Posts Tagged ‘food’

Thinking about online food delivery services

I’ve been asked many times if some types of startups can work in the Malaysian marketplace. So here’s a quick braindump on delivery services.

When I lived in Melbourne, a bad day was when you had to call Dominos for pizza delivery. I much rather ordered food from the multiple pizza parlours nearby. I wasn’t limited to them either: delivery of Chinese or Indian food was always available, just a phone call away. It was always useful when you didn’t want to leave the house or fire up the car.

This in turn helped the local economy grow further. Delivery boys were hired, and many were probably studying. Independent retailers were cherished.

In London today, I see an ad on the tube for They claim access to over 3,000 delivery menus. If you get their app, you get 20% off your first order as a new customer who saw their “tube” ad (incidentally the voucher code). Naturally they are on the Apple AppStore & Google Play Store.

Just look at that number: 3,000 delivery menus.

I’m sure you can’t get all that delivered to you no matter where in London you lived, but you probably do have a good chunk to access. I’d say restaurants within a 20 minute driving/riding radius from your location.

London has 6 zones that are covered on a tube line. I never stay out of zone 1 when I come to visit. However friends do live out at zone 3 even and you’ll enjoy seeing a grocery store, restaurants, and banks in every neighbourhood.

This was similar to how Melbourne was planned. Again, I never ventured out of zone 1, though for a period of time I did live at the border of zone 2. Every local area I was at, was served well.

The Klang Valley isn’t planned this way, with a lot more connections reliant on lengthy highways. This is probably why food delivery services that started pre-Web-hype usually focused on areas like Bangsar/PJ, KL, etc. (See Room Service delivery who probably pioneered this in Malaysia). They have their riders, they have their usual restaurants within similar areas, and they service you as a third party.

Suburbia is a lot more prevalent within the Klang Valley. Just venture into Alam Damai (Cheras) or Kota Kemuning and you’ll soon realise that you’ve hit true suburbia with services that are very lacking.

It is there that you will have to order Dominos. Or Pizza Hut. Or McDonalds.

Those are brands that are synonymous with delivery & take out.

Can this change? Will local ‘kedai runcit’ stores (or the milk bars) figure out delivery makes sense? Is it too far fetched to order a garlic & cheese naan, with some tandoori chicken & a Milo with cows milk for delivery? Or a nice claypot fish congee?

Delivery order minimums may play into things but if memory serves, all I had to hit was AUD$10 before I could trigger a complimentary delivery.

So, back to Malaysia and getting food delivered to your home/office, from places that are 20-30 minutes away. What’s available today:

  1. Room Service which pioneered this in Malaysia (I think) wants RM20, with RM12-20 delivery fees (source)
  2. foodpanda from Rocket Internet. 60 minutes delivery time, RM4-6 delivery fee, RM10-15 minimum order value

In the US, there seems to be GrubHub, Eat24, etc. In the UK, there’s Just Eat, niftynosh, etc.

What about payments? Room Service accepts visa/master/amex or cash.

The next time I have some time in Malaysia, I probably will give Room Service or foodpanda a try. Just to see how it works. I do see that their delivery areas are limited, which is naturally sad as it doesn’t cover the whole Klang Valley.

Can this work in Malaysia? Do people eat-in that often? How do you fix the location issue? When do we see more of the middlemen being cut out? Is it a good idea to go into business as a middleman like Room Service/foodpanda? How does this dynamic work when people don’t leave their homes, i.e. staying with their families even after marriage?

I don’t have the answers, and apparently this hasn’t been cracked since 2003 (when roomservice started).

Food in Brussels

Barbar at Delirium in Brussels. Thousands of beers in-store! It was my first time to Brussels, Belgium. I found some amazing food that I’d go back to on a regular basis on future trips to Brussels. Most of everything is in the Grand Place area.

Scheletema has been around since 1972. They serve high quality food. Try their steak (filet mignon). Try their tuna. They have awesome scallops for a starter. Their menus can also be relatively good value for money.

Brussels is famous for “moules et frites” (mussels & fries). Visit Chez Leon. Its always crowded, has been around since 1893, and they have excellent mussels. Their Leon beer isn’t too bad either.

Want beer? Check out Delirium Cafe. Its in the Guinness Book of Records for holding over 2,000 beers in stock. Their tap beers are awesome too. I’ve quite enjoyed Barbar.

Waffles are available everywhere. For tradition, visit Le Funambule Waffles, which is near to Manneken Pis. They’ve been around since 18xx.

Fries are also everywhere, be sure to try out many of the sauces.

La Fourchette du Printemps

Beautiful quaint little restaurant at Rue du Printemps, nearby the Wagram metro station. It has one Michelin star. Lunch tasting menu is 45 euros a pop (February 2012) – starter, main course, desert. They also give you a pre-starter (free) plus a pre-desert (free). They close for lunch at 2pm, but entertained us right till 3.30pm – brilliant service. Chocolate desert for presentation was absolutely amazing – worth taking a video snapshot in-memory. Main course was out of this world. Definitely worth paying a visit; all credit cards (visa/master/amex) accepted.