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My Ground Rules for Ordering through PickMe Food and UberEats

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In an earlier post titled “Ground Rules for using PickMe and Uber” I shared eight ground rules for using the two most popular taxi-hailing services in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Today I want to share with you my ground rules for ordering through their Food Delivery counterparts PickMe Food and UberEats. These ground rules are based on three major mistakes I have made when ordering through them. If you are using these food delivery services for the first time, these ground rules will help you improve your experience. [Photo by Mayur Roshen from SR Photography]  

PickMe Food & UberEats – Ground Rule #1: Know Your Restaurant In & Out

In the years 2019 and 2020, I had three episodes of appendicitis. The doctors concluded that the cause was a food-based infection. Following my recovery, I discovered two restaurants from which I had ordered meals every time I became ill-using UberEats and PickMe Food. I went to one of the restaurants in person one day. In addition to a filthy dining area, I couldn’t get past the odour in the air, which indicated a cockroach infestation. Given how filthy the dining area was, I could only imagine how filthy the kitchen must be. Little wonder I got sick with appendicitis three times. Interestingly the restaurant has a quite impressive Facebook Page!

One of the main drawbacks of ordering food online is the inability to ascertain whether a particular restaurant is safe to order food from. Despite both UberEats and PickMe having strict food safety regulations in place, my experience indicates not all restaurants stick by the regulations.  Hence the first ground rule. “Know Your Restaurant” – it’s a simple rule. If you’re not sure if a restaurant is safe to order from, don’t order anything. There are, however, a few things you can do to learn more about a restaurant you aren’t familiar with.

To begin, go to YAMU  and look at the trilingual reviews. They’ve checked hundreds of restaurants. Then, if you have any friends who live in the area where the target restaurant is located, ask them what they think. You can drop by the restaurant on your way home if you live in the same neighbourhood. When you do ask where the “Rest Room” or the toilet is? The restroom is a reflection of the kitchen.  

PickMe Food & UberEats – Ground Rule #2: Confirm Your order is WYSIWYG

Dr Hannibal Lecter said “It’s Always Important to Try New Things” – I cannot agree less. The problem is he said that while sharing Paul Krendler’s brain with a kid he met onboard the flight. That was often my experience with the food I ordered online. I’d put an order based on the sample photo, only to be disappointed when the dish arrived. For example, I will order a glass of orange juice. After all, it seems to have a lovely shade of orange in the photo. Maybe a burger because it looks juicy and huge on the phone. Just to be surprised when the food arrives. It’s easy to be fooled by looks.

Another time you may be disappointed is when you see a deal like “Buy One, Get One Free.” I once tried such a deal from a well-known Burger joint, only to be disappointed once more. I certainly got two Burgers but they were not what I expected them to be. Tasteless and dry. So instead of eating one bad burger, I had to eat two! I have nothing against “deals” or “promotions,” but some restaurants use them to sell off dishes that nobody wants to buy.

Hence the second ground rule, “Confirm Your order is WYSIWYG” – or confirm What You See Is What You Get. You do that by seeing to it that you trust the restaurant you want to order from when you want to order something, you have never tried before. Once again research is the key. You can check the previously mentioned YAMU or ask a friend.

PickMe Food & UberEats – Ground Rule #3: Confirm Your Location is Right

I’ve made the error of ordering meals to be delivered to my house when I’m at work, and vice versa. If the rider refuses to come to the other location, it is a big disadvantage because you will lose money and food. If the position you choose does not fit the position suggested to the system by GPS, the Uber app will always notify you. The trouble is that if you’re distracted, you’re likely to skip this warning. PickMe Food, on the other hand, is much more intelligent. It updates your location on its own.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a solution to this problem. However, on a few occasions, I was able to call Uber Customer Support and explain that I had got my delivery location wrong. Every time I did, the customer service agents were kind enough to gather my address and send it on to their distribution partner. Nonetheless, it is best to avoid the error rather than waste time correcting it.

PickMe Food & UberEats – Ground Rule #4: Don’t Forget the 5 Star Rating

While it has nothing to do with enhancing your experience, it is worthwhile to take a few moments to give your delivery partner a five-star rating. For both networks, the bulk of distribution partners are young riders who make a living delivering food. They are either full-time delivery partners who are working hard to earn their bread and butter or part-time delivery partners who are looking forward to making an extra buck.

Food distribution in and around Colombo and its suburbs is a thankless job. You must ride to make a living whether it is raining or shining, day or night. If you are late in delivering, the customer can award you a bad rating or even file a complaint (most Sri Lankans won’t but some will). Then there’s the risk factor. Riding a motorcycle in Colombo is dangerous, particularly at night. Every year, a substantial number of motorcyclists are killed in traffic collisions. They deserve at least a five-star rating. Hence the fourth and the last ground rule, “Don’t Forget the 5 Star Rating” – Take a few seconds to give your rider a five-star rating. It’s free as in free.

Wrap Up

PickMe Food and UberEats have revolutionized the dining experience. Similar programs have operated in the past, but PickMe Food and UberEats have brought the consumer experience to the next level with their low delivery rates, comprehensive restaurant network, and, most notably, their mobile phone applications. If you’ve never tried UberEats or PickMe Food, I strongly advise you to do so while keeping these guidelines in mind.


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