HungryHouse.co.uk gets Dragons Den funding

Despite not ranking for it’s own name on Google*, online takeaway website hungryhouse.co.uk won £100,000 of funding tonight from 2 of the Dragons on the BBC’s Dragons Den.

Hungry House

Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan invested for a performance related stake of 25% each with a 20% stake to be returned if targets are hit.

The site is still very new and doesn’t cover many areas outside London but it’s interesting to see Dragons investing in affiliate sites again, even one like this where the potential revenue is only 9% of a sale which probably averages around £15.

What do you think about the site?

* Since the program finished 2 hours ago the site has come from nowhere to 1st for the term “hungry house”. Google using query and toolbar data to correct itself in real time?

By Patrick Altoft. at 10:37PM on Monday, 19 Nov 2007

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events. Follow Patrick Altoft on Twitter.

comments

68 Responses to “HungryHouse.co.uk gets Dragons Den funding”

  1. Andy says:

    I like it in theory, although I’m too far outside London to be able to use it. And I was deeply amused by the synchronicity that saw me biting into a slice of online-bought Domino’s Pizza at the exact moment they were talking about that particular company.

    But I think Deborah Meaden made a good point about people thinking ‘I fancy a curry’ or whatever, rather than being in the market for shopping around. And the website, while easy to use, is surprisingly unappetising for a food site – it doesn’t exactly make you drool, does it?

    On balance, worth a punt I think – but I wasn’t surprised to see they didn’t get away with offering an 11 per cent stake. In fact, I remember saying to Beloved Other Half “they’ll be lucky to walk away still owning half that company”.

    At least, I would have said that if my mouth hadn’t been full of pizza.

  2. Andy C says:

    I think it’s rubbish. Call me old fashioned but I have my favourite takeaway menus posted on my fridge. Look at menu. Place order. Food delivered.

    I didn’t like your pitch. I don’t get the idea. I don’t like the web site. I’m worried about the Danish competition so I’m out.

    Having said that, it will probably be a runaway success.

  3. David Ping says:

    I thought the programme was very interesting as I already use another website called OrderYourTakeaway.Com who have been around a lot longer than HungryHouse but the thing that I like about OrderYourTakeaway.Com is that they offer people a way of making money by eating takeaways via their OYT Triple Money Plan (website is at http://www.oyttmp.com).

    I think HungryHouse could be very good and they have a nice website but I think they have more than just one competitor as they suggested on the programme and I think that they will need a lot more than £100k to make it work.

  4. Matthew says:

    I did a google search for hungryhouse last night and didnt see it but I do now.

    I think the site has potential. I moved last year to a new home in a new(ish) area and still have no idea what food places are around except a couple that I have tried. If this service was in my home town (which it is not yet) then I would probably use it to hunt for something new and make an order.

    As for the design… I find the home page a little cluttered. They need to make the post code box a little more prominent. After that it seems to work well.

  5. Matthew Oxley says:

    Interesting ; I didnt watch the program but i’m fascinated the google ‘correction’.

    I’ve always thought search would become more dependent on user-habits than relevance.

  6. Matt Collins says:

    I’m working on a related, but more low-tech idea (menulover.co.uk) which I was in the middle of discussing with a friend when the Dragons Den piece came on the TV. We couldn’t believe it when we realised what they were talking about!

    Anyway, good luck to the guys. Apart from anything else, getting the Dragons Den funding gives them a nice bit of publicity. As Andy C said, though, the Danish competition could be tough. They claim to be handling 20,000 orders a day or so across Europe, so presumably know what they’re doing.

  7. Marty McFly says:

    Anyone any ideas who exactly the competition might be? They deliberately didn’t mention them by name but I wonder whether someone knows that Danish company…

  8. larry says:

    watching program now it looks good!

  9. jodie says:

    they are stupid to invest

  10. Jj says:

    I have to say I think Hungry House has it compared to the other names mentioned on here. Personally I think there name works better (which is one of the most important aspects when first getting out there. its easy to remember and straight to the point)
    Also the website looks a lot nicer and is easy to use compared to OrderYourTakeaway.Com and menulover.co.uk
    They have just had a huge amount of advertising just by going on the show and with two dragons behind them I can only see them getting better.
    I can’t wait for them to branch out more. Getting more restaurants all over Britain I wish them luck.
    Only one bit of advice, don’t forget the student users as students buy more fast food then any other demographic (as far as I understand)

  11. Nodding Dog says:

    Matt Colllins: The Danish competitor mentioned is just-eat.co.uk

  12. Jez says:

    The big competitor is Just-Eat.co.uk

    They have over 800 shops online in the UK, and apparently over 2,400 in Denmark, Netherlands and Iceland.

  13. Graeme Horne says:

    Hi all! I’m Graeme, and I work for http://hungryhouse.co.uk

    It’s good to see that Shane and Tony’s appearance in the Den has inspired a bit of a debate.

    Just to let everyone know that we are paying attention to people’s opinions, and if you have any particular requests, advice, or problems with the site then feel free to comment here or contact us directly through our site.

