we want to be the number one in emerging markets for delivery services.

In Asia, Foodpanda competes with Dealguru’s Room Service Deliveries which operates in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia. There’s no way to investigate who is bigger since both sides aren’t willing to share any data.

  • Gerald

    oh…the gprs box thing looks innovative.

  • Benson Lin

    I like the convenience but texting/calling to buy food is cheaper. paying cash at the door help to protect users from getting cheated.

  • Pony

    Hahah nice pic with panda at back.

  • Sumeet

    I tried it last weekend itself and the experience was HORRIBLE. The food never got delivered inspite of me ordering on internet and then confirming it again over the call. After more than 1.5 hrs of wait when I again called back to check there was no response at all. No follow-up even after leaving message. TERRIBLE experience would never try it again!!!!

  • Sascha

    I’ve been to a few talks here in Bangkok where Foodpanda and Rocket in general was always a topic and most ‘experts’ believe that, at least Foodpanda, isn’t working over here to well since the need for food delivery simply isn’t there due to the huge amount of food vendors that are open almost 24/7. And if it comes to delivery the locals rather tend to call the restaurant of their choice themselves. Leaves expats of course and I believe that’s the biggest part of their customers right now. However many restaurants with an international target audience (like scoozi pizza for example) offer online ordering on their own.

    However it’s interesting to see that it is working in other Asian countries.

Read More