Sun, 13 Jul 2003

New food delivery service fails to meet expectations

Cameron Bates, Contributor, Jakarta

It just goes to show that a well-orchestrated media launch can have an immediate impact on a business.

Less than a week after PesanDelivery officially launched itself at Kinara restaurant, Kemang, on July 3, the number of motorcycles delivering a range of food and drinks from some of the capital's top restaurants to hungry Jakartans has doubled.

PesanDelivery president director Beno Pranata told The Jakarta Post that the company, which first opened on Feb. 19, now had more than 2,000 registered clients, sales had doubled since July 3 to more than 80 deliveries a day and he was looking to increase his staff from 22 to a minimum of 38 people.

The delivery service idea, covering Central Jakarta and parts of West Jakarta and East Jakarta at present, is a great one.

A 60-page, illustrated guide detailing the extensive menus of the participating 51 restaurants is available at each of the outlets, or on its website They also deliver flowers, documents, cigarettes, soft drinks and airline tickets, among other things.

But are the service and food any good?

Three Post employees sampled the service and the answer was a resounding no. The food was late (by up to 90 minutes) and lukewarm.

I, for example, ordered Nachos Grande and Chili Con Carne from Chi-chi's in Kemang on a Sunday evening. Though the motorcycle trip from Kemang to our office in Palmerah, Central Jakarta, is no more than 25 minutes, the food took 75 minutes to arrive and was cold. And I was still hungry after completing my Rp 60,000 meal.

My colleague, who lives in Kemang, waited 90 minutes for a delivery from Popeye's, also in Kemang. "We won't be ordering again," he said.

PesanDelivery IT director Pidego "Dede" G. Arifandi said it was continuing to strive to improve the speed of delivery, with each order tracked and performance regularly reviewed.

He said the majority of customers were happy with the service.

Other complaints included the operating hours -- 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 9.30 p.m. on weekends -- and the almost obscene amount of packaging used in even the most simple of delivery orders.

Dede, who once worked for the regional environmental impact agency, said each restaurant used different packaging and it was obvious that such environmental concerns were not a big issue in Indonesia yet.

However, Beno, in a later interview, said they were looking to standardize packaging, to cut down on wastage and improve heat retention.

Vivek Singh Deora, the general manager of Kinara, Fez Lounge and Chand Garden, Jl Kemang Raya, said he was happy with the delivery and that the market had expanded considerably.

"It has worked really well, plus the market has reached all the way to Kuningan, to the apartments over there ... A lot of people have got to know more about us and have tasted the food."

They had had no complaints about cold food.

Aphrodite chef Daniel Gendre said the closer a delivery address was to a particular restaurant, the warmer the food would be when it was delivered.

"There is a specified area but if you want delivery out of this area it is no problem, but of course the food will be colder."

Daniel said people did not appear to be bothered about whether the food was hot or warm, and they could always heat if up in a microwave or oven.

He said some food items did not travel well and, accordingly, Aphrodite had tailored its menu.

PesanDelivery (021) 7278-7070. Delivery charges start from Rp 1,000 within the primary (radius of a few kilometers) area of each restaurant. A minimum order of Rp 15,000 per restaurant applies