    I’ve been looking at the OYT triple points system with interest. What we do is an “introduce and earn” system, where if you introduce a restaurant you get a 10% discount for the next year. When we thought of this system, We hoped doing it this way would ensure that people only introduce partners they would genuinely want to order from…

    Anyway, we’ve only just started with this system, so will keep an eye on results. I’m going to discuss the OYT model for introductions with Shane and Tony, as it does seem an interesting idea.

    Thanks for looking at the site, and apologies for the poor load times if you visited the site directly after our TV appearance. We put in 3 new servers before the show, but really nothing could have prepared us for the traffic!

    Graeme

  14. mark says:

    Guys not to be big headed or anything but there is going to one clear market leader http://www.118menu.com it will be live in Jan 08 and have more choice than all the rest.

  15. mr cool says:

    Ive heard the rummors about 118menu too, lucking forward to it !

  16. Andy C says:

    @Graeme: I love your arrogance. You must in in marketing. Another reason 118menu will shurely succeed. Last Mover Advantage.

  17. john says:

    I AGREE WITH THAT ATTITUDE THEN YOU WONT FAIL !! PLUS I LIKE THE CARTOON ! MR MENU ??

  18. Bryan says:

    I don’t know if anyone cares… but Ive been using hungryhouse for months now, more than a dozen times. I’ve been a big fan of it as it’s simple to use and care free in general even if I try some new takeaway place (mostly pizza and chinese). Earlier I noticed the site talking about dragons den on the 19th, which I missed… I wanted to see it. I googled for it and found this blog.

    Anyway… personally I think its a fantastic idea. You wont know it till you get used to using it. I myself didnt get into it immediately, it kind of takes a few goes to get addicted to this way of doing the takeaway.

  19. Derek says:

    Online ordering is alright, but for simplicity I keep using a website at http://www.thebigeat.com. I can search for takeaways by food type and it has most menus for my area (NW London). It would be good to order online, but until every takeaway is on the same site (which is unlikely to happen). I was amazed to see 100k sunk into Hungry House as the guy who did the Big Eat website offered to sell the whole thing for 5k not long ago. Just goes to show how effective a bit of marketing can be!

  20. Marcus says:

    Agree completely with Brian- I love the service. Menus on the fridge are great if you work from home, but Hungryhouse lets you defer orders, so I can order from work to coincide with arrival home from the commute. Never any issues, and reviews of the assorted restaurants are usually pretty spot on. I wouldn’t invest that sort of dosh in the venture, but it can’t be faulted for my area (S London) and is WAY better than just-eat in this neck of the woods.

  21. alen radak says:

    I have just moved to sw19 and have already used 3 times hungry house(i found them through google)and it is great.
    Only problem is that there is too many currys and pizzas and no other options(wouldn’t be great to see some italian or mexican food)
    But big positive is the fact you can leave feedback after your order.(works in similar way to ebay).
    So i reckon restaurant managers won’t deliver bad food-otherwise they risk potential clients.
    So far i am happy!

  22. david larousse says:

    I like the idea, but I found another website which I used called Urbanbite.com, anyone heard of it? This one is even more interesting as it EVEN lets you track your order once you made it, so it tells you when it is on its way, etc. I’ve used this one and Hungry house and I must say that Urbanbite wins hands down. The boys from HH are going to have to face some stiff competition if they are going to make it in this tough market.

  23. Rune Risom says:

    Hi people,

    Hope you don’t mind me sticking my head in here. My name is Rune Risom and I’m the COO with Just-Eat. The discussion going on is very interesting and no doubt the UK market for this niche has gotten very competitive.

    There are a few things in some of the posts I would like to comment on.

    Firstly I would like to make it clear that we have no intention of listing restaurants on our site that has ceased to work with us or in general have closed their shop. We always keep our data as up to date as possible.

    Also in regards to customer service I believe us to be on par or perhaps even better than the rest. We provide our users with access to live chat order support, e-mail and phone. Also we encourage users to leave ratings of their experiences to help others find the best quality and service in their area.

    We think it’s great for HungryHouse that they got success on Dragon’s Den as it has helped generate interest in general for online food ordering, and we of course have also benefitted from this.

    A little side comment (coming from my competitive nature) is that HungryHouse has only added ca. 10 restaurants to their selection since the TV show, while we at Just-Eat has added 90 :)

    Kind regards
    Rune Risom
    Just-Eat.co.uk

  24. Hyps says:

    Been using Hungryhouse for a good few months now – before the Dragon’s Den thing and I find them outstanding. The range of restaurants is really good and it allows you to add notes for the restaurants. If there have been any issues i.e. my order not getting through to the restaurant within 10 mins I think it is – I got a call from Customer Services informing me of this.

    Also the people or person that said there isn’t a wide enough range – just chinese and pizza – you are able to recommend the service to your favourite local and they too can be added.

    I had a look at Just eat a good while before turning to Hungryhouse and was not impressed – very limited (for my area at least) selection and the website is not at all pleasant to use or look at.

    Definitely impressed with Hungryhouse!

  25. Richard says:

    Interesting to note that http://orderyourtakeaway.com/ is now closed!

  26. Michael says:

    This is an awesome idea excatly what is needed for my flat when we seen this we were nearly jumping off the couch lol being students we would order 4-6 times a week honestly we never cook lol most nights when order we dont no what we want so havin this site would have been great but alas it has no listings were i live in saying that i looked at the site when the show was first aired and it didnt have much then and hasnt seemed to change has anything happened with this business?? or is it just based in london

  27. Mark says:

    Was impressed with Hungry House right up until one restaurant (Yune) failed to deliver the food.

