UberEats races to sign up Hong Kong restaurants, in challenge to Deliveroo and Foodpanda

UberEats, the food delivery arm of ride-hailing app Uber, ramps up marketing in an effort to sign up the city’s sought-after restaurants

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 8:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 22 June, 2017, 8:03am

Uber has teamed up with Li Ka-shing’s favourite braised goose restaurant to take a bite out of Deliveroo and Foodpanda in an already crowded Hong Kong food delivery scene.

The San Francisco-based disruptor for taxis is now making waves on the city’s culinary landscape, launching an aggressive marketing campaign to sign up the city’s Cantonese restaurants sought-after among Hong Kong foodies.

Among them is even Li Ka-shing’s favourite Sun Kee, a small eatery celebrated for its braised food in Sai Ying Pun. There are also a few dai pai dong restaurants with grassroots appeal, notably Chan Kun Kee which sells wasabi hand-shredded chicken in Sha Tin.

With the market share battle among food delivery services heating up in Hong Kong, major players Foodpanda and Deliveroo have been in a race to partner up with the most ubiquitous eateries. In the case of Hong Kong, many are family-owned businesses whose owners are only starting to embrace online food delivery.

“Our staff have been visiting neighbourhoods across the city to persuade the best restaurants to choose us,” said Horace Lam, general manager of UberEats. “We have already signed 1,200 food and beverage outlets so far and have a secret list of restaurants that we plan to secure a pact with.”

He said that UberEats’ existing customer base had given its food delivery arm an edge in fighting off competition with Deliveroo and Foodpandam, adding that the unit, launched in October, had recorded 30 per cent sales growth month on month.

Foodpanda vs Deliveroo vs UberEats: Hong Kong food delivery services put to the test

Li Chi-sing, the owner of the Sun Kee, said he was hopeful that the pact with the online food delivery app would broaden his customer base, which previously had been mostly concentrated in the western districts of Hong Kong Island.

As a latecomer, UberEats has had to face a situation where some of the best restaurants in the city are already registered with its bigger and more established rivals.

Food courier services in Hong Kong have undergone phenomenal expansion. Berlin-based Foodpanda had enjoyed a dominant position after beating off rivals Foodora, delivery.com and Food By Phone. But the business has been threatened by the arrival of London-based Deliveroo in 2015, and UberEats in 2016, both of which are cash-rich startups that raised hundreds of millions of dollars from global investors.

Market researcher Euromonitor International estimated the on-demand food delivery market in Hong Kong covering non-seating outlets was worth HK$423.2 million last year.

Yung Kee, the granddaddy of roast goose restaurants favoured by the city’s political and business elites, works exclusively with Deliveroo for its food delivery service, according to a spokesperson with the London start-up.

Foodpanda said it counted top Cantonese fine dining destinations Super Star Seafood Restaurant, Tycoon Tann and mass-market Nam Kee Spring Roll Noodle as its exclusive partners,

“Hongkongers want variety and appreciate quality, so what we do is to offer a diversity of cuisines to customers, from restaurant chain favourites to small local hidden gems,” a Foodpanda spokesperson said in an email.