We tried Ketings, the Sydney service which delivers almost anything on demand, but there's room to improve

On-demand delivery startup services are going nuts in Sydney but, as we found out the hard way recently, some aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

One Friday a couple of weeks ago, the Business Insider team wanted burgers delivered to the office as a Friday treat. It was raining and miserable outside and no one wanted to walk up to Chur Burger and get them.

Luckily, we’d heard of this service which, if you send them a text message, they will deliver almost anything in Sydney’s CBD — as long as it’s legal.

It’s called Ketings and it promises if you text 0409 777 917 that you can get “anything you want, on demand, without hassle”.

So we sent over our request to see what they could wrangle up for us at 12.26pm.

Not hearing anything back immediately, we sent another message.

It wasn’t until 12.31 that we got our first response, by which time we probably could’ve walked half way to the burger joint up the road.

It took us 4 minutes to confirm the orders and send a text back.

Then the waiting begun.

At 12.55pm we got a text saying they would get back to us in another 5 minutes. By now we could’ve braved the rain and started eating our burgers.

So that’s what we ended up doing.

It was only then that we got a pretty quick response.

Shame. Although the burgers, which we got from Bridge Street Garage, were the messy, yummy lunch we’d been hanging out for. It was packed and the guy forgot one of our chips (it just wasn’t our day). But when we let him know, he threw in a popcorn, apologised and sent us on our way. They were under the pump, but had time to rectify the situation in a delightful way.

Now there’s a lesson in all of this for startups. Sure, it’s fantastic so many people are getting out there and having a go, but delivering a smooth user experience that keeps customers coming back for more ensures you start benefiting from the magic of recurring revenue.

No matter the chaos that might be going on behind the scenes, delivering what you promise will be the difference between a startup that sky rockets and a flop.

Giving Ketings another chance the following Friday, we wanted Neil Perry’s Burger Project from World Square delivered to Circular Quay.

Learning our lesson from last time, we messaged a little earlier, just after 11am, to get in before the lunch time rush. Because the service couldn’t accommodate our previous order we had free delivery which arrived at the office at about 12.30pm – and the burgers were still hot.

But because the delivery was free, we thought out of fairness we should give Ketings one last go. This time it was Koko Black dark chocolate from the QVB building. The $10 delivery fee seemed reasonable, as far as courier services go, but a little too much for an afternoon sugar hit, so we declined and saved both the money and the calories.

The verdict: If you want something bad enough and can’t be bothered to get it yourself, it’s a decent service, but in its startup phase, capacity seems limited, so don’t rely on it during the obvious peak times like a rainy Friday lunch. Also – if it’s a group of people, then the delivery charge is much smoother to swallow, but it still has to compete with CBD food outlets who offer free delivery, so you’d want to use it for those who don’t.

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