Foodpanda to the rescue

9:07 AM

Last Saturday was one of these days. You know? The lousy craptastic type that should never have started in the first place and should end up quicker than they actually do? One of these days not only you don’t feel like doing a thing, but when you actually do tackle a task it end up failing miserably, hurting yourself or others in the process if not breaking things. Yes THAT kind of days!
That is how it was for me this weekend, held hostage by PMS, mood not even helped by the weather, DH in office, a daughter with far more energy than I could produce, and by the time I attempted to wash my hair with conditioner and slammed my head into an open kitchen cabinet…TWICE, I figured out I was better off leaving the task of actually cooking something for lunch alone altogether. On days like this, leftovers usually feel good and are easy to pull off, except that this weekend I had none left, being a bit too efficient at managing them during the week. Beside at this point I wasn’t entirely sure my microwave would not end up exploding in my face as clearly the universe was not working in my favour…that kind of lousy day…remember?  

Came lunchtime and I ended up craving udon noodles and chicken teriyaki from my favourite restaurant. But the idea of getting a hike by Auto for 6km to hit the mall just for noodles was really not appealing (beside we never just end up getting food at the mall). This is the point I remembered receiving several promotional emails from a service called Foodpanda. Which I explored in the past just because it had the word “food” in their name, and that is when I found out that my Asian restaurant was listed and actually delivered as far at my place, but never ordered anything through the site. With such a lousy day as Saturday was, I had the perfect opportunity to give it a try.
I don’t know about any of you, but while I love the option of take out and how easily available it is in India as opposed to Switzerland, I end up not liking placing orders over the phone, half of the time I have to repeat the order 5 times before even Dominos Pizza get it right, repeat my address the same amount of time, and of course it all start with me locating a menu in the first place so I know what to order. I will admit there that I really am not a phone person…not even to call friends.
Foodpanda seemed to solve these issues when I first checked it out a couple of months ago. It is basically a listing of restaurants that will entertain take out orders, the restaurants are categorised by cities and area where they deliver within said city. Currently the service is available to 19 Indian cities and has a total of about 3000 restaurants. All metros are covered as well as a few others big cities in the country, and I suspect the list will keep growing in the future.
All you need to do is first visit, select your city in the list, then the area in which you live for the site to generate the list of all restaurants in your area that will deliver to your place. Then you can click on any restaurant to see their terms and conditions, opening time, and their menu. Where it becomes very nifty though is the part where you can select the dish you want from the menu directly on Foodpanda and place your order from there. No need to call anybody, just do it all online. Some restaurants will even accept credit card payment through the site (not all of them, be aware of that fact). And if that wasn’t even simple enough, the listing generated for your area will be broken in two categories: Restaurants that are currently opened, and restaurants that are closed but with an option to pre-order.
My favourite restaurant was closed when I logged in at 11.45am, with an opening time at 12pm. I chose the option to pre-order knowing that the estimated delivery time would be 1 hour and 10 minutes from the time the place got the confirmation of said order. The biggest most pleasant surprise however was that that particular place offers a 50% discount on all food items on the menu when ordered through Foodpanda, the only drawback being that the minimal order amount should be 600 rupees for them to entertain a delivery. At full price that place is already getting you enough food, at 50% off you end up having a lot more than one adult and a pre-schooler will eat, but that was no issue, DH loves Chinese food and I know he would not mind having some of dinner, so I went ahead and threw some potato cakes and dim sums along with my original craving. I opted to pay by card, Foodpanda sent me a confirmation email and sms with all the details, and informed me they will let me know as soon as the restaurant confirmed the order, which was done at exactly 12pm when said restaurant opens.
With the confirmation text Foodpanda explained that from then on the follow up of the order was between me and the restaurant and sent me the phone numbers to contact them. By 12.45 the place called me to inform me they were about to send my order out for delivery and asked me to provide a landmark to locate my building (which I omitted to do at the time of order), I did and knew that by then it was a 30-35 minutes before my food would come to me. By 1.30 however it was still not there and I ended up calling the restaurant again, and they told me they just got a call from their delivery guy who informed them he had trouble finding my building, as soon as I hanged up it was the delivery guy calling asking me where I lived and by 1.35 he was there, apologizing for the delay. Frankly I didn’t even mind the delay, I was expecting it, as it is rare for restaurants entertaining take outs order for such a wide radius and I was sure that they didn’t get many orders for my area, and yes my building is not the most obvious in the area.

As soon as I got the food and filled my grumbling tummy and appeased the PMS monster in me, I called DH to let him know what was on the menu for dinner, and told him about how awesome I thought Foodpanda was, with the excitement one would get finding the Holy Grail might I add. DH to tell me he knew about it, and how neat it is because that was the site he ordered the Punjabi food we had a couple of weeks ago when we last had last minute guests over. He even pointed out that they have an app I could install on my phone. What? And I didn’t know? How out of the loop can I be? I immediately installed it on my iPad, and this is when I had another revelation. The first thing the app asked me was to select my country. Country? I thought that was an Indian service, but apparently not just so, Foodpanda is available in a number of countries across Europe, Asia, Africa, South America and the Middle East. A thing those of you reading me from outside India might be interested in checking.
I plan to install the app on my phone soon, and I only wished it existed a couple of years back when we were all stuck in relocation madness, as it is the perfect tool to know what is available in your area when you are brand knew to said area and haven’t already been flooded with paper menus via the newspaper.
And on a last note, I found out there is an ice cream parlour doing home deliveries through them…that will become very handy in a few weeks when Summer hits us with all its might.

This is a sponsored post, but the opinion is mine alone, based on experience

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  1. You can buy a scooty for short distance traveling. I understand that indian traffic is intimidating but not when you are part of it. It is great to pick up grocery, vegetables and other stuff. Otherwise, you depend upon autos or rickshaw which overcharge. You can just pick it up and it great for your confidence. Walking can be highly irritating in India going by how hot it gets and lack of pavements.

    We brought a scooty because it was virtually impossible to travel within the colony as there was no transport except rickshaw. We decided to free ourselves from the rickshaw business. We thought that the scooty would not be much use but now we carry vegetables, grocery and other stuff on it. I take my son everyday to school on it and my wife fetches him from school. Actually, my wife drives it more and it a great help for her. However, the downside is we don't like to walk these days. In India is not always possible to take a car everywhere because of parking problems. A two wheeler opens up unending possibilities.

  2. We did toy with the idea at one point in the past, but it isn't as useful in Mumbai as it would have been in Bangalore. The autos here are going by the meter without a fail and the rate is fairly reasonable. DH even stopped taking the car to office and commutes by auto because he ended up paying more in petrol a month than he would end up paying in auto fees, not to mention the time of his commute is slashed nearly in half by auto. The roads to that particular restaurant is so nasty and bumpy that I am not sure taking Ishita ona Scotty would even be safe though. We have a vegetable vendor and a kirana store within walkable distance for all these last minute purchases, it is about 600 meters from my place. This weekend I was just in a really really lousy mood! kept breaking things or hurting myself, in these instance it is better to take it easy and take the take out route :)

  3. Oh by the way I LOVE walking, and I do it whenever possible, one of my pet peeve in my neighbourhood is that the main road has no sidewalks at all and a very high and dangerous traffic, if it was there I would walk Ishita to school as it is just 2 kilometers away. I used to walk a lot in Bangalore as my neighbourhood had a lot of trees and very safe and wide sidewalks to walk on.


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