How to use Meituan Takeout 美团外卖



The food delivery market in China is dominated by two main platforms – Alibaba-backed Eleme 饿了么 and Tencent-backed Meituan Takeout 美团外卖, which we’ll be looking at today.

Part of Meituan Dianping 美团点评 – a ‘lifestyle service provider’ offering everything from food delivery to sharebikes to cinema tickets – the service is recognisable by its kangaroo logo and yellow-garbed drivers.

Payment is primarily made via WeChat so you’ll need WeChat Pay to place orders. A phone number can be used to set up your account.

First Look

Let’s take a look at the app’s homepage.

Meituan Homepage

The location icon and text (1) is the address I want to deliver to. Click on this to choose an address, or add a new one. The Chinese-readers amongst you will notice mine is set to ‘public toilet’ – the joys of hutong living sometimes require creative choices for delivery points.

Then we have our search bar (2) followed by icons (3) representing different categories of good and services that can be browsed and ordered.

The four icons at the bottom (4) represent the main areas of the app – home, members area, order history and my account.

Searching

Let’s start by trying the search function. While some businesses offer roman-character listings, the majority of the app is in Chinese. Non-Chinese readers will need to copy and paste the characters needed from another app.

You can search by the name of a restaurant/shop or by the food/product you are looking for.

Here’s an example of a search for 炸鸡 (fried chicken).

Meituan Search

Beneath the search bar we have search filters and results ordering (1) followed by the results (2). There’s also a shopping cart (3), where you’ll find that McDonald’s you started ordering at midnight, only to remember your diet last minute and quickly close the app.

Browsing

You can also use the icons on the homepage to browse stores.

I’ve clicked on the first icon ‘delicious food’ 美食.

Meituan Browse

At the top of the page we have a search bar and icons for popular food categories (1) followed by filters and results ordering (2).

We then have the results listed (3) as restaurant names. The default ordering is ‘intelligent sort’ which usually prioritises both what you have ordered recently and your current location.

Business Listings

Here’s what we see when we click on a result.

Meituan Listing

The top of the page (1) includes some information about the store – including the expected delivery time and available coupons.

The three main options (2) below are menu, reviews and store info.

And the menu follows (3) with most restaurants and shops opting to sort food into categories (seen here on the left).

Items you select from the menu are added to your shopping cart (4), with the final yellow button taking you on to order placement and delivery.

Payment & Delivery

Click that yellow button and here’s the next page.

Meituan Order

At the top of the page we can choose the delivery location (1) and time (2), which will default to your the last address used and asap respectively. Not all businesses offer pre-booked deliveries, but for those that do it’s incredibly useful to pre-book lunch or dinner if you’re on a tight schedule.

Double check your order (3) then check to see if there are any available discounts or hongbaos (4) (we’ll cover those in another guide).

Finally you can check the total cost and click the yellow button to proceed to payment.

Meituan Payment

There are multiple payment options (1) including Meituan’s own payment system, but you’ll most likely be opting for WeChat Pay. Click the yellow button (2) to jump to WeChat pay and complete your order.

Once you’ve paid you’ll be able to watch your delivery in real-time.

Meituan Delivery

A map (1) shows your location, the store’s location and the driver. You can also see the distance and rough time left on the delivery.

At the top right we have two buttons (2) – the first is refresh, the second is customer service.

At the end of the page are three further options (3) – apply for refund, online contact and change address/telephone. Online contact is useful if you need to talk to the driver or store in the case of delivery problems.

Just before arriving, your driver will usually call you. If your spoken Chinese is poor one useful phrase to memorise is 你到了吗? (Nǐ dào le ma?) – Have you arrived?

Final Thoughts

And that’s that for ordering takeout through Meituan. You will be prompted to leave a review for both the driver and store after the order is completed – remember that these drivers work hard and earn bonuses based on quick deliveries and good service, so it’s always nice to give a 5-star rating if you’re satisfied.

How to use Da Zhong Dian Ping 大众点评



Locals and foreigners alike will spend hours sounding the praise of WeChat and preaching the pros of Taobao, but one app seldom mentioned despite its insane functionality is Da Zhong Dian Ping.