    It’s then you find out that they have no refund facility and they don’t answer any emails. Only £15 so not the end of the world, but definitely wouldn’t give them my credit card details again. Stick to paying the take-aways with cash is my advice.

    Shame because the idea sounded quite good. Maybe they’re just a small company and haven’t got the hang of it yet. The idea is awesome though. I hate phoning up take-aways and being able to do it online is great. Would be good if someone professional like Amazon got into this.

  28. Donald says:

    Try Urbanbite, awesome and better than hungryhouse. I too had an issue once and their customer service team gave an immediate refund. Excellent service and some great restaurants.

  29. James s says:

    Urbanbite suck. and i mean really suck

  30. Momen Ahmed says:

    Hello Guys,

    It was really interesting topic to discuss. i strongly beleive that uk’s home delivery method for consumer will rapidly change in a very short time. Its an amaizing progress. One most important things to know that hungry house came to uk market before just-eat but just-eat has educated the restaurant business about online ordering process. They are the biggest online ordering company in uk without any doubt.The range of restaurant and varieties of food in their website simply uncomparable with any other company. ordering food through just-eat is safe,easy and reliable all the time.

    many thanks guys
    momen ahmed

  31. Gemma says:

    I found the hungry house website very difficult to use. I came across a site called Curry Me Home I found this site very easy to use compared to hungry house and all the other online takeaways, as the name suggest they only deliver Indian takeaway.

  32. Ashley Campbell says:

    I have been using Curry Me Home the online indian takeaway ordering service for a while now and I never had any issues with them and I really do think their food is absolutely amazing!

    I didn’t think they had a telephone number as they are an online service, Nat I’m curious where you got this “number” that is apparently always engaged? Furthermore I just read the T&C and no mention of payment being charged to a restaurant.

    The only downside I can see with Curry Me Home is that they don’t delivery to my gfs place in Croydon :-(

  33. OK, this thread is clearly becoming a discussion between rival online takeaway providers slating each other and providing anonymous comments about their own companies.

    These tactics are pretty easy to spot and we track IP addresses (which I was forced to hand over to lawyers who got upset about this thread a few months ago) – frankly I don’t have time to keep moderating this so please refrain from it in future.

  34. Hi Patrick,

    Thanks for alerting your readers that some of these comments aren’t as independent as they appear.

    Thought it was worth giving people a quick update from us… We got the investment we were looking for at the start of the summer, so we’ve spent the last few months pounding the pavements and recruiting around the country. Really sorry if we haven’t got to your town or city just yet – there are just so many takeaways to visit everywhere you go! Bear with us – we’ll get there soon!

    Thanks to anyone who’s taken a look or ordered from our site over the last couple of years.

  35. Stevo says:

    LOLZZZZ Jus read this thread and am ROFL @ the takeaway sites posting here. Get a life!

  36. Ash Ali says:

    Hi Guys,

    An old conversation, but thought it would bne nice to give everyone an update on Just-Eat.co.uk.

    Currently over 1650 restaurantes are now offering delivery food and Just-Eat.co.uk is going from strenght to strenght nationwide.

    Register for free online and give it a try to see for yourself how cool the service is.

  37. Jamie says:

    I think it’s hillarious how Just Eat and Hungryhouse keep posting as though they were the only 2 online meal ordering sites in UK. Guess what, Urbanbite seems to be doing very well in London! We use their site all the time and my friends also do.

    Jamie.

    • Rob Burrell says:

      @JAMIE! your comment re Urban house did make me smile considering Just Eat have recently acquired them. LOL. Guess that means your now a Just eat fan. :)

  38. James says:

    I would like to point out that in my opinion, none of the online food ordering services are actually stepping up to the mark that they keep telling us they are. It’s all very well adding 100 restaurants a week, but if we can’t search your website effectively then it is a pointless waste of my time. Also, if all of those restaurants are bad quality takeaways, not only doesn’t it ruin your own brand, it forces us to go with what we know – which is ringing our local or going for the bigger brand of Piza Hut, Dominos and now Easy Pizza?

    You guys are just brokers for food from many tacky restaurants that I nor my friends would ever order from (in my area anyway). Which doesn’t make it easy to trust your decision about who is at the top of any given page for a search.

    The Hungry House site looks like a restaurant site and considering they have had all that funding have not done a great deal to improve useability.

    All of them insist on a postcode search before letting you in on any other information – why can’t I search for a food type then instead of sifting through reams of restaurants (Just Eat) – at least hungry house presents you with a secondary search box, but wastes your time with a postcode search first!

    Urban bite seem to have the most user friendly and easy to understand approach – postcode search > meal type > restaurant – clean, and friendly looking too.

    And if there are no restaurants available, they just say ‘sorry we dont exist here’ . None of them offer me the alternative of a national chain to choose from in the event of the lack of a cheap one (enter Dominos and Pizza Hut). Pizza Hut even have an affiliate programme so why dont you portals just put them in there anyway and make more commission than you yourselves offer?

