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Meituan unveils food delivery brand in HK: How can industry players step up their game?

Meituan unveils food delivery brand in HK: How can industry players step up their game?

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Chinese food delivery group Meituan has introduced a new food delivery brand KeeTa in the Hong Kong market as part of its overseas expansion, in an effort to provide residents with more customised, efficient and reliable delivery services. 

Inspired by the renowned sprinter cheetah, KeeTa aims to become an exceptional and enduring on-demand delivery platform in the Hong Kong market, providing high-quality services with more efficiency and better user experience for Hong Kong residents.

Following the initial launch in Mong Kok and Tai Kok Tsui, the company expects KeeTa to complete full coverage of the Hong Kong market by the end of this year, according to the release. The KeeTa app is now available for download in major mobile app stores. Delivery services via KeeTa will start at 8am on 22 May.

As part of its initiative to elevate its customer experience, KeeTa has introduced a Meal for One programme customised for Hong Kong residents. It offers value-for-money set menus for individuals. Currently available set menus include Chinese, western and Japanese cuisines and beverages.

For merchants, the programme provides optimised online exposure without requiring additional advertising and traffic expenses. Promoting selected set menus also helps merchants with more efficient ingredient purchasing and meal preparation. Merchants can grow their overall profitability through greater order volumes.

Notable merchants that have joined KeeTa include brands such as McDonald's, Maxim's MX, KFC, Yoshinoya, Pacific Coffee, and food and beverage shops such as hana-musubi (華御結), Hung Fook Tong(鴻福堂), and CHICHA San Chen(吃茶三千). Each newly registered KeeTa user will receive a gift coupon package, including special meal offers and delivery fee reductions.

To further improve user experience, KeeTa has introduced an "On-time Promise" policy, which comes free of charge for all users. It includes a tiered compensation plan for late orders. Users are promised vouchers toward future purchases for eligible orders delivered more than 15 minutes beyond the original delivery estimate. For courier support, KeeTa is offering couriers multiple reward programmes, including incentives for on-time deliveries to improve performance.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to Meituan for more information. 

A Meituan spokesperson said:

We are seeing an accelerating development of the food delivery market in Hong Kong in the past few years and still unfilled market demands from diners, restaurants and couriers.

"KeeTa aims to meet users' demand for high-quality delivery services, help merchants grow their business, and provide more flexible and rewarding employment opportunities for couriers," the spokesperson added. 

What does it mean to other local food delivery platforms?

With the latest launch of KeeTa in the Hong Kong market, local competitors do not seem to see this as a threat. Rather, they treat this as a motivation for improvements. In a conversation with MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, foodpanda HK’s spokesperson said the company welcomes new players in the Hong Kong market as new entrants wishing to enter at this time reflects the untapped potential that food delivery services can offer to Hongkongers, and the existing opportunity for growth.

“As a leading delivery platform with over nine years of deep-rooted experience here in Hong Kong, we will continue to do our part as best we can, serving our customers diligently, and working hard to develop a sustainable ecosystem for our stakeholder community," the spokesperson added.

Meanwhile, Deliveroo HK's spokesperson said the company sees competition as a driving force for innovation as it has always been optimistic about the prospects of the local food and grocery industry. "It is encouraging to see new market players as the industry continues to grow, and we will stay committed to expanding our offerings of diverse and affordable options for our customers, while improving our services and initiatives to assist Deliveroo restaurants and grocery partners in expanding their business," the spokesperson added.

Recently, the platform has rolled out a series of promotional offers, such as trial subscription to Deliveroo Plus, discounts on pick-up orders, as well as a promo code on the next five orders upon spending $100 at selected restaurants, while more promotions will be rolled out in the coming months to bring about more surprises to local consumers, according to the spokesperson.

How can local industry players stand out amidst increasing competition? 

KeeTa’s introduction of a tailor-made app interface, culture-relevant service, localised content and its self-employed programme tailored to tackling the courier shortage issue in the region, has demonstrated the company's ambitions to fully localise to Hong Kong's unique eating culture. With new strong competitors entering the Hong Kong market, local food delivery platforms inevitably need to improve their strategies to step up their game.

On the agency front, Carmen Wu, head of market, Havas Media HK, said local delivery companies must differentiate themselves by offering various value propositions such as food delivery, online grocery, subscription meal boxes, and virtual kitchen services or beyond.

By leveraging innovative technology, these companies can deliver better customer solutions and create a competitive edge.

Implementing attractive manpower schemes can also help to attract industry talent and improve overall service quality, to earn the confidence of couriers, she added. "To remain competitive in the face of Meituan's expansion, local delivery companies must also continue to innovate and adapt, offering unique and valuable customer services and granting better follow-up from failed delivery orders," Wu said. 

Another area worth noting is that KeeTa’s “On-time Promise” policy is expected to overcome the biggest bugbear of most food delivery customers, hence enhancing its user experiences. “The delayed order, the lost order or the mysteriously cancelled order by the merchant will be history!  With the ‘On-time Promise’ policy, this will enhance the customer experience for food delivery customers,” said Kevin Kan, chief experience officer of Break Out Consulting Asia.

“I often get into arguments with my spouse as to whether I should personally go get take away or just order via food delivery.  I have to say that presently, food delivery service being delivered in the promised delivery window is ‘hit and miss’,” he added.  

If food delivery platforms can have a guaranteed delivery time, it is a good incentive and customer experience for food delivery customers, Kan added. 

This will give customers some level of security that their order will be delivered on time or close to on time. Thereby giving customers a good experience.

Agreeing with Kan was Nicky Lee, client service director, VMLY&R Commerce HK, who said the emergence of Meituan into the Hong Kong market might pose a few challenges to local players. For example, KeeTa's "On-time Promise" policy, which comes free of charge for all users, is quite attractive given the order punctuality is another main point for food delivery customers, he said. 

"Another feature of KeeTa that local players should pay attention to is its 'one-person meal delivery', which might hit the pain-point for most of the Hong Kong customers who eat alone. The existing players usually have a minimum charge for delivery (i.e. HK$100 to 120), which is hard for those who want to order alone," he added.  

While KeeTa's launch in Hong Kong might impact the local players, Lee believed that existing food delivery platforms such as foodpanda and Deliveroo will continue to rule the market in the short run due to higher level of brand awareness, customer loyalty and more exposure for local restaurants, which have already expanded to include groceries in addition to merely concentrating on meal delivery.

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Starbucks China jumps on Meituan to curate individual experiences for customers

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