The test: Feed four hungry people, ordering food from the same restaurant and to one location, but via four different online food delivery sites – Talabat, Food On Click, Room Service Deliveries (RSD) and 24H. Which fared best?
What we wanted to know: With minimum orders of 75 AED we couldn’t actually order exactly the same food from all four food delivery sites, as we did want a real dinner! So price itself wasn’t a major point of comparison in this review – but the delivery charges, minimum spend, time taken and usability of the site were, along with whether the site took cash or cards, how hot the food was when delivered and what special features and promotions were on the site.
How we did it: We chose one place, Thai restaurant Royal Orchid in Dubai Marina. We convened at a villa in The Lakes in Emirates Hills, and began at 8pm, two of us taking two online food delivery sites each. First up – Talabat and Food On Click then, when we had finished those orders, we moved on to RSD and 24H. Full details are below, summarized in the tables and in detail underneath.
What we found: There’s no way round registration with any of the food delivery sites. All require confirmation, if you’re a first-time user, by phone or email. 24H lost points here because their confirmation is by SMS – and, despite three requests, it simply never came through, meaning a follow-up call was needed to 24H call center. Room Service Deliveries was the only site that organizes its own food delivery rather than leaving it to the restaurant – but it was also the slowest delivery, at one hour. But then again, we only got the confirmation of the order by telephone 20 minutes after submitting our order. Definitely room for improvement in this area. In its favor, it’s also the only site that takes payment by credit card, rather than cash on delivery. Talabat and Food On Click had the easiest sites to use and the food arrived the fastest.
Tips: If you have a favorite restaurant, check all four food delivery sites for minimum charges and delivery costs as they vary by site AND by restaurant within the site. We also found that the menu was occasionally more limited on one site than another. But if you want something nearby and want suggestions based on minimum charge, time to deliver or user ratings, you’ll find Talabat and Food On Click easiest to use and browse. Food On Click was our personal favorite.
About the food delivery sites
|Talabat||Room Service Deliveries (RSD)||Food On Click||24h|
|UAE emirates||5 – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Sharjah, Ras Al Khaimah||Abu Dhabi, Dubai||Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah||All 7|
|Other countries||Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman,Qatar||No||Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar||No|
|Cash on delivery||Only cash||Yes||Only cash||Only cash|
|Ramadan info/ iftars||Yes, listed||Yes, listed||No – but red button denotes closed (often due to Ramadan)||Yes, listed|
|Talabat||Room Service Deliveries (RSD)||Food On Click||24h|
|Delivery charge (AED)||0 (but varies)||35 (but varies)||0 (but varies)||0 (but varies)|
|Minimum charge (AED)||75 (but varies)||80 (but varies – and not listed in search results)||75 (but varies)||75 (but varies)|
|Average delivery time||45 mins to 1 hour||60 mins||90 but 30 – 60||Not listed in search results|
|Actual order time||20:25||20:54||20:24||21:01|
|Confirmation||By phone 20:26; by email for new customer 20:27||By phone at 21:08, then put the order through to the restaurant||By email, 20:25; followed by 20:38 call to check, as it was first order||By email 21:11|
|Actual delivery time||21:09||21:54||21:09||21:58|
|Time to deliver||44 mins||1 hr from order (40 mins from confirmation call)||43 mins||57 mins|
|Was the food hot?||Yes||Sizzling!||Yes||Yes|
|Rate registration||Easy||Quite hard||Easy||Hard|
|Rate check-out process||Easy||Hard||Easy||Quite hard|
Talabat – *the runner-up*
- Ordered: Chicken spring rolls x 2, Thai sticky rice, chicken green curry
- Total paid: 82 AED
- Rate registration: Can register or can continue as a guest (but ultimately need full details). The claim is one-minute sign-up. Got a confirmation call right away – this is for new customers only.
- Plus points: It lists (and can search by) which restaurants are open, minimum order amount and approximate delivery time. Allows for special comments on the ordering. Sections for promotions and discount coupons.
- Minus points: Filters are good but it’s not so easy to compare minimum charges, delivery times and costs in the search results as Food On Click. The ‘add to check-out’ was hard to find; it was just a confusing ‘+’ sign at the beginning of the row – so before you look at an item to order.
- Rate check-out process: Easy-ish but could not find the ‘add to check-out’ button.
Room Service Deliveries (RSD)
- Ordered: Glass noodle salad, Singapore noodles with prawns
- Total paid: 115 AED including delivery
- Rate registration: Must login and it is a very long form, with PO Box field mandatory (for food delivery?)! Have to register and confirm via email.
- Plus points: The only service to take credit cards.
- Minus points: Uses own food delivery service, which costs more and is therefore most expensive of the four. Not so usable – cannot browse all restaurants, have to choose area and food then restaurant without seeing full selection. The menu seemed to be smaller than the others e.g. could not find wasabi prawns. There was a delay between confirmation and order of 20 minutes. The order therefore took an hour and was also the slowest, although this could also be a teething problem with the first order.
- Rate check-out process: Hard – have to go through registration, email activation then log back in – which lost order in the process, so had to start all over again. Highly frustrating!
Food On Click – **the winner**
- Ordered: Chicken satay (appetizer), bok choy (small), duck in hoisin sauce (small)
- Total paid: 88 AED
- Rate registration: Easy – simple registration form, confirmation phone call came through very quickly, welcome email came straight through.
- Plus points: Very easy to use and to register. Shows promotions clearly. Can see restaurant, average delivery, reviews, etc in one go. Sort by rating (speed, service, flavor) is nice, as is sort by delivery time. Can choose spiciness level.
- Minus points: No comments allowed (for allergies). Did notice that Food On Click charges 10 AED delivery for Ban Khun Mae but it’s only 5 AED with 24H. No icons next to food for spicy or veg. No warning that you have not met minimum order in basket or when you click ‘check-out’, when you are forced to register. Search however was a bit problematic where the filter was about restaurants present in an area vs restaurants delivering in the area.
- Rate check-out process: Easy! No confirmation email needed.
- Ordered: Veg spring rolls x 2, steamed rice, Thai stir-fried vegetables, green mango salad
- Total paid: 71 AED (discount brought us under the 75 AED minimum charge, which was apparently fine)
- Rate registration: Must login or register. Need activation code but site doesn’t say where it was sent (confirmation email then said it will come by mobile). At 20:49, after waiting about 10 minutes, requested activation code again and pop-up alert said next ‘attempt’ would be another six minutes later, at 20:55. Requested yet again at 20:57, site alert said it had been sent straightaway but SMS never received. Had to call and have it manually activated over the phone.
- Plus points: Has special instructions field (may incur extra cost not calculated on site). Icons for spicy, vegetarian. Got 15 percent discount – not sure why – first order?! Extra points for knocking on the door, not ringing the doorbell, when there was a child asleep upstairs!
- Minus points: Cannot easily see menu as all items are themed into separate, collapsible, vertical dropdowns. Need to click shopping trolley icon for each item and then ALSO add to basket in pop-up window.
- Rate check-out process: Quite hard – mobile activation was a big stumbling block and waste of valuable, hungry minutes. Thought we’d lost the order as the Orders section was blank after logging back in but it was actually still in the basket.