    Call me old fashioned, but unless the service improves, I will still ring my local as I LIKE my local, I know them and I get the personal service. I would also rather go straight to them giving them all of the money. Most of these takeaways are in both directories anyway so why not cut out the middle man – surely it is new people to the area (students!) that dont know what takeaways there are next door?

    Dominos have been in the market forever, and now Pasta Hut are competing for the delivery service – these are the big boys with their TV ads and celebrity endorsements (way to follow up Hungry House!) – so until they are a part of the portals, how can we take them seriously? If Pricerunner or Kelkoo didn’t include amazon or Dixons, you would probably not take them seriously either!

    Come on Guys – show us why your service makes our lives better, give us a good reason to buy from you – and show me the restaurant reviews – proper ones, not just in house cut and pastes of ‘Superb service and fantastic food!’ from John of Hull – and it would be nice to see some pictures of food to MAKE US HUNGRY when we order!

    They buying audience is more sophisticated than you give us credit for so just as we can see through the in house posts on this thread, we can see through the shoddy reviews and obviously preferential placement of certain restaurants.

    Here endeth the rant

    James

    Nuff said!

  39. Momen Ahmed says:

    It was very interesting to read your commets. As a regular consumer of Just-Eat.co.uk. I can give you the following reasons to order online :

    1) Its fast. You get your order within 45 mins. Which is great! in this modern busy life.
    2) Its reliable and secured. The payment system is smooth and fully secured. No hassle for cash only restaurants.
    3) Wide range of restaurants. Over 1750 restaurants to choose.
    4) User friendly website which allows the consumer to communicate directy to the restaurants. The word “broker” was used unwisely.
    5) Just-eat is promoting healthy food if you search well, I beleive you will find many many healthy restaurants. It always depends on area. Please name some healthy and good restaurants that doing home delivery in your area but not listed on Just-Eat.They will definitely take them on the board.
    6) E-commerce is growing rapidly. Online business is the future for any kind of business..In UK every 1 house out of 8 got braod band. Calling take aways for home delivery is most unlikely to stay longer. People will like to memorise the website rather than keeping big menu on the wall.

    Now let me answer the question of using picture of the food. It always make confusion to the consumer to choose right products when picture used.Remember its food not electronic product or house. I personally beleive you should go for description of the food that gives better idea of the food.

    many many thanks and i am sure some of your suggestions will be taken to the board by these websites company.

    thanks
    momen

  40. James says:

    “…many many thanks and i am sure some of your suggestions will be taken to the board by these websites company…”

    …Now WHY would a usual and regular consumer be thanking me for some of my suggestions?

    Come on Just Eat – I notice that you thank me, and tell my why I should use one service, and berate me for my comments on your service but forget to comment on all the other services that I mention.

    The user can already communicate directly wth the restaurant by phone and by all the other websites !! (BTW – I forgot to mention 118menu.com and Yell.com) – if I and they can’t remember a number then fine, but ultimately I can make the decision to switch on the computer 3 flights up to get the favourites link or pick up the takeaway menu in my kitchen and call… give me an incentive to go upstairs!

    Who knows – if comparison shopping sites are the future, and widgets that tell us which comparison shopping sites are even cheaper, then you better start thinking about more than a baseball cap and jacket to make me want to buy from you and truly understand why I should use your service if everyone and his dog has the same takeaway on their site. Ultimately people are lazy so if all takeaways are on all sites, users will click on the link that is at the top and gets them there quicker which means that you are all pushing your own bids up for the same link – Google wins!

    I am well aware of the growth of broadband thanks (note my comment on the slightly more sophisticated approach that this generation require…) – and the growth of e-business! I agree that a description of the food helps, but again, if I can’t find out what food there is in a matter of clicks – the description means nothing – AND we all know how menus big up the food they contain. I dont know many fast food shops that employ copywriters to describe their fare.

    Anyway thank YOU for your return comments and I’m sure that all of the websites will thank me for these comments when they log in to respond on their service as well! I really am just a consumer offering my feedback on how I want to buy food online and can only say that over 1750 restaurants STILL dont give me any more restaurants to order from in my area so that means nothing to me!

    James

  41. stevo says:

    http://www.just-eat.co.uk/contact

    Interesting point of view from a “consumer” there Momen. Oh and you are also the 1st person listed as Just Eat’s sales staff on the link above!

    Momen Ahmed
    Regional Sales Manager – South
    momen@just-eat.co.uk

  42. Nice catch Stevo.

    You online takeaway people could all do with some consulting about how to handle online PR and blog marketing. Call me on 0113 281 4100. Writing comments while pretending to be a consumer is not only unethical but it’s illegal as well in the UK and could really blow up in your faces.

  43. Alex says:

    Hi,
    I don’t live in the UK but when I visited London I went on http://www.pizza.co.uk, isn’t this the same? I know this website from other European countries!

  44. DANNY says:

    Hi there, its the first time im actually on this Blog. The reason I came across this Blog is because Im doing some research for my new business venture next year that will proberly help to improve all this nonsense !

    Sounds like there is a lot of hostility between these companies. I dont use any webiste to order my take away, I just can’t see the benefits plus I am really picky with my food and would NOT order from most of the restaurants on offer on these website’s any way . I agree with James on many points, I just pick up the phone and call for my take away and if I cant find the number I just google it.

