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Food Delivery Platforms Can Be 80% More Expensive Than Self Takeaway – Consumer Council


Meals ordered through popular online delivery platforms can cost up to 80 percent more than self takeaway, according to a recent investigation conducted by the Consumer Council. The study also revealed that approximately 60 percent of orders fail to arrive on time, causing frustration among customers.

To gather data for their study, Consumer Council staff posed as customers and placed 56 trial orders in December through six well-known delivery platforms, including Deliveroo, FoodPanda, KeeTa, KFC, McDelivery, and Pizza Hut. These orders encompassed a variety of items, including set menus, a la carte dishes, and beverages.

The council evaluated several criteria during the investigation, such as the punctuality of food delivery, the condition of the items upon arrival, pricing details, packaging quality and materials used, user-friendliness of the platforms, and customer support.

Out of the 177 items ordered, nine experienced delays in delivery, with FoodPanda accounting for four of those delays, making it the platform with the highest number of delays. Deliveroo and KFC, on the other hand, had the longest expected delivery times, exceeding one hour.

According to Gilly Wong Fung-han, the chief executive of the Consumer Council, delays in delivery accounted for 46 percent of the 2,859 complaints received regarding food-ordering platforms since 2021. Furthermore, the investigation revealed that 60 percent of orders did not arrive within the estimated time provided by the platforms.

Interestingly, there were instances when the delivery arrived earlier than expected during the trial orders. In 25 cases, eight of which were from KeeTa, the delivery arrived up to 28 minutes earlier than the estimated time. However, Wong cautioned that early deliveries can also cause inconveniences for customers, as they may not be prepared to receive their orders promptly, disrupting their plans. She emphasized that delivering within the promised time frame is the best practice.

To gauge the variation in delivery times across different platforms, the council compared the delivery times for the same meal from various restaurants. The results showed significant discrepancies, with KeeTa being the fastest, delivering food within 23 minutes, while Deliveroo was the slowest, taking 78 minutes to complete a delivery.

In response to the findings, FoodPanda acknowledged that four of their orders to the council were late by nine to 20 minutes. Deliveroo pledged to update estimated arrival times in an effort to meet customers’ expectations, while KeeTa expressed its commitment to address the issues highlighted by the council, including providing better training to their delivery partners.

Kenneth Chan Kin-nin, the vice chairman of the publicity and community relations committee, noted that using food-ordering platforms is essentially purchasing convenience. However, the investigation revealed that most platforms charge higher prices compared to self takeaway orders, with some prices being 50 to 80 percent higher. For example, the fish fillet burger on McDelivery costs HK$24, which is 85 percent more expensive than the HK$13 takeaway price. Similarly, spending HK$42 on a fresh Negitoro roll through Deliveroo represents a 60 percent markup compared to the self-pickup price of HK$26.

In light of these findings, the Consumer Council advised consumers to compare prices before placing their orders. The excessive packaging used to prevent spillage or leakage during delivery was also a concern raised by the council. However, this practice contributes to increased waste. Despite declining cutlery 51 times during the trials, disposable utensils were still provided in over half of the orders.

Throughout the investigation, a total of 810 food containers and utensils, 110 plastic bags, and 45 paper bags were used. As a result, the council recommended that delivery platforms take measures to encourage restaurants to use environmentally friendly and safe packaging. Additionally, making no cutlery the default option for takeaway orders was suggested as a way to reduce waste generated by these platforms.