Forget pizza. Delivery services will now bring you (almost) anything your stomach desires, from scoops of gelato to the signature dish of a gourmet restaurant.

We trialled 3 services operating in the capital – Delivereasy, Food Ninja and Menulog – on 3 nights in one week. We ordered (or tried to order) 4 set menu items from the same Indian restaurant and assessed each service for ease of use, timeliness and reliability.

A 3-person taste panel rated the food – a fish curry, a vegetarian curry, naan and plain rice – on arrival.

Delivering the goods

There were no complaints about delivery speed. All 3 services arrived with the food earlier than the time indicated on their website when the order was placed. The Menulog deliveryman arrived more than 10 minutes early.

Despite his speed, the Menulog driver failed to follow the specific instructions given to the services in our online order. He called from outside the building and had to be asked to come inside and to the specified level. The other 2 services followed our request to the letter.

All the meals survived the 3km journey well – not a single curry leaked.

Our taste panel.
Our taste panel.

Our taste panel found a notable difference between the temperature of the 3 sets of curries on arrival. The 2 Delivereasy curries were rated as significantly hotter than Food Ninja’s, while Menulog’s fell in the middle.

One taster said of the meal delivered by Food Ninja: “I’d probably want to put it in the microwave. I’d want it hotter.”

Unlike the other services, the Delivereasy driver brought the food up to our floor inside an insulated bag, so this may have made a difference.

The boxes containing the Delivereasy and Menulog curries were also wrapped in foil, but those from Food Ninja weren’t. This was the only difference in the presentation of the food. However, the wrapping may have been done by the restaurant and kitchen staff will also have some influence on the end temperature of the meal.

The temperature of the naan was fairly consistent across all 3, as was the rice. Our panel says they would have preferred both to be a little warmer on arrival, the rice in particular.

Food Ninja says it uses high-quality thermal bags to transport meals and “the driver tried his best to get your food delivered as early as possible”.

Website ratings

The panellists found Menulog’s website the easiest to use – its rating also partially reflects its offer of 10% off for first-time customers.

The vegetarian curry available through the other 2 services was missing from Delivereasy’s website (though it was available at lunch). The company said the missing malai cheese kofta was “something we need to follow up with the restaurant”.

When placing their order through Food Ninja, our panel couldn’t find a prompt for a customer to indicate the preferred spice level of their curry. This process was far easier on the competitors’ sites.

Food Ninja says it’s building a new website and app, which will offer customers a more obvious way to select their preferred option.

Overall evaluation

The fees of the services vary – Delivereasy adds $7 to $16 on top of your order. Food Ninja charges a standard $6 per delivery, while Menulog’s fee is between $5 and $10 depending on the restaurant.

With these charges in mind, we asked our panellists which service they’d be most likely to use again. Delivereasy was our literal hot favourite, winning over all 3 panellists with the temperature of the food on arrival.

The panel did think budget-conscious diners may be likely to prioritise the lower cost of Food Ninja or Menulog over their food being slightly cooler when it arrived.

Final results

Food Ninja

$6 delivery fee applied to the order. A minimum order value, which varies by restaurant, applies.

  • Estimated delivery time: 5.49pm. Actual delivery time: 5.42pm
  • Website: Good
  • Food presentation: Very good
  • Food temperature: Good
  • Instructions followed: Yes
  • Delivers in: Wellington (46 restaurants)

Delivereasy

$10 delivery fee applied to the order. No minimum order value applies.

  • Estimated delivery time: 5.40pm. Actual delivery time: 5.32pm
  • Website: Good
  • Food presentation: Excellent
  • Food temperature: Very good
  • Instructions followed: Yes
  • Delivers in: Auckland (17), Wellington (45)

Menulog

$7 delivery fee applied to the order. A minimum order value, which varies by restaurant, applies.

  • Estimated delivery time: 5.45pm. Actual delivery time: 5.33pm
  • Website: Very good
  • Food presentation: Excellent
  • Food temperature: Good
  • Instructions followed: No
  • Delivers in: Auckland (539), Christchurch (85), Dunedin (48), Hamilton (19), Wellington (90)


By Olivia Wannan
Investigative Writer