    I dont even know much about these companie’s so ill comment more about it in the future.
    By the way coulden’t believe how obvious it was when I was reading through Momen’s comments lol, COME ON PEOPLE LETS KEEP IT PROFESIONAL……..

  45. John says:

    I watched the Dragons Den Hungryhouse.co.uk episode and was surprised that the dragons invested. I wonder if the founders are on target for the sales projections stated in the presentation.

    I say this because I did a quick survey on the other online takeaway order sites and this is what I found. I took RM11 (Hornchurch Essex) as a random area check:
    Menu Lover – No establishments
    118menu – No Establishments
    thebigeat – No establishments
    just-eat.co.uk – 13 establishments claimed although on checking they were all
    correctly stated as RM post-codes but not necessarily RM11.
    Unfortunately hungryhouse.co.uk had No establishments.
    They advise (today) that they have just over 900 establishments online, which
    I find a bit weak bearing in mind it has been 1 year since they were funded
    by the Dragon s(assuming the deal happened!)

    Assuming they started with zero vendors and the 100k investment is gone by my calculations their acquisition cost per new vendor is over $100 or if the cash is still in the bank it would have been the first bite (excuse the pun) of the income from 66 online orders (average 15.00 @ 10% x 66 – 99.00). I don’t know if that works because I don’t know their daily order averages but I do think it is a little slow for a company that states it will turnover 3.2M in year three and show 2M profit.

    I would be interested hear from anyone at hungryhouse.co.uk to see if they would like to update us on the success of their marketing so far. I am not a spy for any of the other online stores and I am not a potential competitor. I am studying (in a cursory fashion) various online business opportunities that have made headway through unusual funding avenues or unusual marketing strategies. This is most definitely not a posting designed to criticize hungryhouse.co.uk. I am really just interested to see if the enterprise worked with the assistance of the Dragons Investment and expertise.

  46. John says:

    Hi All,

    I should have done my research. I understand that hungryhouse didn’t take the funding from the Dragons in the end.

    Regards

    John

  47. DANNY says:

    Hi John,
    I was also convinced they had obtained the funding. Any idea why the Dragons pulled out?

  48. John says:

    Hi Danny,

    I have put the url of another article on hungryhouse – see below.

    It looks like the Dragons swamped the guys with paperwork and the deal fell through,
    however it seems they got alternative funding on better terms.

    Intersting business.

    http://www.here.org.uk/2008/05/hungryhousecouk-dragons-den-investment-falls-through-the-best-thing-that-could-happen-to-them.htm

  49. Steve says:

    Hi guys,

    I’m Steve and I run a smaller alternative online food ordering website called http://www.e-resistible.co.uk/. We had the idea but weren’t even running when the show first aired on DD however since launching 6 months ago we have signed up 150 restaurants in Birmingham, Bristol and a few other cities. We are 3 students at the University of Warwick and have successfully established a profitable business in spite of the competition, we have also won awards and were featured in the Independent recently here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/higher/campus-dragons-the-entrepreneurial-spirit-is-soaring-across-universities-in-the-uk-1049816.html

    HungryHouse have certainly grown from strength to strength since the airing of the show. We understand that a while back they were taking 500 orders a night but this may have increased since then, Graham may enlighten us more on this ;-). It seems crazy to me that the Dragons didn’t invest in them after the show because it was obvious that once it went on BBC1 that it would be huge for them and with such a mass market that exposure should offset any risk in putting up the 100k.

    Just Eat we think have gained around 200,000 customers since they started. Both businesses appear to be trading profitably and expanding relatively quickly.

    Currently there are a number of smaller operators such as ourselves however once we finish our degrees in June we hope to track down these early innovators with an improved website and better product offering.

    Many thanks,

    Steve, E-resistible.co.uk

  50. Mark says:

    This blog is brilliant ! I love the unfriendly banter

    Have a look at

    http://www.118menu.com/takeaways-and-restaurants
    ow @ the competition.
    I suspect…. they will be announcing the partnership to the press in Jan to coincide with any major sales activity that also will be happening.

    Merry xmas

  51. Doug Scott says:

    Just watched this and had to comment on it as it is an area close to home.

    In 1998 I setup CanIOrder with some friends, the dot com bubble collapsed and we could get no cash. But a guy called Ben in North London built a competitor and it was called OrangePip, he got some investmnet and they called in UrbanByte which they then sold to Lastminute.

    The nightmare of the busines is you make very little money on each transaction and ultimately you get blamed for bad food/delivery.

    Doug

    Doug

  52. Syed says:

    Hi All,

    I think the calibre of these sites are all probably quite low – I for one just had my first experience with one just now.

    Right now I am just so angry, (and currently very hungry) after having my saturday evening ruined by Just-Eat.co.uk. I had heard about hungry-house from a friend, googled it for reviews and learned about just-eat from this blog, with the number one ranking result.

    I ended up ordering from just-eat.co.uk and the following is my first experience from ordering from any of the sites listed so far on this blog;

    20:02 I receive an email from Just-Eat saying my order is accepted and I should expect it at 20:45
    21:15 I email support to ask for an update and get a response in Danish.
    22:07 I reply asking for some support in English.
    22:30 I try calling Just-Eat.co.uk – who do not pick-up the phone.
    22:40 I call the restaurant – which surely makes the whole middle-man pointless – and they told me that they had called Just-Eat to cancel the order ages ago, as they would not deliver to where I lived.

