Food delivery apps have seen a spike in downloads since the novel coronavirus locked people in their homes. And so spending hours on end browsing for something to eat during these challenging times has become our new guilty pleasure. Since we can't dine out, we have been bringing the dining inside.
After all, it's not a quarantine party without food. Whether we're talking about cooked meals, fast-food, or groceries, getting items delivered to your doorstep fits with the entire concept of social distancing really well. This is especially true with apps that just leave the goods outside your home, minimizing social contact in all its forms.
Across the Arab region, there's a bunch of food-related apps, websites, and social media pages that have been doing a pretty good job with their deliveries for a while now, and more so during this period. Here's a brief look at some of them:
People in all parts of the world can order take out food off Zomato, including Lebanon, but do they all have the luxury of ordering from different places in one go? Thanks to Toters, people in Lebanon can.
Toters set off its services in Lebanon in 2017 and has since expanded to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and USA. The app allows users to order from restaurants and local stores through their smartphones. These include food, groceries, and even drinks.
Once you download the app (if you don't have it already), all you have to do is select a category and a store, and Toters' shoppers will deliver your order within an hour. You can even track the status of your order throughout it all.
In Saudi Arabia
Toters is available in Saudi Arabia too, but there are loads of other options in the kingdom as well. The HungerStation app is one example. It first launched in 2012 and is considered to be one of the first of its kind in the kingdom. The purpose of its creation is to connect users to their favorite foods. The app currently operates in the Saudi cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Al Khobar, and Dammam. HungerStation does not conduct the delivery process, it is merely an intermediary; the restaurant itself delivers all orders.
Lugmety is another application that aims to revolutionize the food delivery industry in the kingdom. The average time it takes for the food to be delivered is 36 minutes, which keeps the food fresh and hot.
Talabat, which is a pioneer in the online food industry in the entire Arab region after having launched in Kuwait in 2004, is also available for foodies in the kingdom. It is accessible to users in seven different countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Oman, and Jordan. The food ordering platform can be used on both desktop and mobile apps.
And one of the highest growing platforms right now is Nana Direct in Saudi Arabia. A spike in demand on the app during the global pandemic led the company to increase its capacity threefold. It also drove investors to pitch in $18 million in the app this month.
In the UAE
Other than Talabat, a range of different apps have gained popularity in the UAE in recent years. These include Deliveroo, which expanded its services to the city of Dubai at the end of 2015 and later to Abu Dhabi and then raised $575 million in funding led by Amazon just a few years back.
The London-based food delivery service had access to about 400 restaurants and 300 riders by August 2016. Last year, the company launched Food Market, allowing users to order meals from different restaurants in one single order. Amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the company launched a "contact-free" option for users. The latter allows delivery riders to leave the order at users' doorsteps, ensuring 100 percent safety and zero human-to-human contact.
And for those who want healthier food options, especially since physical activity has gone way down for most of us, Eat Clean is the perfect answer with a wide array of healthy eating choices.
In Egypt, Otlob takes the cake. Did someone say cake? Well, you can find all kinds of cake and food on Otlob, that's for sure.
A food ordering app and website, it's a favorite among Egyptian foodies, offering a wide range of international and local restaurant options. It operates in more than 25 cities in the North African country and has over 2,000 restaurants for customers to choose from.
Aside from ordering meals, grocery shopping in Egypt is also made virtual with Cairo-based startup GoodsMart. The app allows users to order anything you need —from groceries to pharmaceuticals. The app's features make it incredibly popular among Egyptian users. The "GoodsMart Box" is one of its most prominent. The feature allows users to order anytime throughout the day until 9 p.m. Deliveries will be made by 6 a.m. in the user's GoodsMart box pre-installed at their doorstep, meaning no doorbells or human contact is needed.