If you don’t feel like going out for lunch due to the foul weather or need to prepare something that you can’t afford the luxury of dine-in, a natural option is to avail of service delivery by restaurants and fast food outlets. In partnership with food delivery companies, it becomes convenient for you and me to order something, pay by cash on delivery or through mobile apps payment, and expect prompt delivery at a specified time.
The business model helps link eaters and restaurants just like Airbnb connects spare room owners make money and travelers more choices, as well as Uber providing income to private car drivers and commuters who seek alternative to taxicabs.
But before the time you get hungry and the time you dispose of your food container, what else should you need to know about food delivery in Hong Kong?
Not all areas in Hong Kong are covered by food delivery services
As relatively small Hong Kong’s land area can be, it doesn’t mean you can get deliveries sent anywhere. Perhaps when drones and unmanned machines start getting commissioned, your friendly delivery man in scooter just can’t reach far-flung areas without spoiling your food or you losing your appetite waiting for so long.
UberEats – Yuen Long, Ma On Shan, Shatin, Tsing Yi, Kwai Fong, Lai Chi Kok, Tsuen Wan, Mong Kok, Tsim Sha Tsui, Ngau Tau Kok, Kwun Tong, Hung Hom, Central, Mid-Levels, Chai Wan, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Happy Valley and areas close to these districts.
honestbee – Pok Fu Lam, Kennedy Town, Sai Ying Pun, Sheung Wan, Central, Mid-levels, The Peak, Admiralty, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Cyberport and Happy Valley.
Multiple orders make more financial sense
If you are a group of hungry eaters, it can save you delivery cost when you order in bulk. For instance, UberEATS charges a flat booking fee of HK$20. Others don’t charge delivery fees but prices of items sold in store could be cheaper when you compare them with their catalog found online or in mobile apps.
- UberEATS – HK$20 flat fee
- Deliveroo – HK$20 for orders HK$85 or more. For some reason you get charged HK$35 if your order is less than HK$85.
Minimum order price varies by restaurant
Typical orders of HK$50 or more are accepted for delivery, but this depends on the restaurant and not the delivery provider.
While some shops do delivey for 24 hours, most do not.
While McDonald’s — some of whose outlets do not close — accepts orders even at 2am, others don’t offer such extra convenience. For example, the earliest delivery Pizza Hut can make is 11:30am while UberEATS takes early orders at 10:00am.
- Deliveroo – 12:00noon – 11:00pm
- Foodpanda – 10:00am – 10:00pm
- honestbee – 11:00am – 10:00pm
- KFC – 11:00am – 11:00pm
- McDonald’s – anytime
- UberEats – 10:00am
You don’t have to tip especially on services that explicitly charge on delivery
Some services accept cash while others don’t.
In the past, typical deliveries are made through phone. With a handy restaurant menu is on hand, a caller makes an order by phone specifying the menu. Delivery typically takes at least 15 minutes and payment is made through cash to the delivery man or woman. With the emergence of online services, payment by credit card became the norm but cash was still widely accepted until recently. Nowadays, some food delivery services don’t accept cash. Just read this line from Deliveroo: “People still use cash? Really, son? This is the new millennium, we don’t party like it’s 1999.”
- Deliveroo – credit cards
- honestbee – Amex, Visa and MasterCard
- KFC – credit cards or cash
- 51WM – Wechat Pay, Alipay, Paypal
Vouchers are also available for redemption
To save costs on orders and delivery, some delivery services offer vouchers. Customers who have them can enter these voucher codes in the company website or app. Some of these vouchers or discount coupons are made possible through partnerships or company promotions.
Citibank (expired December 2016)
Asiamiles – 1 Asiamile for every HK$2 spent on Foodpanda orders (min. HK$301 per order)
Citibank (expired May 2017)
You can order in advance
It is possible to place an order a way before your desired delivery date.
- Deliveroo – One day
- McDonald’s – 7 days
You can also pick up your orders
For restaurants who handle delivery by themselves and not through intermediary agents, it is possible for you to pick up your order at a pre-defined time, avoiding unnecessary waiting time on your part. Obviously, delivery companies make money by picking up your order from the restaurant and into your desired destination so they usually don’t offer such “pickup by customer” option.
Order pickup by customer?
- Deliveroo – No
- KFC – Yes
- Pizza Hut – Yes
- Pizza Express – Yes
Placing delivery orders can contribute to growing rubbish problem
On top of failed opportunity to take a healthy walk to your favorite restaurant, food delivery service can also contribute to an unhealthy environment. Plastic packaging and utensils and transport fumes are among the offenders especially when you as a customer don’t dispose of your unwanted plastic containers properly — Hong Kong doesn’t have a decent recycling program anyway. So the next time you place an order, take a look at how your delivery agent looks after planet Earth through the materials it uses.
A Consumer Council study revealed the dark side of food delivery services in Hong Kong
A study by the Consumer Council on several food delivery services — Deliveroo, Foodpanda, honestbee, UberEATS, 51WM, Itacho Sushi, KFC, McDonald’s and Pizza Hut — found out that 12 of 91 orders made in the research through 51WM and honestbee were cancelled without prior notice.
Overcharging can be rampant, as customers trade money with convenience. For instance a sushi order that cost HK$128 at the restaurant ballooned to HK$200 when passed through Deliveroo. McDonald’s McDelivery (34%) and Foodpanda (33%) had highest average markup costs.
Average markup costs
- McDelivery – 34%
- Foodpanda – 33%
- Deliveroo – 30%
- KFC – 27%
- Itacho Sushi – 25%
- UberEATS – 25%
- honestbee – 24%
- Pizza Hut – 14%
- 51WM – 11%
With a punctuality rate of just 20%, UberEATS is the worst offender in food deliveries arriving within 10 minutes of expected arrival. On the other end of the scale, Pizza Hut’s 88% punctuality rate is remarkable.
- Pizza Hut – 88%
- 51WM – 75%
- Itacho Sushi – 75%
- Deliveroo – 70%
- Foodpanda – 60%
- KFC – 50%
- McDelivery – 50%
- honestbee – 44%
- UberEATS – 20%
Delays can happen, but if the average delay lasts for several minutes, that’s a customer service issue.
Delayed food deliveries
- UberEATS – 18.3 minutes
- McDelivery – 16.8 minutes
- honestbee – 16.2 minutes
- Foodpanda – 12.2 minutes
- KFC – 11.6 minutes
- 51WM – 9 minutes
- Deliveroo – 7.6 minutes
- Itacho Sushi – 5.6 minutes
- Pizza Hut – 5.5 minutes
Ordering your next meal has become more convenient as it offers more food choices, payment methods and delivery options. But just like any other service, a vendor needs to win the trust of a customer. Prompt delivery, good quality food and reasonable pricing are just a few of the factors customers gauge food delivery providers.