    I think this is really pathetic – I hope they give me my money back.

    I am sure some of you had acceptable experiences, but I doubt that these affilaite sites are ready to give the kind of services I expect when ordering food just yet.
    It may even be years before it is bug free.

    All I know is when I pick up the phone and talk to my local delvery restaurant, I like being recognised and being treated the way all good customers like. It seems with email, they are all so quick to palm you off with no support.

    Peace,
    Syed.

  53. Simon says:

    Hi,

    Some very interesting posts on here! I have been a customer of Hungry house for a number of months and have ordered in excess of 10 times witha variety of restaurants. I found there was never a problem, everything was very straight forward, quick and easy. My only disgruntal was that they charge you for paying by card whereas the site stated that you pay what you would normally pay the restaurant, or less, this is clearly untrue. I have become more disappointed lately as it now seems to take quite some time for the order to be submitted to the restaurant, the most recent case being 30minutes from Hungryhouse receiving my order to them sending it to the restaurant. I did get confirmation the restaurant had receuived it 3 mins later, but 33mins to send the order and get it accepted?! ‘Employ more staff’ or ‘update your automated systems’ comes to mind. This is the longest ordering time i have experienced from any of the online takeaway ordering sites.

    I am also becomming more disappointed as the level of customer service has slipped dramatically. Whenever i had a query, it was always dealt with very promtly before, and i had a contact number to call them if i needed to, but now, it takes several emails backwards and forwards and several days to resolve something, and the contact number is no longer in use and i cannot see a new one on the site.

    If i order through a company, if i have a problem i expect that company to deal with it, regardless of if they give my order to someone else to complete, i ordered it with that company so they should deal with any problems, however Hungryhouse very quickly offset you back to the restaurant. I feel they need to take more responsibility for the orders they process, especially when you have tried to rectify it with the restaurant to no avail.

    I received an order 40mins late and when i called the restaurant i was told the driver was stopped by police, i tried to cancel as it was too late now, but either due to language barriers or sheer ignorance he spoke over the top of me and said it was because of the police. I again tried to cancel but he said it will be here in next few mins and ended the call. I received it finally 30mins after the restaurant was closed, the food was stone cold, soggy and not edible, i still tried to call to complain and request refund but was no answer, so i then contacted Hungryhouse. Maybe i should have contacted Food Standards as by this point the food was unhygienic and unsafe to eat at that temperature, bacteria doubling by the minute!
    I had tried to deal with the restuarant and then went to Hungryhouse instead. Customer Services quoted in an email back to me that i can only get full refund for certain criteria, one being if i have contacted the restaurant to cancel before i receive my order, and another being if i have tried to contact the restaurant to collect the unwanted food. I did both of these and still Hungryhouse refused to refund me! Come on guys i followed your instructions!!

    They then emailed me again to say they still would not refund me as it comes out of their pocket…..well if i have followed your criteria as quoted how do i still not meet the requirements for refund?!! In my eyes Hungryhouse should have refunded me, and they themselves dealt with the restuarant to get their money back, i had clearly already met 2 causes for refund. I was offered £3:00 credit to my Hungryhouse account as compensation, this was not even half of the money i lost on the order. I responded to say i had already done what they asked and had already quoted it in my original email to them.

    Determined not to lose my money to this site and the restaurant, i have now once again contacted the restaurant who said they would refund back to Hungryhouse, and have since emailed Hungryhouse to ask them to send the money back to my card, yet awaiting a response. I have no confidence at all that they will give me this refund and i am now expecting they will tell me to speak to the restaurant again to get them to refund my card directly. I have no shame in saying the other sites that have been around for so long, are much better with this kind of service. I dont see how they can promote and easy and efficient service cutting out the middle man, when they leave you to deal with all the problems yourself and take no responsibility and dont even help to rectify it….in other words, they will take your money for an order plus their card fee (which the restaurants do not actually charge so Hungryhouse DOES cost you more to order with them, unless you pay cash on delivery) but they will not take responsibility when problems arise and you have followed what they have told you to do. Once i eventually receive my refund (if ever) i will not hesitate to use Just-eat or meal2go or any of the other several online takeaway sites.

    I had recommended Hungryhouse to several friends who have been using it frequently, i myself several times a month, but i will be advising them all of my problems and recommending the other sites instead. I can see clearly why there are so many people who have gone back to the other sites. In my opinion, company policies and procedures desperately need adderssing, responsibility and duty of care to the customer definately.

    I must say the Customer Service advisors are very nice and friendly in their emails, its clearly the policies they have to work within that is creating this impression and causing disgruntle. I can say from experience with them that it has definately slipped alot since i first joined.

    Also, when can the ‘taste ‘tests’ where you get 20% off ever be used>?! The site states this applies when a new restaurant is added, to gain feedback etc, i have seen several added in my postcode area since joining but not one with a taste test. The site states you can use them on your first 3 orders, when i did not get the discount on my orders i queried this and was told it has to be new restaurants with the symbol by it, but the sit clearly says you can get the discount on your first 3 orders, no mention of only nwe restaurants. Plus, none of the new restaurants have ever had this symbol by them, my friends have also commented on this so we are beginning to feel this is a ploy to convince you to join and order. They seem very clever with words and getting out of their own statements!

