We live busy lives in the Metro that even dining out has become inconvenient due to traffic. People are increasingly ordering food through apps on their smartphones to save on time and money. With the rise of various food apps, there is one question worth asking: which is the best food delivery service app in the Philippines? We tried to find out.
Our team at MBites tried to determine which among the three major apps in the country, GrabFood, foodpanda, and honestbee, is objectively the most efficient at restaurant delivery service.
The comparison is based on our actual experience with them as a customer, after ordering the exact same food items from the same restaurant at the same time. We judged these apps according to the following criteria:
- Application Interface. The experience in using the app based on aesthetic, feel, and user-friendliness.
- Food Selection. Range of food options.
- Price. Delivery fee.
- Customer Service. Our in-app and face-to-face interaction with the riders.
- Speed. Time of delivery.
- Quality of the food and service. Accuracy of order, and if it was handled properly.
First, let’s get to know each of our contenders.
An extension of Grab, the transportation network company based in Singapore, GrabFood was officially launched in the Philippines only last year. This makes it the youngest and arguably the underdog of the three services. While being the youngest, GrabFood has grown so much in a year with operations in selected areas of Metro Manila, namely BGC, Makati, Ortigas, San Juan, Mandaluyong, QC, Manila, and Pasay, as well as in Cebu, and over 7,000 locally-based restaurants to choose from.
The foodpanda group is a leading global online food delivery marketplace. Its headquarters is in Berlin, Germany. It operates in more than 40 countries across five continents. In the Philippines, foodpanda was launched in June 2014 and has since grown to over 1,000 partner restaurants nationwide. Considering that it is a global brand specializing in food delivery, it’s easy to say that it has the highest chance of winning.
Honestbee is an online food, grocery, and parcel delivery service that started in Singapore in 2015. They began offering their food delivery service in the Philippines in 2017. They currently operate in 16 cities, with over 10,900 partners and 90,000 products.
On to the experiment! Err… contest!
We opened our apps at exactly 2:10PM in the afternoon. We already had a meal in mind: burger, fries, and a drink. Our location? The office in Intramuros. But, since we had to check the look and feel of each app, we took our time ordering.
All apps have the standard search bar at the top and shows the restaurants in a list. Each of them also showed the time it would take for us to receive an order from a certain restaurant, as well as its distance from our location. However, honestbee wins this round because of how well-balanced its design and functionality is. There’s a bar at the bottom that lets you easily navigate through their restaurant selection, your orders, profile, and cart. Both the bottom bar and search bar remain where they are while you search for your restaurant. GrabFood is the simplest to use while foodpanda is the most complicated but also the most comprehensive.
It’s actually hard to gauge which is the better app for the “food selection” category since the three have equally many choices to try. They all suit whatever food cravings one has, from Western, fusion, to local cuisine. The distinction is that some partner brands aren’t present with the other. There are only a handful of restaurants the three have in common. Although, we personally found honestbee ever so slightly favorable than the rest, since they have small local brands partnered with them. I actually found some small restaurants from my previous neighborhood in España, which are good finds. Similarly, if you happen to live or work in Makati, the famous jolly jeeps which offer affordable and delicious home-cooked meals, have been recently added to GrabFood’s roster. That’s a big plus for me.
GrabFood and honestbee have a fixed delivery fee of P49.00, on the other hand, foodpanda charges depending on the restaurant. The delivery price relies on certain conditions set per brand partner, but its cost would always be lower than that of the two. Another thing about foodpanda is that some brand partners have free delivery. So, we all know which app comes first on this one.
After exploring the apps for 10 minutes, we finally added our orders to cart, officially starting the race at 2:20PM. We also asked the riders to have change ready for P1000, to test their responsiveness.
One minute from locking our orders in, GrabFood already got us a rider, just ahead of about 30 seconds from honestbee. Meanwhile, foodpanda sent us notifications that something went wrong with the app. It wasn’t until seven minutes later that foodpanda processed our order and found us a rider.
GrabFood’s rider was the chattiest, and we commend his caution to get our order right. Honestbee’s rider asked us politely where our exact location is, and the conversation ended when we told him our address. Foodpanda’s rider did not send any message at all.
GrabFood promised us a delivery time of 29-34 minutes, and they delivered! Exactly 30 minutes and the rider was already at the lobby. When I found that he didn’t have his insulated bag rider’s would normally carry, I asked him where it was and he honestly replied that he intentionally left it at home as he preferred a different method of carrying his goods. I realize that this was an isolated case. Anyway, extra points to the rider because he was so easy to talk to and responded positively to my questions. The order was packaged in a paper bag within a plastic bag. Kind of wasteful if you ask us, but it gets the job done. Among the three, it was the fastest and best-handled delivery. The rider is the most likable as well.
Foodpanda arrived next, taking 40 minutes, even though the app said the rider would be there in 49. During his trip, the time projected by the app was shifting and inconsistent. And again, he did not contact us in anyway. But he was the only one who carried with him the standard insulated bag. Just as we thought foodpanda redeemed itself, the rider handed us our fries tilted on the side, scattering the bacon bits inside the paper bag.
Honestbee came in last, just three minutes after foodpanda. In all fairness, the app did tell us that the food would arrive within 53 minutes, and it came in 43. Usually the food comes in an honestbee tote bag, but the rider didn’t have any since he told us the company hasn’t been issuing the bag recently. Another isolated case maybe? When we handed the rider the whole thousand as payment, he requested that we pay him in exact amount. I asked if he saw our note on the delivery regarding the change, and he immediately said yes. He told us that he will try to get the change that time if we could only wait for him. I told him there was no need and gave him the exact amount. The drink made a little mess, the food was also handled quite nicely. Not as nice as GrabFood though.
Overall, GrabFood, emerged as the darkhorse of our little contest. The app’s interface may be basic, but that just means it’s easier to navigate. The delivery charge is value for money, since we think P49.00 is a fair price for their service and swift delivery. For food choice, the quantity and quality of its restaurant partners are exceptional. What we were very impressed about is how fast the food came. Although all food delivery service did arrive at around their expected times, the mere fact that GrabFood came 10 minutes earlier than the two is a game changer. We also took great value in the attitude of the rider, and how well the food was handled. It is the Alpha of the food apps.