While ordering food for delivery is nothing new, the process is now easier than ever. Long gone are the days of keeping a stack of menus in the drawer next to your phone. Today, companies such as Vietnammm, Eat.vn, Foody.vn and GrabFood take care of everything for you. They provide lists of restaurants, menus and then, after sending your order to the restaurant, they keep you updated on the progress of your delivery.
Online food orders are expected to surpass offline methods by 2020 in Vietnam. Even today, in most major cities, you can get almost any kind of cuisine delivered to your door in under an hour, from Indian curries to a New Zealand steak – or maybe even a wonderful bowl of mì quảng. These delivery services are changing the tastes of local consumers. It’s now just as easy for a Vietnamese family to order KFC as it is for them to order from a local restaurant.
For people who are too busy to shop, there are now companies in Vietnam that will deliver your groceries right to your door. Suma.vn and Chopp.vn are two major players in this new industry, but there are several other notable names as well. Where there’s a need in Vietnam, there’s at least one entrepreneur with a keen eye for opportunity. You can even set up recurring orders nowadays, meaning these companies will delivery the items you expect to use week after week – things like noodles, herbs, meats and sauces.
If you don’t have time to cook – or if you don’t trust your own skills – there are services that will cook and deliver meals to you, either daily or once a week. Companies such as Smartmeal, Fitfood and Flavorbox will work with you to finely tune a meal plan that matches your dietary goals. They have options for people looking to lose weight, as well as protein-heavy meals for those looking to put on some muscle. They design their meals so as to include all the major food groups. There’s no shopping, cooking or worrying about what to eat.
Many will decry the loss of traditional communities, where families bought all their ingredients in nearby markets, but the ease of online ordering is undeniable. For the burgeoning middle-class in Vietnam, already stretched between family and work, these new services free up a lot of valuable time. By ordering dinner or groceries, they save hours every day. It will be interesting to see if there’s any societal backlash in the future, but for now, this industry is only going to get bigger and better, with more options and newer ways to save time.
As online food ordering continues to grow, so do concerns about the amount of plastic used. There are numerous groups trying to raise awareness about the harm being done by plastic in Vietnam, and it will be a challenge for restaurants and delivery companies to match their customers’ shifting expectations in terms of the waste generated through their services. Some have already responded these concerns. Certain restaurants now ask customers to request plastic utensils, rather than including them with every order. Companies that sell meal plans also have the option for customers to buy reusable containers, which the delivery drivers then pick up every day. But while these are steps in the right direction, there is still a long way to go.