  54. Simon says:

    Responding to ‘Doug’

    Sorry to hear that your company did not work out, but what you describe as being the nightmare of the business when you get blamed for bad food/delivery i feel is something that these companies should be prepared to take responsibility for. I appreciate they are not the ones making or delivering the food, but they are taking your order and taking your payment, that warrants a level of responsibility to the customer who is placing their trust in you and the site. I do agree the customer is responsible for trying to rectify any problems, but they should not be expected to keep contacting the restaurant dealing with it themselves when they have ordered through a company to cut out the middle man, the whole point is that they do not have to deal with the restaurant directly isnt it?! if thats not the point, then ordering online is a lot harder and longer than just picking up the phone. These sites cant seriously expect to just sit back and make money doing nothing but sending you order to the restaurant for you….if they want to claim it is quicker and easier and cuts out the contact with the restaurant, that should also follow through to the after sales service which just seems to be non existent once your money has been taken.

    The idea of it all is great and works fantastically if the food is good and on time, but all goes to pot when there is a problem. Maybe at the point of clicking to submit your payment, a disclaimer should come up clearly stating that by paying this site to order your food they are not responsible for any problems that occur and will expect you to handle it all yourself, which is what they do expect. But if this kind of message was clear to the customer at the point of clicking to submit payment, i think alot of customers would actually decide not to use it, which is probably already been cottoned on to by the sites which is why they probably dont do that!

    I admit i do regularly use this way of ordering as alot of the restaurants dont take card payments, but will accept it online through a site of this kind and this is the only reason i continue to use them, if the restaurants themselves took cards i wouldnt hesititate to cancel my online accounts!

    After seeing everything on this page, i am very tempted myself to set up a site like this, but to stabnd out from the competition, actually provide and after sales service, and help customers with their problems, after all, if i ran a site like this and enlisted the restaurants, i am partly responsible!!

  55. Simon says:

    Syed,

    I totally agree with you and have experienced similar with that site and others, maybe we should patch together and build our own service, that actually provides a proper customer service!

  56. Hi Simon,

    Firstly, I’d like to apologise on behalf of everyone here at hungryhouse. We never like to see a customer who has been let down with their food, but it’s especially upsetting to see that you felt let down by the customer support that we provided.

    I have spent all morning trying to track down your order and see the records of how this was dealt with (as well as writing a response here and then accidentally navigating away from it and losing what i’d written – very annoying!), however I’ve been unable to find your order using just the name Simon. I really want to sort this out for you, but at present am unable to do so. Could you please get in contact with us directly, by sending an email to help@hungryhouse.co.uk? If you could list the name that the order was placed under, if possible your order reference number, and also paste a link to this conversation into your message it will help our customer support guys to understand the context of your message.

    Looking specifically at what you’ve described here, I really must apologise. If you have given all of this information to our customer support people – that you spoke to the restaurant and asked to cancel your order, and then even after the food was delivered called them again to complain and request that you could return the food – then it is our standard policy to provide a full refund in those circumstances. We would also provide a bit of credit to use toward a replacement meal, as a goodwill gesture. It sounds as if you got the credit, but the refund has not been carried out…

    As I say, if you have given our team all of the information that you have put here, but have not been given a full refund, then there has certainly been a mistake made by a member of our customer support team. I really hope that you will get back to us using the email address provided. I will then make sure that you get the full refund you are entitled to, and also it will help us to see who dealt with the issue at the time -so that we can give them a little extra training and ensure that this mistake doesn’t happen again.

    Once again, apologies. I hope that you will get back in touch.

    Regards,
    Graeme
    hungryhouse.co.uk

  57. Wakaz from Oz says:

    ‘Responding to Graeme regarding Simon’s nightmare ‘

    Good on you for keeping on top of these comments, as they say “If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends.
    If you make customers unhappy on the Internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” So stay on top of these and you may still have a chance at a successful business.

  58. Hi Wackaz,

    Thanks for the support. It cuts both ways though doesn’t it? If we make a customer HAPPY online, hopefully they might tell 6000 friends too! I do admit though, people are so much more likely to write something negative if they have a bad experience than to post if everything goes smoothly – it’s annoying, but it’s just one of those things.

    …Come on guys and girls – if you’ve had a good experience with any of us online ordering services, don’t forget to pop your head in and stick up for us! ;)

    G

  59. Simon says:

    Hi Graham,

    Apologies for a late response, i have only just received notification that you had responded on this blog. Thanks for responding to my post, i didnt actually think id get a direct response on here and wasnt looking for one but just thought id add my bit on my experiences!

    After making the above post, i was in contact with Hungryhouse via the help email address you specified and Felicity, the advisor again was very quick in responding and very nice and friendly. Felicity dealt with it at each point i contacted Hungryhouse. After i had informed her that i had again been in contact with the restaurant who had agreed to refund to Hungryhouse, she sated that i would received my full refund, which did appear back in my bank account later the same day i had advised Hungryhouse which was very quick but obviously because the payment wouldnt of actually gone through to the restaurant at that point anyway. However after i had stated i met the criteria she had specified, she said that the only criteria needed is that the restaurant gives their permission for a full refund to be given, which differs from you stating that it is policy to give a full refund if i had tried to contact the restaurant to resolve it. I noticed the restaurant was then not available for ordering on the site for a few days but has since continued service.

