Almost over a year ago, the landscape for food ordering apps in Dubai went through tumultuous changes.
While the customers were at an all-time high for online food orders, Dubai restaurant owners and SMBs in the F&B arena were not too happy with how things were turning out.
There were two variables in the equation. The first one being the pandemic situation, which limited an average restaurant owner’s interaction with his dine-in usuals. The latter variable was associated with food aggregators charging an astronomical fee for their services to online food business owners.
As a result, the UAE, being the country of paradoxes and glitz n’ glam, made a solid effort to thwart such service providers that were making it hard for food startups to survive. The food ordering apps in Dubai are all part of the same paradox. People in the Middle East have strong cultural values, where they are using technology at full scale to order mostly halal and traditional food menus from several different applications.
This post highlights some of the best food ordering apps in Dubai, especially for those people who are interested in getting Halal food through a reliable platform.
However, we feel that instead of jumping right into our recommendations, you, as a customer, need to know about food aggregators’ service fees. This is important because it’ll shed insight on what goes on behind the counter; the struggles of your small business owners, and how you can support them to ensure uninterrupted services from a near-future point of view.
Aggregators Have a Friend or Foe Relationship with F&B Platforms In Dubai| Here’s Why…
Back in 2020, sales were affected by a whopping 20% – 60% for a variety of food business owners. Part of the reason was associated with restaurants getting affected by COVID-19’s ‘no physical interaction’ health restrictions, but the real culprit was a select number of food aggregators that were charging by a flat commission percentage on each incoming online order.
Customers, on the other hand, reportedly began to witness the rise and fall of different food businesses on popular mobile apps. To them, seeing a recently launched food brand vanish from the mobile app arena was a matter of other competitors driving small-scale operators out of the business, but the reality was quite the opposite.
According to Gulf News, Business Insider section, over one hundred food business operators joined hands to not only launch their own applications but also raise concern against Talabat, UberEats, and Zomato.
The reason for this unified outcry was simple; aggregators, the companies that process the orders and deliver them on behalf of the name-brand food business, were charging up to 39% commission on each order. As a result, most businesses weren’t able to keep up with the exorbitant fee – and despite having a good relationship with online food order customers, these restaurants had to quit early.
The decision to launch against F&B aggregators was due to a culminated effect of communication between both parties. “Here in the UAE, many operators expected the food services aggregators to compensate to some extent. We have people cooking at home, and concerns about the high-cost food menu also dampened the promise of a long-term business for us,” said one of the respondents in a March 2020 interview with Gulf News.
Shanavas Mohammed from Golden Fork expressed his views about food aggregators, by saying that “Most aggregators have outright rejected our request for a reduction in commissions. Some of them only offered partial deferment of commissions, and it’s not much.”
The situation, however, turned a new leaf when UberEats made an announcement about joining Careem Now in Dubai to continue their services. This decision was made due to a strong resentment factor from food business owners who were not satisfied with UberEats Dubai’s fee structure.
The rest of the tandem was taken care of by authorities at MERA when they started reaching out to foodservice aggregators to cut down on their fees.
As a result, many such aggregators reduced their percentage and gave way to better business opportunities to restaurant owners who rely on food ordering apps in Dubai to carry on with a majority of their business operations.
So, the next time, you are contemplating the cost of “high” ticket food order menu items, perhaps you’d want to look for the same restaurant on other food ordering apps in Dubai. It might be possible that your favorite restaurant is in the middle of making the switch, and it will be back to its normal rates that you once loved and adored as a food connoisseur.
The 5 Best Food Ordering Apps in Dubai
Starting off with Talabat, one of the best platforms for ordering food in Dubai, they have been maintaining a solid reputation in the online stratosphere for years now. They have more than 1,000 employees to take care of business operations, a rockstar customer support panel, and a fast-food order fulfillment system that works like a charm for customers all over the UAE.
As a food ordering app in Dubai, Talabat maintains more than 10 million downloads at the Android store and 7 million+ downloads in Apple Appstore. The food delivery app is actively used by people looking to order halal traditional menus at competitive prices.
