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Instacart's platform now takes online catering orders directly

Grocers offering Instacart delivery service now can also field high-margin catering orders online from customers via the Instacart App.

San Francisco-based Instacart said yesterday it has integrated the FoodStorm order management system (OMS), acquired last fall, into its app. The setup further extends Instacart’s Carrot Order Ahead solution, which involves a variety of fulfillment options, including next-day or scheduled-in-advance delivery and pickup. Customers can order grocery items — such as beverages, paperware or side dishes — directly with their catering order for a single delivery.

“Historically, ordering ahead from the grocery store is labor-intensive — often using paper tickets or other manual systems — and inefficient for both retailers and customers,” Jeanette Barlow, vice president of product at Instacart, said in a statement. “By connecting FoodStorm OMS with the Instacart App, we’re able to help grocers meet catering demand by offering a comprehensive, omnichannel experience for customers using Carrot Order Ahead and scale the reach of a highly profitable part of their business.”

Instacart App-online catering orders-FoodStorm.jpgWith the integrated FoodStorm functionality in the Instacart App, customers also can add grocery items to their catering order for one delivery. (Image courtesy of Instacart)

Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, a 10-store supermarket chain based in Farmingdale, N.Y., marks the first grocer to directly connect its FoodStorm OMS directly with its Instacart App storefront. Known for its extensive prepared foods and fresh bakery offerings, Uncle Giuseppe’s now can allow customers across New York and New Jersey to place catering orders online, while streamlining the process for store associates to manage orders.

“Instacart Platform technology has helped more customers discover our catering selection, resulting in incremental sales for this important part of our business,” according to Russell McVeigh, catering director at Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace. “The Instacart App and FoodStorm OMS have both been important to supporting our e-commerce business. During the busy holiday season, when catering and prepared foods are in peak demand, we’ve been able to grow our online sales nearly 62% by having the right infrastructure in place to handle that volume without crippling our in-store operations or without having to scale our staff.”

Uncle Giuseppe’s already had been using FoodStorm to manage catering and meal orders at its stores when the tech company was acquired by Instacart.

“Now, with Carrot Order Ahead, we have a more connected and simplified experience that allows us to be more innovative and go above and beyond for our in-store associates and customers,” McVeigh added.

An end-to-end solution, FoodStorm allows retailers to automate their entire catering and prepared foods operations — from ordering and production to payment and fulfillment — and manage it centrally. The platform accepts orders over multiple channels (online, phone and in-store kiosk) and integrates with a wide range of third-party systems, including point-of-sale solutions. Customer relationship management (CRM) functionality also helps grocers gather feedback, market their offerings and leverage promotional tools.

Other food retailers that had adopted the FoodStorm platform the Instacart acquisition including DeCicco & Sons, Caraluzzi’s Markets, Fruit Center Marketplace, Village Market, Cardiff Seaside Market, Roche Bros., Mollie Stone’s Markets, Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lover’s Markets (both chains part of Albertsons Cos.), Draeger’s Market, Bi-Rite Market and Janssen’s Market.

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