It’s the golden age of food delivery. From groceries and DIY meal kits to full-blown family feasts, we have never had more options for at-home dining than we do now—thanks in part to pandemic-induced lockdowns that had food businesses temporarily closing their doors and turning to other methods of getting their offerings to their customers.
Thankfully for restaurants and diners alike, food delivery platforms like foodpanda have been able to bridge this gap, allowing the near-15,000 vendors in their repertoire to efficiently reach our tables. Delivery has now become an avenue of support for local food businesses in a time of struggle, or a means to show friends and family that you are thinking of them from a safe distance.
While most food establishments are able to prepare their dishes for delivery the same way they would for dine in, gourmet restaurants have had to carefully reconsider their process to ensure that the travel time does not compromise the premium quality of their product.
Michelin-starred Italian restaurant Garibaldi, for instance, now has an influx of delivery orders coming in daily. Known for his elevated take on traditional Italian cuisine, head chef Roberto Galetti has led his team in adapting to this new way of serving food. To guarantee that they live up to the exceptional dining experience expected of an establishment like Garibaldi, they have spent long hours in the kitchen, testing out new methods and getting delivery food preparation down to a science.
According to chef Galetti, foodpanda has played a crucial role in the process. As experts in the food delivery industry, the platform and its delivery partners know what it takes to uphold quality food experiences. Here, chef Galetti shares with Vogue how Garibaldi has managed to adjust to food delivery with the help of their delivery partner foodpanda—and why he thinks it’s the future.
How would you describe the food and dining experience at Garibaldi?
To me, Garibaldi is a safe place—one where there is no room for disappointment, where standards are met and maintained. It is a place that you can take your guests to celebrate, or your business clients to entertain. Many chefs take themselves to an extreme to make people essentially ‘fall off their seats’, but I believe in simplicity. For example, a dish of Fettuccine Pomodoro (Fettuccine in Fresh Tomato Sauce) is always highly fulfilling despite its simple nature, sometimes even more so than other more complicated dishes. Our cooking style is ultimately about taking tradition and producing it at its highest quality. Especially since we have a Michelin star, we should not leave traditional flavours behind. Instead, our focus has been on flexibility and hospitality, like including a variety of menu options that diners can mix and match from.
How has the food world changed today as compared to when you first started out?
Food has become more intricate and refined as the world has become more educated. Considering the way travel has evolved—becoming much easier and more available to a greater number of people—knowledge of food has also improved. As a chef, you must be able to follow food trends and make your food worthwhile.
Have you observed a growing trend towards diners opting for food delivery rather than dine in at your restaurant?
We always have demand for delivery! That’s why we are still continuing with deliveries even though we have opened our doors for dine in again. Pre-pandemic, delivery was not something I had considered—but in the middle of a crisis, many restaurants didn’t have a choice but to opt for delivery. Once we were exposed to the new normal, we started to realise that it isn’t so bad. Your customers can stay home with no need to get dressed fancy, and sometimes, they appreciate that more. Because of its comfort and ease, delivery is now not only considered an acceptable option, but sometimes a preferred one.
Is there a difference between the way you prepare food for delivery and for dining in?
To maintain similar standards between dine in and delivery, we have made several adjustments to our cooking process, timing and presentation. The pasta we send out for delivery is cooked for a shorter duration to prevent overcooking, since the boxes maintain heat and therefore continue to cook the dish. The sauces have also been adjusted, and we spent a long time trying to find the most suitable cooking method. We have also invested in packaging that allows hermetic sealing of the food to keep it warm over longer journeys.
As for the dining experience, we cannot interact with our customers as much as we would like to during delivery, so we have tried to personalise the experience by sending them messages and asking if they enjoyed their food. Sometimes, customers tag us on Instagram or other social channels and we also try to maintain a connection through that.
Are there certain types of food better suited for delivery than others?
Definitely. There are some dishes that can’t travel. Fried dishes, for example, can’t keep their ‘crunch’, so we avoid putting them on our delivery menu. Instead, we focus on dishes that can keep their quality during delivery with a few extra steps on our part. For example, we send our pasta out in a box that separates it from the sauce, allowing it to maintain its texture till it reaches the dinner table.
If diners had to pick one dish to have delivered from Garibaldi, what would you advise them to choose?
I would definitely recommend our Cold Angel Hair with Fresh Sea Urchin, Hokkaido Scallops and Caviar as it is a particularly well-presented and delivery-perfected dish. Thanks to our adapted techniques and special packaging, we have found a way to keep the dish in perfect condition even up to an hour later.
How has your experience as a foodpanda delivery partner been?
Our partnership with foodpanda has been valuable in enabling us to reach customers we would otherwise not be able to. The technology, marketing and logistical efforts put in place by foodpanda has helped us create a greater value for our clients, making it easier for them to find our food and have it reach them quickly.
Foodpanda has also facilitated the delivery process—riders are always cautious and treat the food as precious items. They keep everything in their thermal bags, and carefully separate cold and hot dishes. These are practices that go a long way.
On your day off, is there a dish from a different restaurant you would personally order on foodpanda?
I would personally recommend Japanese fare from Sakuraya. Delivery is quick and the food is fresh. I order this often on my day off!