Sherpa's was the first food delivery Shanghai service targeting the expat community and is still the best known. In recent years, however, more and more suppliers have established food delivery services in Shanghai
The most visible being eleme (饿了么) with its ubiquitous blue uniformed delivery staff buzzing around the city. The eleme app is one of the most widely used food delivery apps in Shanghai. Unfortunately they do not have an English language version.
But don’t fret, we give you a list of food delivery services in Shanghai with English service, including some healthy food delivery choices, at the end of this article.
Interview with Mark Secchia, founder and former owner of Sherpa's, the largest Shanghai Food Delivery service for expats, and a long-time Shanghai expat himself.
Q. When did you start your Shanghai Food Delivery service?
I wrote the business plan, raised the money and launched the business in a relatively short time – all in 1999.
Q. How many cities does Sherpa's now offer food delivery services in?
Three: Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing. Beijing is relatively new for us, we started our Chaoyang business last year. We were in Hangzhou briefly, but when we launched Beijing we needed to shift resources away from Hangzhou to focus on the growing business in Beijing.
Q. How many average food delivery Shanghai orders does Sherpa's make each day?
Around 1,500 deliveries.
Q. What hours do you deliver?
10:30am is when we start processing orders, and we take our last order at 10:30pm.
Q. How does a Shanghai Expat order food delivery Shanghai from Sherpa's?
The same way our Chinese customers do! They can call our hotline at 6209-6209, visit our website at www.sherpa.com.cn or use the Sherpa's Food Delivery iOS mobile app
Q. Many Shanghai restaurants had a tough time during the H7N9 Bird Flu outbreak in the spring of 2013. Did this affect your food delivery business in anyway?
The bird flu was an interesting time. We actually could not satisfy the demand for poultry that our customers had!
In a somewhat of a knee-jerk reaction, the Shanghai food authorities quickly cracked down on the poultry supply chain, and many restaurants were simply unable to procure fresh chicken. Many refused to serve chicken that had been frozen. Customers on the other hand didn't seem to shy away from eating chicken as much during that period.
For Sherpa's, SARS in 2002-2003 was an even more interesting time for food delivery Shanghai. The demand for Sherpa's was very high at that time, as many customers just didn't want to leave home.
The interesting part for us was hospitals. At that time we were serving mostly expats, many of who were in the hospital for non-SARS related reasons and our hospital deliveries went up greatly (I am guessing) because they felt they may contract SARS from the food there. But our food delivery Shanghai couriers didn't want to enter hospitals for fear of getting SARS. We had to sort out a lot of very creative solutions in order to get the food to the customer.
Q. How many years have you been an expat in Shanghai?
Q. What are some of your favorite Shanghai Resorts for weekend getaways; Moganshan?
You hit the nail on the head: Moganshan is a sure favorite! My wife and I have been going up there for almost 15 years now. I am getting ready to take our daughter camping at Dong Ji Island in two weeks, so maybe I'll add that as a future favorite.
Q. Is your family worried about the worsening Shanghai Air pollution?
Of course: aren't we all? Of particular concern to us is our couriers' health in Beijing. We sent a few of our couriers from Shanghai to Beijing to do some cross-training and they came back with sore throats and a new respect for Shanghai's (relatively) clean air.
Q. Have you used any of the local Shanghai hospitals
and Shanghai doctors? What do you think of
The Children's' hospital (ÉrTóng YīYuàn 儿童医院) on Beijing Lu has excellent doctors and facilities. However, if you do not like the triage-style care of the standard care section, you can skip that and go directly to the VIP section of the same hospital, which is a bit more expensive, but not too much more (and the insurance company pays the same percentages). The entrance is opposite, and a bit to the left of the main emergency room entrance.
But plan your visits wisely, for
first-time users you must check in during normal business hours. If you
have been before, they are available 24 hours, so it might be a good
idea to go first and register your child during the week, just in case.