Mr Delivery, a service that I have been using for more 10 years now, has become the generic for ordering takeaway food for deliveries in South Africa’s main centers, for similar reasons applicable to Colgate (toothpaste), Coca-Cola (fizzy/cold drink) and Checkers (grocery plastic bag). However, unlike the other 3 brands, the phrase “I am doing Mr Delivery” is reserved for the “burbs” as this service does not extend to the townships at this stage. Location of this service automatically profiles the type of consumers who use it – that is they can afford to skip cooking in exchange for takeaways, which I must add come at a delivery surcharge, and they can afford airtime (yes, all phone calls are charged). Thus, there is a high chance that majority of Mr Delivery’s customers earn a salary, or are found in the higher LSM (Living Standards Measure) categories. Equally, it is highly likely that they have smartphones and Internet access.
Quick facts about Mr Delivery
Mr Delivery is certainly a viable business, as evidenced by the 49 franchises across South Africa, emboldened by 800 drivers and monthly deliveries of between 85 000 and 100 000 items – or a daily average of over 3 000 items. Takealot’s stake in Mr D, which was increased to 60% earlier in 2013, is yet another clear indication that the latter has great future prospects. It does not take a rocket scientist to see that Mr D’s core business is going to be expanded to compliment Takealot’s online retail business model.
Mr Delivery’s ordering options
This is how you can order your takeaway food for delivery from your favorite restaurant, using a Mr D, as it is now called:
Notice Mr D’s available online ordering options in the image above? Social network ordering options are more like a “leave your details and we will call you back” type of service. I tried all the available online options on my iPhone and found them less adequate in delivering against the promised “ingenious convenience” experience.
But alas, Mr D does not have a mobile app! I would imagine this is a no-brainer given the type, size and spread of business, and customer profile? Let me illustrate why the mobile app ordering option is preferable, to emphasize my dismay at discovering that Mr D does not have it.
A mobile app perfect for my takeaway Appetite
Given the phrase – “there’s an app for that”, curiosity got me searching the App Store for a takeaway food ordering solutions.
In the first 6 apps that came up, only two were South African – Debonairs Pizza and Bon Appetite apps. A quick horizontal scroll across all iPhone’s takeaway food app results, it looks like these may be the only ones :-|. I was looking for an app that offers variety of meals, so I selected and installed Bon Appetite app on my mobile, and gave it a try. In 4 easy steps, I placed my first takeaway order from Fishaways Kyalami, which was ready for pickup by the time I got there some 15 minutes later. If like me, you have used telephone-based ordering services before and recall how many times you had to repeat your name or your order at times, you will appreciate using Bon Appetite. In addition, the ease with which this app has been designed exceeded my expectations.
When you open Bon Appetite on your smartphone and your geo-location feature is on, a list of the registered restaurants in your vicinity comes up first. This way, you can quickly find your favorite meal choice and place your order for delivery or pickup.
There are 2 main differences between Appetite and Mr D worth mentioning: (1) Appetite is essentially a mobile ordering service. While you may be disappointed if you are looking specifically for a delivery service which the app does not guarantee, thankfully some of the listed restaurants offer this – see green delivery icon circled in RED for Nandos and Pizza Perfect in the first screen in the image above. (2) A mobile payment solution, which is available on the app, depends on whether each listed restaurant accepts epayments. As in the case with my order, Fishaways only accepts COD. However, these 2 differences did not detract from the great experience I had using the Appetite app, and will certainly use it more going forward.
You can also download the Appetite app on Google Play for your Android smartphone.
Why does Mr D not have a takeaway food mobile ordering service?
I’m perplexed, to say the least. But, it is clear that they have missed the boat, given the experience that their many customers could enjoy. As for me, their loss is Bon Appetite’s gain :)
Here’s Mr D’s response to this post:
Edited: 21/01/14, 12:53pm
The response from from Mr D, which was both on email and Twitter, came less than 60 minutes after I published this post on Twitter. Clearly, this company that is backed by a respectable Klout score of 50 has its ear firmly on the social network ground, so to speak. Also commendable, is that Directors of the company are also involved in listening to the social mentions, as shown by fact that David Chait followed me on Twitter immediately after the social mention. This earned them brownie points in my book.
Now I shall be “watching this space” with anticipation.