A year or so ago I was introduced to the website Just-Eat by my fast-food-loving husband. It is a site which includes a number of cultures of food, in a range of locations, and allows you to browse the menu and then pay without ever leaving your sofa. Since then it has often been a site we have frequented, mainly due to our incomprehensible laziness in Dundee. Since coming to Birmingham we have avoided all but once the lure of convenience, but I have questioned the logic behind using such a site. These questions I will pose now and weigh up, the rest is down to you – after all, it’s your money.
Do you want to pay a little extra for the privilege?
There have been times where I have had a physical copy of a menu in my hand and compared it to the Just-Eat website menu for the same takeaway. One occasion seemed to suggest that each item we ordered would have an extra twenty pence added. That meant for two of us we were adding an extra £1-2 if we ordered online. This seems to have changed now we’re down in Birmingham but only because Just-Eat seem to be hosting the takeaway’s own websites, meaning they could very well have increased the prices across the board. This means that for every order that passes through their system, Just-Eat earn a pound… this seems quite a lot for a page with a menu on it. My husband’s theory is that the paper copies of the menu, where you call the takeaway and/or visit, will have the original price, I’m not so sure..
Is it actually any quicker than ordering from a normal takeaway?
To look through your chosen takeaway menu seems faster, even if you’re a little IT-illiterate, and once you’ve ordered it should be pretty fast getting to your door. If you’ve pair online you don’t even have to exchange in the doorway or fiddle with change. I did wonder why the takeaways I had were always a little slower getting to me than when I just called directly. My theory for this is that at certain times of day the system is busy so Just-Eat could take a little time to get the order to the takeaway itself. The problem comes when your takeaway doesn’t turn up on time, or doesn’t arrive at all. Then you’ve got the awkward time of trying to find out from the IM customer service person why it hasn’t, and if (as once happened to my order), it was never actually sent, they have to redo the order and add another 45 minutes to an hour which leaves you very hungry and rather frustrated. This comes back to the old issue of face-to-face contact and computer simulated contact = which would you rather dealing with your food: a person or machine?
Is the customer service worth the extra money?
As already mentioned, the customer service platform is an instant messaging box at the top right side of the screen. Once you’ve typed in your order number, etc, etc, blah, blah, you wait for a response from the customer service representative sitting on the other end. Not that they can actually do anything more than you could by calling up the takeaway directly. If your meal is late, you can wait longer or check up on it.. commonsense is what it used to be called. Oh, and Just-Eat don’t do compensation. Last time I had a problem (food not arriving for over 2 hours after I ordered), I asked whether I could have money off (as a friend wouldn’t get her food due to it being late) or at the very least a discount. Nothing was given and they cut off communication when we suggested this wasn’t a great way to treat customers, especially when it was self-confessed system error. I don’t like arguing with customer service people, they are very often just doing their job, but this particular representative was just rude. Just thought I’d warn you.
Is it really anymore convenient?
Yes, it’s online. Yes you have a choice of takeaways without going through a search engine (although that wouldn’t have been difficult would it?), and yes the menu is right there. Even better you get to pay online. If this is what you want, go for it. The thing is you could be paying extra for very simple things, you could end up wasting more of your time waiting for Just-Eat to sort out any problem that may arise, and you could end up frustrated and annoyed at the service. Every side has it’s story, so if you have any experience do say in the comments below.