I guess when it comes to ordering food, we don’t want to think much. All we want is to get our food as soon as possible, like right now, at this exact moment, especially when we are hungry.
Before online food ordering apps or websites, we used to order by calling a phone number, and so the popular chains started to create a shorter version of that number so it’s more memorable to its customers.
Now, I, like many others rely on food ordering apps. In fact, I don’t want to come near the phone at any point for my order. I am a millennial and I guess it became part of how our generation likes to order food. We weren’t brought up using the app, but we sure as hell got used to it.
So here is a food ordering story from today…
Step 1: Thinking about ordering food
I started a quest of trying to become VEGAN. I am not sure if I can actually survive that, but hey, I am giving it a try. Today is actually my second day, so I packed all my vegan snacks to work. For lunch though, I need to order some food.
Step 2: Ordering food
Step 3: Canceling the order
Just after I hit confirm the order, my colleagues mentioned they will order Koshari, and I was like God, you are telling me that now? I just ordered a vegan burger, wondering how that would be like.
Long story short, I used the Zomato app to cancel my order. I was informed that the order was canceled and I would get refunded my money in 2–5 days.
Step 4: Ordering food again
Each one of us started thinking about what we would like to have. Are we going to get the classic Koshari? The “special” Koshari— that by the way had the same EXACT description as the classic Kosuhry? Koshari with chicken? I was like… “Hmm…Since when do we put the chicken on Koshari?” Koshari with beef? I think… “Beef? Really?” Koshari with liver? And I was like… “Yes, the liver — that makes sense.”
You might be wondering why am I thinking of chicken, beef or liver if I am trying to be vegan for as long as I can survive it?
The answer is my colleagues wanted “protein” and so I was recommending them what’s a classic one, which has no meat protein and if you really want to then it’s the liver.
One colleague ordered the one with the chicken and another ordered the one with the beef. Even though that was against my authentic recommendation, I still had to let it go.
Step 5: Modifying the order
But here is a but… The restaurant didn’t have the Koshari with beef and so they called to say so, and ask what other alternatives would we like?
My colleague asked for a recommendation, and guess what he got?
Yes, he got recommended the liver.
He asked if it was cheaper than the beef and he would like to be refunded the difference, but it wasn’t cheaper.
There was some miscommunication. My colleague didn’t speak Arabic and couldn’t properly understand what the other person on the other line was trying to say.
Long story short, my colleague chose the Koshari with the liver.
Step 6: Waiting for the order
Now we wait.
And then wait some more.
My colleague was super hungry. I was okay because I had my cashew nuts to munch on. I offered him some but he was still super hungry.
Step 7: Following up on the order
He kept asking, “Where is the food?”
We checked the app and it said: “Your order is in the kitchen,” or something similar to that.
That was about over 30 minutes of submitting the order.
And so again, we called the restaurant.
We wanted to check on the order.
“Why is it taking so long in the kitchen? It’s such a simple dish”, we wondered.
Whoever answered us from the restaurant told us, the driver is out and is 5 minutes away from you.
“Wow! 5 mintues away?”
“Then, why the app is telling me the order is still in the Kitchen?” we wondered.
Step 8: Getting the order and eating it
The food finally came, and it was so damn delicious.
But again here is my other but…
Even though the food was delicious, we had friction with the restaurant three times. Our customer experience in the whole ordering process wasn’t the best.
1] Menu clarity
We didn’t understand the difference between the classic Koshari and the “special” Koshari. It had the same exact description, with one more expensive than the other.
Solution? Simple. Re-write the description and let us know the difference.
2] Food item availability
We ordered an item on the menu that didn’t happen to be available.
Solution? Remove that item.
3] Food delivery status
We thought the food was “in the kitchen” while it was actually 5 minutes away from our door-step.
Solution? Update the status real-time with each step, or let us know that you can’t provide us with this information
Food ordering apps take a huge percentage from the restaurant revenues that could go up to 30%.
If you ask me, as a customer, I really don’t want to have 100 food ordering apps installed on my phone for each restaurant.
In a way, customers like me prefer food ordering apps that they can browse and choose from. Restaurants prefer to leave the logistics to someone else.
I guess if the restaurant industry AND the customers are putting their faith in the food ordering apps, then the least that could be expected is a frictionless experience to the customers.
It’s a win-win situation if delivered frictionless.