Sunday 15 September 2013

Foodpanda - easy online food ordering in Mumbai

I wrote in my blog 'You say Tamatar, I say Tomato' that Mr Jules and I had experienced a few teething problems when ordering takeaways over the phone.  To requote a story about one of the first times he tried to order some rotis to go with our curry takeout:

MR JULES: "Please can I have two Rooortis" (in his best Yorkshire accent - always sure to throw them off)
OPERATOR: "Sorry sir, I am not understanding you?"
MR JULES: "Two Rooooti"
OPERATOR: "????"
MR JULES "RO-ti!!!"
OPERATOR: "?????"
MR JULES "I'd like two Row-ti" (This time trying a public school accent)
OPERATOR: "Sorry sir, what was that?"
MR JULES: "I WOULD LIKE TWO RO-TI!!" (Big shouting going on)
OPERATOR: "I am wery wery sorry sir, I am still not understanding you"
MR JULES: "OK, give me two NAAN!"
OPERATOR: "Yes sir, your order is on its vay"

To be honest, since I wrote that post, not a lot has changed when it comes to ordering food telephonically.  To save ourselves from the ritual humiliation, we tend to limit ourselves to ordering only from those places where a) we know the operator understands English or b) where they store our telephone number and can automatically look up our address.  We are therefore limited to curries from Caravan Serai, Chinese food from Royal China and lunch-time kathi rolls from Faasos.  Yes, a cop out, I know!

However, I recently discovered a great online multi-cuisine food ordering service called Foodpanda.  From what I can gather, this is an international company with a relatively new presence in India.  But I looked up where they operate within our city - which is quite an extensive area in Mumbai - and our address fell within its remit.  Phew.

Foodpanda website - easy to navigate
So, I decided to experiment and see how efficient the Foodpanda service is:  A couple of days ago, working away at my computer and fancying a little sweet-something to go with my 4pm cup of Earl Grey, I went online at Foodpanda.  I entered my location (from a rather long list...not sure how scientific it is) and a list of nearest restaurants popped up.  I saw that 'Brownie Point' was on there - a rather famous cake shop in the vicinity. Result! Then, after clicking on Brownie Point, an enormous inventory of sweet things was revealed.  That was the only problem..which one to select!?  It took me a few minutes. In the end I went for the 'Fruit Almond' - which I thought would be a Dundee style fruit cake. I entered my name and address into the site (stored for later) and there was also a great option to state what change I would need from my cash payment - a 500 Rs note. You can also pay by credit card.

I immediately got an email confirming my order (a mere 300 Rs / £3 with no delivery fee) and a note saying it would be a 30-45 minute wait (approximate times are also given as you are making your order). Not bad. About five minutes later, I got a call directly from Brownie Point asking me if I wanted 'with egg or without egg'.....that threw me a bit as I obviously wanted the transaction to be speech-free (but was impressed that they cater to religious/fasting requirements).  I of course wanted my cake made with egg - otherwise it might have been a bit flat!

After 20 minutes had passed I got another phone call - from Foodpanda this time - letting me know that Brownie Point was inundated and that my cake would be 15 minutes late.  I was also quite impressed by that - and could quite believe that Brownie Point was busy.  And it's nice to be kept updated - it's less likely to make the customer unhappy no?

A nicely packaged present arrives.....

Anyway, 10 minutes later and my cake had arrived. It was actually a big sponge and cream cake topped with fresh fruit and slivers of almonds.  So if there was one criticism of the Brownie Point page on Foodpanda - is that perhaps pictures of the foods would be helpful.  But most restaurants in India have extremely extensive menus (Brownie Point lists hundreds of items alone) - so I am not sure how practical it would be to upload that many photographs.  

I really think this Foodpanda service is going to make life much easier for us non-Hindi speakers - as it takes away the whole stress of making an order that is continuously misunderstood.  In fact, I think it will be useful for anyone! 

To access and sign up to Foodpanda go to

....and fancy having to eat all of this on your own! (at least it's helping me to get my five a day ;)

1 comment:

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