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Foodpanda blows up business by tweeting vow to help police hunt down protesting driver

What food delivery giant Foodpanda did Sunday may end up being an example in business-school textbooks of how to blow up your business in 280 characters.

Thousands of Thais today are trying to delete their accounts after a hot-headed Panda vowed to fire and sick police on a driver taking part in July 18’s anti-government protests.

As the news showed young adults protesting the government’s inept coronavirus management being stung with rubber bullets, water cannons and tear gas  Foodpanda’s Twitter account castigated a driver who appeared to have delivered an order to the protests.

The company’s official account vowed that the driver would be not only terminated, but called his act “terrorism” and promised to work with authorities to track down and prosecute him.

Netizens responded with fury, posting photos of them deleting their accounts and sharing memes declaring the brand dead. Some restaurants, too, decided to drop the food app, which already is under withering criticism for its sky-high commissions.

“You will lose at least B6,000 baht per day from each of our branches,” the owner of Yang Hai restaurants wrote on its Facebook page. “With all of my 300 branches, you can do all the math!”

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.

Faced with a sudden torrent of users and vendors fleeing the platform, Foodpanda’s app suddenly went offline, supposedly for “system maintenance”, leaving people unable to delete their accounts.

Late Sunday, Foodpanda issued a statement apologizing for its “hasty response.” The platform apologized for any disappointment over its blunder of a tweet, but the damage has been done.