Ordering meals online is becoming more and more popular, and industry insiders are excited about the potential of this kind of service in China.
You can get almost whatever you want to eat at any time just with a click on your phone.
A local in Beijing surnamed Chen says he is a loyal customer of online ordering.
"I basically order take-out online once or twice a week, mostly on weekend when I want to take a little rest. Now ordering food is more common than before. We can see both the price and menu from the internet. With online menu, we can clearly know what we are ordering. And by paying with master card, I don't need to worry about changes."
Currently, internet giant Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent all participate in this business, which is known as online to offline catering.
To make food delivered faster, a special delivery team is usually set up by the internet companies.
The delivery staff are deployed in different districts of a city so that they can move quickly once they receive an order.
Consumers can also follow the order through the internet.
Meanwhile, some companies also present discounts to attract more customers.
A staffer from Baidu Takeaway, surnamed Zhu, says O2O catering service has great potential in China.
"Now the Chinese take-out market only takes up 6 percent of the total food and restaurant business in China. This is far behind the 30 percent target reached in some developed countries. However, China's take-out business has great potential, especially when it comes to online ordering. Ten percent of all the take-order is made online, which ranks only after Britain, Germany and France."
Statistics from Enfodesk, a provider of information products, services and solutions in the Chinese internet market, show the volume of O2O catering surged quickly last year, reaching 15 billion Yuan, or 2.3 billion U.S. dollars.
Most of the customers are students and white-collar workers born in the 1980s and 1990s.
Lu Zhenxi, an E-commerce observer, says there is more at stake here than just convenient food orders.
" It is a big market closely linked to the online payment sector, which may later develop into internet financing. So the online ordering business can inspire many other business opportunities."
However, food safety is a concern with O2O catering. Some internet companies are looking for solutions, such as seeking consumer complaints, cooperating with insurance companies for food insurance business, and so on.