Food delivery app Foodpanda found itself in hot water with consumers yesterday after the company suggested it would fire employees who take part in pro-democracy protests.
With emotions running high across Bangkok, as images of protestors being met with rubber bullets, water cannons, and tear gas emerged on social media—with many noting the irony of official forces responding faster and more efficiently to the protests than the recent chemical fires or even Covid-19—Foodpanda responded to a tweet, castigating one driver who appeared to have delivered an order to the protests. In a tweet, the brand said the driver would be let go immediately in accordance with company policies against violence and terrorism.
Netizens were quick to cancel Foodpanda. Some posted photos of them deleting their accounts. Others shared memes declaring the brand dead.
Amid the torrent of angry tweets, Facebook comments, and memes, some restaurants decided to ditch the app, too.
The owner of Yang Hai, which has more than 300 branches nationwide, said the restaurant would stop using the service. “You will lose at least B6,000 per day [from each venue]. With all of my 300 branches, you can do all the math,” the brand wrote on its Facebook page.
The University of the Chamber of Commerce branch of Isaan restaurant Tum Yum Your directed users to competing apps Gojek, Grab, Lineman, and Robinhood.
Foodpanda representatives could not be immediately reached for comment.
Foodpanda has previously elicited criticism from partner venues for high commission fees, delayed payments to vendors, and, in at least one case, surprise bills through its “Panda Clicks” program.
During the pandemic, which has decimated the restaurant industry, that criticism has amplified as competitors such as Robinhood have entered the fold, offering similar services but without the same high fees for partners—and, occasionally, users.
Late last night, Foodpanda issued a statement apologizing for its “hasty response.” The brand went on to apologize for any disappointment its earlier statement may have caused its restaurant partners and customers and vowed to further probe the situation.