If you are interested in giving Talabat a shot, be sure to check out their mobile phone app to get started.
For food business operators, Talabat offers a dedicated user panel, delivery boy panel for fleet management, and restaurant panel for order processing that comes in from online customers.
EatEasy maintains a healthy roster of over 1000 restaurants known for a variety of dishes. If you are ever in the mood of having a biryani, burger, or a pizza, EatEasy comes as a promising app with fast delivery times, and discounted rates that are often bundled with promos to entice customers.
Usage-wise, we are looking at seamless integration of responsive front-end menu, enticing visuals, and an easy-to-use interface that users can go through, even if they aren’t tech-savvy.
Here are some of the key features that are known to highlight EatEasy as a reputable mobile food ordering app in Dubai these days.
- Combines a variety of halal, traditional, and foreign food from different restaurants in an interactive front-end menu for customers.
- Android, iOS, and desktop users in Dubai can use the app with a great sense of convenience.
- Offers segmented location based on user’s area for pickup and food delivery options.
- You can redeem the cashback offer after a specific number of orders has been fulfilled against your account buying history.
- Pay through cash, credit card, or CoD modes.
- EatEasy is also available in Emirate’s regions, other than Dubai being a hub spot for local food businesses.
3. Zomato (*Now Working as DeliveryHero)
Zomato was acquired by DeliveryHero in the UAE back in March 2019.
Since then, the app has undergone a huge overhaul to offer a delightful customer experience to users from all over Dubai and the Emirates. You can choose to order food from a variety of cafes, restaurants, street corner food brands, and other vendors as you please.
The current application also offers grocery and general item delivery, which has been made possible after DeliveryHero acquired Zomato, and made a $50 million initial investment to scale the business to the next level.
Some of the main highlights of this food ordering app in Dubai are stated below:
- Browse through theme-based restaurants to select foreign, local, and traditional Middle Eastern dishes.
- Offers custom buying experience based on your previous order history. The app maintains your recent purchases in bookmark format to recommend food that you are most likely to order next time.
- Make reservations for a dine-in experience by calling Zomato featured restaurants directly.
- Hassle-free delivery and payment modes.
- Most of the time, you do not have to pay extra charges, as the restaurants maintain minimum delivery and order limits.
Last, but not least, Deliveroo comes as a solid recommendation to those who are on the prowl for reliable food ordering apps in Dubai.
This application segments different restaurants according to their location. Depending on where you are ordering from, you will be able to choose from plenty of name-brand food businesses from around the neighborhood.
Some of the best features of Deliveroo Dubai, to date, are:
- Select from a wide range of affordable meals delivered straight to your doorstep. Biryani, Halloumi Cheese Sandwiches, Chicken Tikka, and curries are some of the few specialties that Deliveroo is known for.
- Offers minimum delivery charges (*AED 7) as compared to many high-end food ordering apps in Dubai.
- You can also schedule your deliveries in advance, based on your lunch, snack, and dinner timings.
- Covers a wide range of hubs in Dubai.
Also known as Munch On, this application is best for people who want to order or schedule food deliveries during lunchtimes.
Most of the customer base is from the working class, which is why this app is one of our favorites for people on the go.
Here are some of the best features of Lunch On:
- Offers a unique combination of dishes each day. You can get up to 5 different meal recommendations to choose from.
- Sign up and receive a weekly recommendation of different lunches and breakfast food order menus.
- Sign up for Pro Lunch On account to get special discounts on delivery charges.
- Schedule food deliveries in advance, especially if your office or restaurant cut-off times do not coincide with one another.
- Food always arrives on time!
What Else Is There to Talk About?
The aforementioned apps were just a few that we recommended getting you started. If you are interested in other food ordering apps in Dubai, make sure you browse through our blog to get useful insights.
As always, if your favorite application is not here on the list, highlight it in the comments section below. Tell us, why you love it, and what’s so special about it. We’d love to update our list, based on your recommendations to help fellow food lovers from all over Dubai.