23rd February 2024 11:37 am
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Mr D keeps getting my order

Since the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, food delivery and ecommerce in general has grown locally. Where once retailers and restaurant owners were cautious to join the likes of Uber Eats and Mr D, the lockdown saw a need to offer home delivery without needing to invest in that infrastructure.

More and more apps have sprung up offering grocery deliveries and more but when it comes to food, the top three Food and Drink apps on the Google Play Store locally are – in order – KFC, Mr D and Uber Eats.

This shouldn’t be all that surprising as Mr D is a staple of food delivery in South Africa having evolved from Mr Delivery which launched in 1992. The firm was eventually acquired by Takealot in 2014 and has developed into the app and brand we know today. Being a local company is important though because while an international firm may be able to operate locally, making a success of it requires a keen understanding of the local market.

Since late 2022, shoppers have also been able to use the Mr D app to have groceries from Pick n Pay delivered within 60 minutes, emulating Checkers’ promise in its Sixty60 platform.

Over the last month I’ve found myself turning to Mr D more often when I need groceries or even dinner when loadshedding hits. The reason for this is that Mr D is just so convienent.

Finding the deals requires far less effort as they are the first option in the category carousel. The image carousel below that features deals I may be interesting in as well as useful information such as specials at Pick n Pay.

It’s a clean experience and one I enjoy browsing.

The menu layouts for restaurants are also clearer. Where with Uber Eats you need to scroll through an endless list of items on one line, Mr D has the menu categories visible in a list where you can then navigate. It makes ordering for a group much easier.

However, Mr D does have one glaring issue that keeps annoying me. The total amount of your bill is only visible when you are at checkout and before that you need to endure the “Need anything else?” board. This also makes applying discount codes a bit of a chore and when those codes are limited you may not know the limit is reached until you are about to check out.

Choice is important

When Mr Delivery was doing its thing in the 90s it’s important to remember that it was highly local. The menu that was delivered to your house and stuck on the fridge with its magnet featured local restaurants exclusively. This did mean that if there were two pizza spots in town, you’d have two pizza spots to choose from, if they were a part of the service of course.

In 2023 that thinking persists as Mr D offers you a choice of which restaurant you want to order from, within the same chain. This is important because you may want to support the KFC franchise in your neighbourhood rather than the one at the mall. It’s a small but valuable design decision we hope stays as the app and platform evolves.

This choice is also present in the Pick n Pay grocery delivery option. Where Sixty60 assigns you to a specific Checkers store, Mr D let’s you choose which Pick n Pay in your area you want to shop at.

Choice is further present in how you pay with the ability to pay with a card, cash, eBucks or even an EFT. The one problem I found however is that if you don’t get part of your order the refund is credited to your Mr D wallet rather than your bank account.

The experience overall, however, is just fantastic, even the delivery drivers are friendly and have on more than one occasion offered a hand with a heavy bag of groceries.

Considering that Mr D is one reason Takealot saw some gains in the second half of Naspers’ financial year, I suspect I’m not the only one who’s starting to cotton on to the fact that maybe the folks that have been doing this for 31 years have some clue about how to do it right.

Brendyn Lotz

Brendyn Lotz

Beats include cybersecurity, business, infrastructure, telecommunications, PC gaming and internet culture.

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