    But i am happy that i received my refund eventually. I then used my refund and contacted the restaurant directly that day and explained to them i understand that it was not their fault directly because of the police and that i would still use them, as i did not want bad relations with a restaurant i do use alot! I then placed exactly the same order but paid cash on delivery. I received the food in less than half the time it usually takes and it was piping hot, had no complaints whatsoever. This has made me feel slightly more that i should just call them and pay each time instead of using Hungryhouse. The £3.00 credit i had received was then used at another point ordering through Hungryhouse but from a different restaurant and this is the only time i have ordered that way since.

    I am still disappointed with what happened and feel it should have been rectified sooner, and after my first email which clearly stated i had contacted the restaurant etc, and feel that a refund was necessary and an offer of total replacement meal would of been more appropriate than less than half the cost in credit towards a meal, after all this would offer the customer a free meal to have a good experience to make up for it. If i am totally honest, i probably wouldnt of even made that post if i had got a refund and replacement meal at the time. But i am satisfied that i did not lose out on any money and may continue to use Hungryhouse still if a little less confidantly.

    I was also advised i can leave a review for the order, which i always do anyway and the advisor commented how majority of the restaurant reviews were good and so felt they should not be removed, however, alot of those reviews were mine, and if you actually read the comments about the restaurant from mine and other peoples reviews, they are 90% negative about food and delivery and wrong orders! I also recieved the email notification that my review was published, and followed the link to check but it was not there. I would not wish to see the restaurant removed as some problems are to be expected with such a late night delivery service and they did agree a refund, but as im sure you understand it was the experience and very slow resolution, or a the time no resoltuion and what i feel to be inadequate sevice and compensation from Hungryhouse that made things worse.

    I have not emailed the help address after reading your response as i have received the refund as stated, but my order reference number was 4243494 and the restaurant was Star Diner. I do not wish to post my full name publically but if you are not able to access the emails and details of the problem with that order number i am happy to help another way privately at the email address quoted in sending this post.

    Regards,

    Simon

  60. Simon says:

    Sorry for the incorrect spelling of your name inmy last post Graeme, that was not intentional!

  61. Daniel Meah says:

    Just-eat is the best, very easy ordering process clean interface. and good for beginers.

  62. mamunahmed says:

    Just wondering how is Hungry house doing without the dragons !

  63. Daragh says:

    Response to Rune Risom, COO with Just-Eat.

    You claim in regard to customer service that you believe Just-eat to be on par or perhaps even better than the rest. You claim your site provide our users with access to live chat order support, e-mail and phone.

    Have you used your own website?

    I placed an order on 27th July. It never arrived. I called the take-away who said they could not find the address. I called them FOUR times to give directions to what is an incredibly easy address to find. After two hours I discovered that their driver had just given up. Nobody told me. I used the live chat service you mentioned. Just-eay said I should contact the take away. I explained I had contacted the take away many times. They asked me to wait and wait and wait…. The person at Just-eat with whom I was ‘speaking’ could barely grasp English but managed to tell me I was being rude when I questioned why they were not answering my questions. I asked for a refund, which I told was processed and that I would have funds back in my account within 3-4 working days. The refund never came. I then emailed but got no response. Last Monday, 3/8/09 I contacted your customer services by phone. They said they had no record of my refund request or the email I had sent. I asked again for a refund and was told it was processed. Another week has passed and still no refund has been credited to my account. I am out of pocket for the phone calls I made to just-eat and the take-away, and STILL do not have a refund. If this so-called ‘customer service’ is “better than the rest” I’d hate to see how awful the others are….
    Have closed my account and will be passing the word to all those

  64. Sarah says:

    I use both hungry house and just eat, and had only once with each has there ever been a problem which were the fault of the takeaway places themselves than the sites. Both customer services on the sites are and were very helpful and solved the problems quickly and affectively. There are times when the takeaways blame the sites for problems, which the sites should not be blamed for…such as wrong items on menu (it’s up to the restaurants to ensure they update the sites of changes in menu), contact details (the sites always send the contact details of the customer and if the restaurant has a problem receiving details and such then they have a way to contact the sites to find them as well as confirm), opening times (same as menu, the restaurants need to ensure they update the site of changes), directions (I’m not sure how and why they think that would be the fault of these sites) and delivery time (same as directions).

  65. mastermenu says:

    My boss had a go on Dragons Den Online, Great for FREE PR!
    We started up this company whilst at Uni, http://www.the-master-menu.com we distribute over 300,000 Master Menu Brochures per year at over 10 Universities. UK’s best local takeaway menus online and offline serving Pizza, Indian, Thai, American and Chinese food with over 50000 orders; pay by credit card or cash

  66. Chris says:

    I think Hungry house and Meal2go are both really good. I used to order from the danish guys but I find Meal2go the best of them all however i have never had any problem with hungry house I just prefer Meal2Go's interface along with the quality of service.

    From what i read here I do not understand how Meal2go and Hungry house and other providers would have such complicated policies where the actual restaurants don't :).

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