If WeChat is WhatsApp on steroids, Dianping might be the same for TripAdvisor. At first glance it seems like your run-of-the-mill ratings and reviews app (note the literal translation of the name ‘comments of the masses’) but Dianping offers so much more – from booking tourist attractions to buying cinema tickets to finding ridiculous dining discounts, its functions outweigh those of any non-Chinese app in the field. If this is your first time using the app, you’ll likely want to set up an account –you’ll just need a Chinese phone number to do this. WeChat pay can be used for in-app purchases.

First Look

Here’s a look at the app’s homepage.

Dianping homepage

Choose your city on the top left (1) – automatic if GPS permissions are enabled. Listings are city-specific, so you’ll need to change this if you’re traveling.

Next to this is a search bar (2), where (using both Chinese and English, but usually the former) we can find just about anything.

The icons (3) represent different categories of business – some are easy to guess from the pictures for non-Chinese readers.

Underneath that (4) we have deals, offers and snapshots of what’s going on.

And at the bottom of the page (5) are the app’s 4 main areas – home, goods, following and my account.

Searching

Let’s start by trying the search function. While some businesses have roman-character names listed, the majority are in Chinese only, so for non-Chinese speakers copy and paste the characters you need from another app.

You can search by the exact name of a business, you can do a general search for something you are looking for (fried chicken, farmer’s market, art store) and if you search by certain characteristics you might get results too (try searching 露台 (‘terrace’) for bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas).

Here’s an example of a search for 咖啡厅 (café).

Dianping Search

We can further filter by what we are looking for (1) (2) (3) – price, location, type of business, etc.

There are a few quick filters (3) related to our search – the first few displayed here are ‘internet café’, ‘handmade coffee’ and ‘bookstore café’.

Then we have our results (4). You can see the name, rating, location/distance and some comments about the place.

Finally, look to the little map icon (5) to see the results geographically.

Browsing

If I don’t want to search, or maybe I’m not sure what I want, I can use the icons we saw in that first screenshot to browse.

Dianping Browse

I clicked on the first icon ‘food’. You can see (1) I have put filters down for location 三里屯 (Sanlitun) and cuisine 烤肉 (barbecue). You can filter based on neighbourhoods, subway stations and distance from current location. You can choose from a huge variety of cuisines, or leave it blank if you’re not sure what you fancy.

Just like when we used the search function, we can also see the results against a map (2).

Business Listings

Here’s what we see when we click on the first result on the list.

Dianping Listing

The buttons at the top (1) let us ‘star’ (save to a favourites list) or share the listing – useful for sending to friends on WeChat.

All the useful information about the business follows (2)(3). Name, rating, average price, etc. We can check opening hours and the exact location (3) – click on either for more details.

The little kangaroo (4) tells us that this business offers delivery – click this and start ordering coffee, just like using the Meituan delivery app.

And the options below (5) allow us to jump to different useful parts of the listing – discounts, dishes, reviews and other recommendations.

Useful Features

One feature I absolutely love about this app is the discounts.

Dianping Discounts

While some of these are the same as what you would be offered as any walk-in customer, some are specials for Dianping users and need to be purchased using the app before you pay the bill. The app will generate a QR code for the deal which your fuwuyuan can then scan. If you find yourself in a new eatery, it’s often worth checking the Dianping listing for discounts before you pay – you might get lucky and find your croissant is half price today.

Another really useful feature is the image gallery.

Dianping Images

You can filter by 4 options – all, environment, food and (my personal favourite) price list. Here we can see pictures of anything with text – notably the menu and customers’ receipts. Great if you need to check for vegetarian options, get an idea of how much you are going to spend or just salivate over tonight’s dinner options.

Other Types of Business

This guide has been largely restaurant-focused so far, but we can use the app to find just about any type of business. Here is the page for Chaoyang Park, I can click the orange button to buy tickets – I just need to scan my QR code on the gate. For this particular park I can also purchase kayak and paddle board hire.

Dianping Other

I can plan travel and book hotel rooms, just click on the homepage icon 酒店/门票 and filter by date and location.

I can book cinema or theatre tickets by clicking the 电影/演出 icon – this launches 猫眼电影 (Maoyan Dianying), the movie-ticketing service. You can also watch movie trailers, check showing times and pre-order your popcorn.

I’ve found some of the best discounts are on health and beauty options, such as spa packages, manicures and acupuncture – which can also be booked through the app.

It would take a guide a hundred times this size to go through every feature, but hopefully this gives you a general idea of what the app is used for and why I love it. Go away and try it for yourself.