GrabFood is now available in Malaysia but you wouldn’t want to use it yet

The whole Grab-Uber takeover felt a lot like a bad divorce. Where there was once balance, there is only chaos for everyone left behind. It didn’t matter if you were a driver, rider or couch potato looking to have food delivered to your doorstep — as long as you used one of their services, you would have felt the repercussions.

While the transition was supposed to be smooth, the handful of drivers and riders I’ve spoken to seems to feel otherwise. But, I’m not here to talk about “word on the street”. No, today is about a service that we actually use a lot in the office: UberEats. Or rather, the service that will eventually replace it. It’s called GrabFood and here are our first impressions.

Yesterday, we found out that the GrabFood app is already live and can be downloaded on both Android and iOS platforms. Curious, we decided to give it a try so we could get a rough idea what GrabFood will have in store for us.

First off, you should know that it is currently only available in Mont Kiara, Bangsar, Damansara Heights and Sri Hartamas. However, it is worth noting that our office isn’t really in any of these locations but we’re fairly close to Bangsar and Bangsar South/Kerinchi area so we could order food through the app too.

That said, restaurant choices were limited on our end, with only three to four restaurants available for use to choose from. Obviously, GrabFood is still new so they won’t have such an extensive catalogue right from the get go and you can expect this list to grow over time.

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As far as the app is concerned, one of the first things we noticed was the fact that the app on iOS looks very different from the app on Android. The iOS app looks much cleaner and more modern while the Android app feels less polished. Still, they both seem to function about the same so I won’t dwell on the differences too much.

Unfortunately, the GrabFood app still suffers from something I call “beta syndrome” where a lot of things feel very incomplete. Many food entries don’t have photos, for example, and those that do seem to have very pixelated images that have been stretched into a weird aspect ratio. The food category selection also doesn’t work at this point in time so you’ll have to go through individual shops themselves and look for the food you want.

Once you’ve ordered what you want, payment can be done in several ways. Unlike UberEats, which only accepted card payments, GrabFood also accepts GrabPay mobile wallet credit in addition to card payments. However, if you’ve already got your card set up in the Grab app, it will default to that. We couldn’t find a way to switch payment options back to the GrabPay mobile wallet.

When you’ve paid for your order, you can then track the progress of your meal and they’ll even have a little motorcycle icon on the map and details about your delivery person displayed, similar to UberEats. However, it isn’t as detailed as UberEats because GrabFood doesn’t display the delivery person’s number plate and vehicle make/model.

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After that, everything’s about the same. The only peculiarity we ran into was when our delivery person told us that he couldn’t see our office’s exact address on his application despite the fact that we did put it into our GrabFood app. We’re not sure if he just doesn’t know where to look at or if there was a bug with the system, but it’s something we thought you should know in case any delivery complications come up.

Nevertheless, the final thing we noticed during our informal test was GrabFood’s rating system. On UberEats, you get the option to rate the restaurant, the delivery person, and each individual order that you made. In GrabFood, you can only rate the restaurant and the delivery person. It’s a small thing, but it can make a difference if you received a particularly bad individual dish.

And that’s about it for our first impressions with the GrabFood app. Our verdict right now is that the GrabFood app still needs a lot of work if their goal is to give us a similar experience as UberEats. Particularly troubling is the limited selection of restaurant options currently available on the platform.

Everything feels very incomplete at this moment but I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised since the app is still very new and a lot of the issues we have with it can be fixed over time and with software updates.

However, that’s also a big problem with the app. It took a while for UberEats to break out of their “beta syndrome” and now that it finally has, we have to abandon it for another app that suffers from the same issues we thought we already left behind. Right now, it feels like Grab’s throwing us back into the dark days of beta hell and that’s not something people like to experience.

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The good news is that at least the UberEats app will continue to run until the end of May so we don’t have to jump over just yet. In fact, I’d recommend that you stick to the UberEats app for now because you’re getting a much bigger variety of restaurants to choose from and a better app experience overall.

I do hope Grab works out the kinks with GrabFood in the two weeks before UberEats gets disabled. Because, if GrabFood is still in this state by the time they kill UberEats, we’ll be sorely disappointed.