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Muscat: With restaurants unable to serve food in their premises and open only for take away, food apps like Talabat and Oman’s locally developed Akeed have become household names across Oman.

Due to the ease of finding a meal of choice these apps have become the much preferred choice of many.

“There must be a visible increase in the number of users of both the apps, namely Talabat and Akeed, going by the number of downloads of these applications.” Abdul Latif Al Balushi, a student of Modern College of Business and Science, who is a regular user of both the apps says. “I am a drive thru customer of most of fast-food joints in and around the capital. But now I prefer to get the food delivered home due to the situation around and I don’t want to venture outside due to this pandemic spread.”

While customers prefer the food apps, restaurateurs do not quite prefer it that way. Teddy Mathew, Operations Manager of Chatni, an Indian cuisine restaurant says that there certainly has been an uptick in the volume of business done through the apps. With free delivery and a range of snacks and Indian delicacies, Chatni is featured in the early listings of Talabat. “It is a matter of being in the run till the pandemic tides over or at least till a remedy is found. We have built a steady base of patrons, who call our restaurant directly for home deliveries or takeaway orders. We prefer the customers call us directly as we can save on the charges that we pay to the apps for their service and more so since we have delivery vehicles and staff for the purpose.”

The apps have given rise to newer users who were hitherto unknown to food apps. The typical users of such apps in Oman are the youth, both Omani and expatriates, with the former outnumbering the latter. But now there are more expatriates and that too in a different age range that are downloading the app. Aman Saurabh of Begum, a popular Mughalai restaurant in Muscat, says that his restaurant had a very good sale of special food during Eid Al Fitr and Ramadan. “Our Omani customers on the Akeed platform love the chicken tikka biriyani and mutton tikka biriyani that got sold off like hot cakes, as also our variety pakodas and samosas. While the conventional business is slow and reduced, it is picking up slowly on a different platform.” Sourabh says.