These are exciting times for the emerging world of food and technology. Never before has it been so easy to not leave your couch and heat up a frying pan. You can simply grab your phone (if you weren't holding it already), open an app or browser and order a meal straight to your door. Simple!
Local businesses are revolutionising the way we dine and cook at home, with some prepping everything for you, sticking it in a box with recipes and all you have to do is cook it - no thinking, no shopping required.
Lazy cooks and busy office workers can rejoice over these 12 food delivery services that are making our lives a whole bunch easier.
Order In, across the country
Order in one was of the first online and app delivery services launched at the beginning of this technological food delivery race. They were founded in 2013, but have gained serious momentum in the last 2 years with a highly efficient and user-friendly website and app.
Order In don't inflate menu prices but rather charge a delivery fee, so there are no hidden costs. They deliver across the country, from a wide range of restaurants and also offer a pick-up option, if you'd rather collect your food yourself. Order here.
Uber Eats, across the country
Uber needs no introduction, their taxi service has accelerated beyond belief in South Africa, and the recently launched food delivery service will no doubt do the same. Just like the taxi service, Uber Eats is used on an app that can be downloaded for Android or iOS. The great thing is that Uber Eats is worldwide so if you're traveling abroad, you can order food in multiple cities with the same app you use at home (see where they operate on their website). There is a vast number of offerings, from fast food to gourmet and a whole array of cuisines to keep you tantalised.
Mr Delivery, across the country
Mr Delivery is the original. We all know that yellow, white and black logo with the chef who has served many a lazy Friday evening with the tastiest take-out. But that little chef has gone, and Mr Delivery has spruced up their entire image to make sure they remain at the forefront of SA's food delivery services. This involves an app and easy order-online service, both delivering in 53 areas across the country. Their new website is very user-friendly and explains everything you need to know before you order from Mr D. They offer over 1000 restaurants and take-aways to order from, from the new hip spot in town to big franchise restaurants you know and love.
Oishi, Cape Town
A Cape Town-based sushi delivery service that delivers stylishly assembled and packaged sushi straight to your door. Oishi reaffirms that ordering-in does not have to be a slobby affair, but can be sophisticated and chic. Order your sushi online and choose from classic maki, to designer California rolls and sashimi salads, all of which arrive in pristine packaging, which require no plates, or mess. They currently deliver to the City Bowl and Claremont.
Monks, Cape Town
Chinese fast food in South Africa has often had a bit of a bad rap with poor quality and its association with junk food, but Monks swooped in a few years ago to cull these ideas quicker than stir-fried bok choy. Order directly from their website and have authentic Chinese dishes delivered to your door. Enjoy dishes like sweet and sour chicken, sweet crispy beef, shredded pork with garlic chilli and ginger and kingklip with peanuts and dried chilli. They deliver to the City Bowl, Atlantic Seaboard (except Hout Bay) and parts of the Southern Suburbs.
Now Now, Cape Town but coming soon to Johannesburg
Woolworths' latest enigmatic campaign, Now Now actually showcases their new café and not a new clothing line as I initially thought. Another black and yellow coloured brand is here to fulfill your food needs, now now, but in an entirely different way. Woolworths has launched its first café of convenience in Cape Town where you order food via the the Now Now app, choose the time you want to collect it, pay via the app, and pick it up! Those familiar with Woolworths' previous To-Go shop will recognise some similarities in the food, with salads, wraps and mash pots, but now there's the addition of burgers and warm bowls. Dishes have been totally reinvented offering exciting, healthy and value-for-money meals.
Yumbi, across the country
Yumbi is another online food delivery service where you order and pay via their website. They serve areas across the country including Limpopo, North West and the Free State. How it works is you type in your address, and Yumbi will list places that are available for you to order from. They stick to fast food joints like Debonaires and Steers and you have the option of delivery or collection.
Appetite, mainly Johannesburg and Durban
The appropriately named food delivery business, Appetite, opens up to an energetic and catchy website with their tagline 'don't let hunger consume you'. If you weren't hungry before, you probably will be after seeing the header image of golden fries and crispy hake goujons. In a nutshell they are 'the app that orders your take-away'. The app can be downloaded on both Android and Apple app stores. They operate mainly in Johannesburg, with a few restaurants scattered around other parts of the country - you can see the map here. They invite you to submit restaurants that you would like to see added to the map.
Daily Dish, across the country
Daily Dish was one of the first of its kind in to start in South Africa, revolutionising cooking at home and eliminating the 'supermarket schlepp'. For many people, Daily Dish is a dream come true. They deliver ingredients right to your door, with menus and recipes set out for the work week (4 nights), so that you have home cooked food every night without having to come up with dinner ideas or do any grocery shopping. It's ideal for nine-to-fivers who can come home and prepare a quick and easy meal that has been tailored to suit dietary requirements. Daily Dish operates in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal. They also offer wine boxes along with their dinner boxes and include sizes for 1, 2 or 4 people.
Pantry Box, main metropolises
Pantry Box creates a customised food delivery box filled with ingredients for families or individuals to cook at home. You can choose between portion sizes of 1, 2, 4 or 6 which include various dietary specifications like LCHF, wheat-free and vegetarian. The meal options also include breakfast and dessert and a special themed dinner party food box, currently holding a Brazilian Braai theme. They offer free delivery for Gauteng and a R150 delivery fee for Cape Town, Durban and PE. They are currently on a short break tweaking their meal service so keep an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
UCook, Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and some other smaller areas.
UCook, is another home-cooking food delivery service delivering ingredients to your door. They offer 3 meals per week either for 1, 2 or 4 people with culinary categories of low carb, vegetarian and rustic. The menu changes weekly and features tasty, modern and creative dishes to make sure that eating-in is never the slightest bit dull. They are also committed to policies of ethics and sustainability with their chosen suppliers. Currently the menu features bun-less hoison ostrich burger with sweet potato wedges and apricot and ginger-glazed chicken. See the full menu here.
The Flying Pan, Cape Town
The Flying Pan takes food delivery one-step further, by serving customers homey and well-balanced ready-made meals, without the bad stuff that goes into those TV dinner at big supermarkets. You simply choose meals from their website, place your order, pay, and reheat at lunch or dinner time. The meals are made on the day of delivery and are delivered between 10am and 3pm to your office or home. Payment is really easy as you can pay online or on delivery with cash or SnapScan. The meal categories include low carb, vegetarian and classic with dishes like coconut pork noodles, spinach and feta stuffed mushrooms and tomato and chorizo with sauteed veg.
(Note the deliveries may not service smaller towns, so check with the delivery service directly, via the websites linked above).
Tell us about your experiences with these food delivery services in the comments section below, or if you have any suggestions for other ones like them.