Ever wondered where to order your food from when that sudden random (insert food here) craving strikes and you’re far too lazy to change out of your pajamas and well… move? We won’t judge. Let’s face it, we’ve all been there at one point. Luckily, we live in an age where everything can be done on our phones (or computers!)—including getting food to wherever you are, ASAP. So one drizzling evening, we took the liberty of ordering from GrabFood, Foodpanda, and Lalafood. Just to make it a little bit more fun, we put them against the clock and ordered the same thing at the same time…so next time you find food delivery riders at the same store, getting the exact same thing, at roughly the same time—it wasn’t us.

We all know the first two well, but Lalafood is quite new to the food delivery game. Debuted early this year, Lalamove’s food delivery arm focused operations around the central business districts. Not their fault, but with the 2.O HQ nestled in Quezon city, we went through quite the hurdle—from asking friends in Makati and Ortigas to finally, finally finding a location that Lalafood can deliver to.

Before everything else, let’s talk judging criteria. For this little friendly competition, we based our judgment on the offered menu, speed of delivery, food quality, and customer service. Then, we set our phones down, tried to ignore our gurgling tummies, and waited. Unfortunately for us, it didn’t quite go as planned.

The Ordering

GrabFood can be found within the Grab app itself. It will try to find your address automatically once you start it up and that’s something we found quite convenient. Layout-wise, it will present you with restaurant selections sorted into categories such as “Milk tea,” “Wings,” and “Local favorites.” At the topmost bar, it also offered discounts and promotions for specific restaurants or for specific times of the day.

Now, on to the actual ordering. The menu is scrollable up to the end and the header changes as you go. Some found this a bit overwhelming, while others didn’t really mind. It all boils down to personal preference and what you feel is easier. The food selection was good and offered variety. However, it would be better if they added a “Special requests” or “Notes” area like when you order so that you can specify any allergens/preferences/etc. to the restaurant.

Payment is cash on delivery only while the delivery fee is as low as P49, with no minimum spend required.

Lalafood has a similar interface, offering a selection of restaurants sorted into categories. Once used once, it doesn’t ask you to set your address or automatically find your location; so if you’re ordering from a different place you’d have to make sure you set it to the correct address. Being a new app, they’re big on discounts so we got free delivery.

As mentioned earlier, Lalafood focused on the business districts so the less commercial areas get very limited choices. The only place we could find nearby (and available on the other apps) was Uncle Moe’s Shawarma, in Teacher’s Village. Payment is also on cash on delivery basis only.

Among all three, Foodpanda is the only dedicated restaurant delivery app. Upon opening, it also searches for your location automatically. It doesn’t immediately show you categories but instead pushes a featured bar and those nearby. You have to go through the search bar and set filters, and while it is a lengthier step, it also allows you to narrow down your search much more. We’ve also noticed that it only lets you order from restaurants within a certain distance from your pinned location.

Foodpanda offers free delivery from certain establishments which is great, but others have a minimum spend requirement (mostly around P200) to get free delivery. Otherwise, they charge a P35 delivery fee. Payment options are debit/credit card, PayPal, and cash on delivery. While ordering, its menu format is separated into groups (yay for those who like this layout). Similar to GrabFood, Foodpanda also has a real-time map and it’ll inform you when your order has been placed and when the driver is on the way to you.

Foodpanda offers free delivery from establishments that are near you

Unfortunately, Foodpanda has to be dropped from this race from this point on. Frankly, it was disappointing not because we weren’t able to get our food.  We would have completely understood if they just told us straight up that the riders would be unable to deliver because of the weather or traffic—we wouldn’t want to be out in that rain and stuck in the rush hour, either. Instead, like Thanos, it wipes out half your choices and tells you they are unable to deliver temporarily because of a surge—whatever that may mean. Assuming that it was a rush hour thing, we waited it out. After nearly an hour, it finally let us place our orders at Uncle Moe’s. Hallelujah? Not exactly. At the very end of the ordering process however, just when we hit the big, red order button, it tells us that the restaurant is closed. Yes, closed. (Of course, we knew that it was open because at this point, GrabFood has just informed us that our order has already been placed, plus, we called kuya from GrabFood just to triple check—and he asks if we wanted anything else. Plus points to you, kuya) We then decided to seek help from FoodPanda’s live chat (nice feature, except when you are hungry and just want to know what happened but is instead hit with sarcasm). We did give them a chance to redeem themselves. The very next day, at a very non-rush hour of 11 in the morning, we tried placing an order again. But it still wouldn’t let us because of the “surge”. We tried, Foodpanda, we really tried.

The Wait

With one out of the qualifying round, we are left with two contenders. So far, the most consistent one is GrabFood. It really doesn’t leave you hanging. Similar to when you book a ride, it shows you a real-time map so you can track where your food is at. Once Grab finds you a rider, they will ask you to confirm your order and address. The expected delivery time is displayed before you place your order—which varies per establishment. And after the order is confirmed, the countdown begins!

Another nice feature GrabFood has is that it updates you step by step. They’ll tell you when the driver is heading to the restaurant, when he’s arrived, when your order has been placed, and when your order is on its way to you! The whole process is quite pleasant and very reassuring, so you’re not left guessing.

Real-time updates from GrabFood

Lalafood had a tracking page as well, but it didn’t update us consistently. It barely moved from “Looking for a driver”. We only knew that the order was accepted and on the way because kuya called and texted us several times to confirm the order and give status updates.

The Winner

At this point, the ETAs kind of tell us who the winner is. GrabFood flits from 25-30 minutes while Lalafood has stayed at a non-moving 59 minutes. True enough, it doesn’t take long until kuya from GrabFood arrives outfitted in a rain poncho—but with a wide smile stands holding our much-awaited beef shawarma rice in his hands.

“Ma’am, GrabFood niyo po.” he says.

With the cardboard box it came in still warm in our hands, we excitedly lifted the cover and well, see for yourself:

Kudos to Lalafood and their rider though for coming in a few minutes later, with the same sunny disposition even amidst the bad weather. 

2.O Verdict: