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Food Delivery Services in Taipei – Food Panda Review

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Even though the company has been established a while back and operating in Taiwan for about 4-5 years, it was only until recently that we decided to test out Food Panda, a delivery service specializing in food for Greater Taipei. Promoted mostly through advertisements at various restaurants, we found ourselves seeing the company all over Taipei restaurants and thought to ourselves that we needed to try out all the hype. And we are glad we did.

Food Panda can be accessed via app or desktop. The way it works is that you first sign up creating an account with your address and phone number. After plugging in your Taipei address a list of compatible restaurants will appear in which you can view their item menus and add them to your online shopping cart. You can filter which restaurant type you want such as Indian or Korean, and read reviews left by past customers. When checking out, you’re given the option to pay by credit card or in cash when the delivery arrives, which usually takes between 40-60 minutes.

We were quite surprised there was a credit card option given how many restaurants in Taipei do not take cards but Food Panda has found a way that allows vendors to submit their banking account information in which Food Panda can directly deposit the money. One of the reasons Taipei restaurants avoid credit cards aside from the fact that they are trying to hide from taxes is that smaller vendors need cash on hand and cannot wait until the end of the month before receiving electronic payment. Food Panda helps eliminate issues associated with this although we are unsure how often payment is made to vendors.

There is an email verification process in the beginning but no phone or address verification methods so we are a bit unsure what keeps teenagers from getting away with ordering a bunch of crap to some random address only to have that recipient say, “I didn’t order this.” The company could 100% prevent any fraudulent behavior if only credit cards were accepted, but they also give cash options most likely to expand their market base. We should also note that while we haven’t run into this issue, we have been told that the only option to pay at times is through cash, but this is obvious at the checkout apparently as there is no credit card option displayed.

So far in Taipei we have used this for a number of different foods and have been impressed with pretty much all of them. We have ordered ice cream from Dairy Queen to our doorstep believe it or not and it was complete in tact and not melted.   Food Panda’s delivery team has several kinds of delivery bags that look like big pizza delivery bags that range from cold to hot depending on the food item so it works for cold items, at least in our experience. We also used it for ordering Indian food and received it hot and fresh. We were slightly disappointed when ordering Thai food as it arrived lukewarm but a few seconds in the microwave fixed that.

The delivery person knows your address based on your profile and will ring the doorbell when arriving just like a pizza delivery dude. You can even track how much time is estimated left on the arrival through the app based on its estimation but there is no way to pinpoint it like you can with Uber. This is one of our complaints about the service and we hope there is a way to fix it.

Also on the downside is that there are many menu items that do not display pictures. A restaurant like Dairy Queen has every single item displayed with a pic but more local restaurants may have only a few pictures or none at all. This is not helping anyone and we hope that at least the Taipei-based hub can look into improving this. Aside from the delivery fee, Food Panda adds a NT$14 fee in an ever not so obvious way at the very end at checkout and doesn’t mention this in the beginning. Good marketing strategy guys, but it gets me thinking twice when I want just a single item delivered.

Overall, we are pretty satisfied with this service and it is a great way for bridging the gap between restaurants and consumers in an innovative way. The company is in its early stages so we sympathize with some of the things that bug us about it but nevertheless hope they can improve to have the ultimate delivery service available.

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