AirAsia Food vs GrabFood, Deliveroo, Foodpanda: How Does It Compare?

It is clear that the aviation industry has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, there was less than half of passenger traffic in all of 2020 compared to 2019, so airlines around the world have had no choice but to pivot to survive.

For Southeast Asian low-cost carrier AirAsia, the pandemic was an opportunity for them to accelerate its digital transformation and evolve beyond just being a simple airline. .

It has boldly dubbed itself “the Asean super app,” which now includes an ecosystem of new services including food delivery, grocery delivery and even online shopping, in addition to its usual lineup of airline tickets and hotel reservation services.

On March 2, AirAsia food debuted in Singapore, marking its first foray abroad.

As a new player in the saturated Singapore food delivery market, how does it stack up against the big players?

Initial thoughts and experience on AirAsia food

When a new player joins the arena – much like when Gojek first entered Singapore – consumers are no doubt excited about the prospect of an additional option to choose from and promo codes to attract new ones. users.

For AirAsia food, it offers free and unlimited food delivery until March 16 – this is only applicable for deliveries within an 8 km radius of the order point.

When it launched, AirAsia food featured around 80 restaurants, including Swee Choon Tim Sum Restaurant, No Signboard Seafood, The Shepherd’s Pie, Maki-san, Pizza Express and more.

Another 300 restaurants will be loaded onto the platform at a later stage.

While there aren’t any promo codes per se, the allure of free shipping is enough to entice users to at least download the app and check out the food deals available.

airasia food app review
Apple App Store screenshot

However, I was disappointed with the experience of my blank AirAsia app – it was very slow and took a while to load. Apparently, I wasn’t the only one to experience it, as app reviews on the Apple App Store show.

To add, the locate feature seems buggy. It was unable to detect my exact address and accurately list restaurants nearby. However, it seemed to work fine on the web platform.

What I remember is that the application is not yet optimized and needs an update. If you want to experience AirAsia food, log on to instead of downloading their app.

To add, the interface (for mobile and web platforms) is not very user-friendly.

airasia food app
Screenshot of the AirAsia app

For example, the list of restaurants is not sorted by distance. At the top of the page, I am recommended restaurants located 15 km from my location.

A quick fix for this is to filter the list of options by distance – when you filter on 8 km, you technically see restaurants that are eligible for the free delivery promotion.

Regardless, the existing food options are very limited and I have actually observed price differences between two same brands from different outlets for the same menu.

The first time around I tried ordering at 7 Wonders restaurant and it turned out it only accepts pre-orders (but it didn’t have the pre-order tag on the listings page). To add, the first time for the pre-order delivery was from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., which is well after my lunch hour.

When I retried ordering food from AirAsia on another day, the checkout page took a long time to load (over 15 minutes). The wait was so long that I ended up giving up the command and quitting the app.

A comparison with its main rivals

AirAsia food aims to deliver better value by offering low cost options, just like the low cost airline mantra.

It only charges restaurants a 15% commission per delivery, which is much lower than its competitors GrabFood, Foodpanda and Deliveroo, which ranges between 25% and 35%.

AirAsia Food estimated that lower commission fees would lead to more savings, which would be passed on to consumers.

While the restaurant selection is currently not as wide as that of other players, this is a short-term issue that will gradually diminish as new merchants arrive on board.

Additionally, with low commission fees, more merchants are expected to pounce on AirAsia food.

AirAsia Food vs Grabfood vs Deliveroo vs Foodpanda
AirAsia Food vs the major food delivery players in Singapore / Image credit: Vulcan Post

While AirAsia Food said its delivery charges were “five percent lower” for customers compared to other platforms, it cited delivery charges of between S $ 2.99 and S $ 20.

It should also be noted that Deliveroo and foodpanda deliver within a restricted radius of 2km to 6m, while GrabFood delivers island-wide only to selected partners.

On the other hand, AirAsia food offers delivery from restaurants up to 20 km. A larger delivery radius will however mean a longer delivery time. This could explain why it promises delivery within 60 minutes.

Acknowledging that a one hour delivery time is a long time, AirAsia Food said it will work to shorten it over time.

airasia food jumper
Image Credit: AirAsia

To shorten delivery times, AirAsia food must strengthen its passenger fleet. It has only recruited 500 runners so far (while GrabFood, Deliveroo and foodpanda have thousands of runners), but aims to double that number by the third quarter of 2021.

The main difference you will notice on AirAsia food from other platforms is the inability to track your order in real time.

AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes sees this “card” feature as an “unnecessary frills” that can help keep operating costs and prices low. He added that customers can still chat with their passengers in the app to find out the status of their delivery.

Another cool feature of AirAsia food is that customers can earn reward points which can be used for AirAsia flights.

Customers can earn 1 BIG point for every S $ 0.30 spent and redeem 405 BIG points for every S $ 1 (or 125 BIG points for every S $ 1 until March 16). This equates to a discount of 0.8% (or 2.7% until March 16).

There’s nothing unique about AirAsia food though – you can also earn airline miles on GrabFood or foodpanda.

Every 1000 GrabRewards points can be redeemed for 100 KrisFlyer miles, while every S $ spent on foodpanda can earn you 1 KrisFlyer mile (with a minimum spend of S $ 20).

Will AirAsia Food succeed at S’pore?

airasia food delivery
Image Credit: AirAsia

AirAsia is keenly aware of the fierce competition it will face from the current dominant players in food delivery.

While CEO Tony Fernandes doesn’t think it will be the largest food delivery service in Singapore, he is confident that they will be a “useful segment for small restaurants”.

That said, it will indeed not be easy for them to win the lion’s share of the food delivery pie here. Even in his home country, Malaysia, he is considered a smaller player.

According to Li Jianggan of Momentum Works, a Singapore-based entrepreneur, AirAsia Food only delivered 150,000 orders for the first quarter in Malaysia – that’s a fraction of the overall market there, which is dominated by Grab and foodpanda.

The advantage they do have though, is that it is a well-known company so it doesn’t have to market itself as much as young startups and consumers already trust their brand.

Also, AirAsia food is unlikely to be financially viable anytime soon – even GrabFood, which has been around since 2018, is not yet profitable.

Earlier this year, Grab Chairman Ming Maa said he expects Grab to break even of food delivery only by the end of this year.

In addition, the income they will make will be just a drop in the bucket for the low cost airline.

Either way, it looks like AirAsia is exploring other sources of revenue. Beyond food delivery, AirAsia plans to expand into the fresh food delivery market in Singapore.

This means that consumers can soon have fish from Japan or short ribs from Korea imported and delivered to their doorstep within 48 hours.

Either way, competition breeds innovation and only time will tell if AirAsia food has what it takes to shake up the saturated food delivery market here.

Featured Image Credit: AirAsia food / GrabFood / foodpanda / Retail News Asia

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Jothi Venkat

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