FOODPANDA FACING BIG USER AND MERCHANT BACKLASH AFTER TERRORIST COMMENT

Foodpanda Thailand, owned by Germany-based Delivery Hero, has seen over two million users and 90,000 merchants quit its platform after the company said it would fire a rider who participated in the country’s pro-democracy movement, according to a report by The Ken, which cited a technology industry executive aware of the matter.

FOODPANDA FACING BIG USER AND MERCHANT BACKLASH AFTER TERRORIST COMMENT

While the company didn’t deny that it faced backlash from the social media issue, it said that the figures mentioned in The Ken report were inflated.  “We have not put out any figures, so any reference or figures you might see are market speculation and many times inflated from our actual figures,” a Foodpanda spokesperson told Tech in Asia.

The company had labeled one of its delivery drivers a “terrorist” after he was seen on video trying to set fire to an image of Thailand’s King at a pro-democracy protest.

In another clip, the delivery man was seen driving off on a motorcycle with a woman. The vehicle had a thermal bag with a Foodpanda logo attached to its saddle

The company’s actions triggered a Twitter campaign to boycott Foodpanda in Thailand, hitting over 1.2 million mentions despite the food delivery firm issuing an apology to its users.  #BanFoodpanda has been one of the most trending hashtags in Southeast Asia.

“We know this has hugely affected and frustrated customers, riders, partners, and members of the public, and we are taking responsibility for this comment that was posted on our Twitter feed, regardless of who posted it and how it occurred,” Foodpanda Thailand said in a statement.

The company has investigated the incident and has also implemented solutions that will fix its social media response processes, the Foodpanda spokesperson told Tech in Asia, adding that the Foodpanda team is also working together with its Thai crew to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

“It’s been a difficult week for everyone, but Foodpanda’s long-term mission of supporting our community of riders and restaurants and to serve our customers does not change. Foodpanda Thailand has been around for almost 10 years, and we hope our customers will give us a second chance,” the spokesperson said.

However, restaurants in Thailand including Mini Bear, Roastery at Home, and Kinmon Salmon BKK, among others, have already announced the withdrawal of their partnership with Foodpanda.

In Thailand, Foodpanda competes with GrabFood, which contributed to nearly half of Southeast Asia’s food delivery gross merchandize value in 2020, according to a Momentum Works report.