It’s funny to think that pre-April 2020, when we dropped from Covid alert level 4 to level 3, few of us were regular users of food delivery services.
sure, Kiwi company Delivereasy set up shop in 2016and UberEats had been in New Zealand since 2017, but it wasn’t until that limbo period when you couldn’t go to a restaurant but all your favorites were suddenly offering takeaways that third-party delivery services really became part of our social fabric.
They haven’t always been beloved. Soon after we first moved to alert level 3, Jacinda Ardern urged Kiwis not to use UberEats because it charges restaurants a high 35% commission.
And just last week Consumer NZ said it intended to take fast food chains to the Commerce Commission after it found some had been charging higher prices for food delivered using a third-party service.
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* Food delivery businesses set to cause ‘big shake-up’ in hospitality property sector
We decided to put some of the most popular services to the test.
In the main centers of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch we had reporters in each of our centrally-located newsrooms order a quarter pounder and medium fries from their nearest McDonald’s, using all the services available to them, including drive-thru or pickup.
They all hit “go” at 11.30am on Monday (July 18).
Read on to find out which was fastest, which was cheapest, which delivered the food the hottest – and which just wouldn’t let us use it.
Nearest Macca’s: Gray Lynn, 550m away from the Stuff office
Services available: UberEats, MenuLog, Delivereasy, Drive-thru
In Auckland, drive-thru was both the fastest and the cheapest option, about 70% cheaper than the most expensive. While none of the food was perfectly warm, UberEats offered the best quality. As in the other centers, MenuLog didn’t work.
Total cost: $20.83
Time from order to food in hand: 18 minutes
Food quality: “The food was slightly colder than I’d like,” said reporter Hannah Martin. “The burger was in one piece but a bit sloppy looking, chips were all in the container and looked good.”
Total cost: $21.39
Time from order to food in hand: 32 minutes
Food quality: “The chips were tepid when they arrived, but the burger was still warm and tasty – nothing was falling out,” said reporter Melanie Earley.
Notes: “The estimated delivery time was between 11.50 and 12pm but three minutes before 12 they texted me saying there was a 15-minute delay, although this didn’t seem to affect other ordering apps…”
N/A: “Was unable to register credit card details – two people tried on separate phones with three different credit cards, but payment was declined each time and order could not be processed,” said reporter David Skipwith.
Total cost: $12.60
Round trip: 16 minutes
Food quality: “The burger was presented well, but the fries unfortunately were not hot – even sneaking a few on the very short drive back,” said reporter Jonathan Killick.
Nearest Macca’s: Lambton Quay, 250m from stuff offices
Services available: UberEats, MenuLog, pick-up
Pick-up was the fastest and freshest option in Wellington, with the reporter who used UberEats describing it as “a bit of a fail”.
Total cost: $20.11
Time from order to food in hand: 41 minutes
Food quality: “Fairly cold,” said stuff news director Marc Greenhill.
Notes: “The driver couldn’t find me.”
N/A: “Tried three cards. All declined,” said reporter Justin Wong.
Total cost: $12
Round trip: 14 minutes on foot
Food quality: “The burger, having not been buffeted around on the back of a scooter, was intact, and the chips were all in their sleeve and still hot,” said reporter Matthew Tso.
Notes: “I could not make the pickup option work on the app or online for love nor money. Instead I walked to the closest Maccas.”
While drive-thru offered the best value in Christchurch, UberEats was 11 minutes faster. Both offered good quality.
Time from order to food in hand: 19 minutes
Food quality: “Burger looked in great nick and tasted delicious, the chips were a little on the cold side but not enough to warrant a microwave,” said reporter Jessica McCarthy.
Notes: “The whole process was super straight forward, and I worry this won’t be the last time I order Macca’s direct to work.”
N/A: “Overly excited about the idea of a McDonalds lunch on work’s dime, I was left hungry and disappointed when MenuLog wouldn’t accept any of the cards we tried to pay with,” said reporter Sam Sherwood.
“As my colleagues chowed into their burgers, all I was left with was an empty tummy and a new grudge against a delivery app.”
Round trip: 30 minutes
Food quality: “The chips were still crispy and they tasted fresh. They were only slightly warm though, I personally like them when they’re hot,” said reporter Steven Walton.
“The burger was delicious. It was the perfect temperature and tasted very succulent. It was assembled well and the amount of sauce was damn near perfect.”
It’s startling to note that not only do prices change significantly when a third-party delivery service is involved, but prices also fluctuate by 60 cents when driving through or picking up from restaurant to restaurant.
While some services delivered warmer, fresher food than others, overall a lesson from this exercise may be that Macca’s is at it’s best when dining in.
stuff approached MenuLog to find out what went wrong. The company provided this statement: “Menulog signs up hundreds of new customers in New Zealand every day and yesterday was no exception with many new customers successfully joining and placing orders on the platform.
“We would encourage anyone experiencing technical difficulties to reach out to our customer service agents who can help quickly resolve tech challenges new customers may be facing in getting up and running!”