Best Grocery Pick-up and Delivery Sites in Austin

grocery

We all know the ills of going to the grocery store with kids: long lines, tantrums in Aisle 2, littles getting lost and the rare but all-too-familiar abandoning of a full basket after a half-hour of shopping because of a code red meltdown.

Well, it’s high-time to explore an alternative: drive-up grocery pick-up and even grocery delivery services. Amazon Prime is amazing for regular scheduled diaper shipments, but getting those farm-fresh fruits and veggies hand-delivered to your doorstep is another story.

Here are Austin’s best options for getting groceries without ever having to leave the carseat:

  1.  H-E-B

    Yes, you’ve read that right folks: H-E-B is beginning to roll out curbside grocery pick-up! It’s currently only available in Austin at the Lakeline H-E-B Plus! location. They aren’t really even advertising it yet because it’s such a new service and they are working out the kinks. But, hold on to your hats because “H-E-B Curbside” is a thing, y’all. For a $5 fee, a personal shopper will gather and pack everything from your online shopping list and bring it out to you. Just select a personal pick-up time when submitting your order and voila! Someone will come out with your essentials (even cold cuts!) and load them up in your car.

    Negatives: you cannot add to or change your order once you click “finished,” order mistakes were made on the store’s part which resulted in a return trip to fix, and some moms experienced a bit longer wait time for someone to come out with their goods.

  2. Wal-Mart:

    Who knew? Wal-Mart now does curbside grocery pick-up, too!  Same concept as H-E-B but I’m hearing the service is a bit more flawless and is available at Wal-Mart Supercenters across Austin.  Another huge plus is that it’s totally free — absolutely no service fees or marks-ups and tipping is discouraged. And, you can make edits on your order up ’til 1 a.m. the night before pick-up. I hear that one location a friend of mine shops at has the same associate handling the shopping on these curbside orders and she takes pride in selecting the best produce, just as you would do as if in the store yourself.

  3. Instacart:

    What is that you say? You don’t want to be confined to H-E-B or Wal-Mart produce?  — You don’t even want to leave your home to acquire your goods? Enter Instacart: providing same-day delivery (or whenever you want) from other grocery stores, including my personal favorite — Whole Foods Market. Now, there are a few nuances to note: there is an order minimum of $35 (in my zip code, anyway), items can sometimes be priced slightly higher than they are in-store, there’s this tricky thing they call ‘Busy Pricing’ similar to surge pricing on Uber, there is a delivery charge, and tipping is automatically added-on at a default amount of 10 percent. Humph, that’s a a lot of things to note.

    If your average grocery bill is $100 like me, the cost of modern convenience can really add up. But, it’s delivery y’all…I don’t even have to pause the new season of Orange Is The New Black to get my groceries.

What is your favorite grocery pick-up or delivery?

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2 Responses to Best Grocery Pick-up and Delivery Sites in Austin

  1. AnonWorker March 22, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

    There is no included tip of 10 % for Instacart. That actually goes to the company so they can “pay better wages” Please tip your drivers in cash or go into the options and tip them online.

  2. Denise McDonald August 17, 2017 at 4:56 pm #

    I have used InstaCart.com and now HEB Curbside pickup (HEBtoYou.com) in Austin, TX. Here’s my rundown:

    InstaCart has an approximate 15% average markup on your total order. There is also a $6.00 pick charge and of course, you really have to tip the driver or else you’re a heel since they are self employed and make absolutely no money if you don’t tip. On an average grocery shopping trip of $150.00, add $22.50 markup, $6.00 pick charge, and 10% tip of $15.00. That’s an added cost of $43.50 (30% more overall).

    If you normally spend $150 a week at the grocery store, times 52 weeks a year, that means Instacart costs you an extra $2,262.00 per year. If you have plenty of money and you don’t mind the extra cost, then it’s a great service. It’s super convenient. I highly recommend it.

    Generally, they are on time, professional and accurate, although there have been some dumb mistakes. I went to fix BLTs one night during the week and went to pull my head of lettuce out of the drawer only to discover that it was actually a head of cabbage! That was a real bummer. I have also gotten a surprise box of 24 Eggo waffles that I didn’t order, which was a bonus to me and probably a real bummer for the person who didn’t get their waffles. I have also gotten melted ice cream (as in liquid ice cream). I showed it to the guy and he said “you can call customer service and they’ll refund you.” That’s all fine and good, but I am still without the ice cream that I wanted.

    Bottom Line Review of InstaCart: I would definitely use it if I am sick, nursing an injury, sick kids at home or if I just couldn’t make it to the store but I wouldn’t use it every week due to the significant extra cost.

    HEB Curbside is new to our area (Bee Cave, TX) so we were happy to try it. It differs from Instacart in that they do NOT deliver to your home. You place your order online at HEBtoYou.com (at least the night before) and then go to HEB to pick up at your chosen date/time. They have specific parking spots marked. You pull into one of those spots and text your spot number. They come out and put your groceries in your trunk.

    The markup on groceries at HEB is 3%. At this time our store says they are not accepting tips (pending HEB coming up with a policy). The pick charge is $5.00 but it is waived for your first 4 pickups. So on the same $150.00 grocery trip example used for Instacart above, HEB Curbside would cost you an extra $4.50 markup and $5.00 pick charge or a total of $9.50. For 52 weeks (1 year) it would cost you an extra $494.00 (compared to $2262.00 extra for Instacart).

    So far the HEB experience has been good but they are still getting things figured out, I think. For example, you get a text saying your order is ready for pickup at your chosen time, you arrive and text them and you get an immediate text back saying they will be right out with your groceries. In reality it takes about 15 minutes before they are loading up your trunk. This has been the same on both of our tries with the service. I’m not sure where the issue lies. Is the order really not ready? Are the employees just not doing what they are supposed to be doing? It definitely wasn’t that they were busy making other deliveries because we were the only ones pulled into the Curbside pickup parking spots. Not sure, but it’s not great sitting in an idling car for 15 minutes in 100 degree weather.

    The other thing is that HEB doesn’t have an app yet. It’s just a website where you place your order. The Instacart app has it all over the HEB website. For example, on Instacart you can put a comment into each item (like if you want green bananas, firm avocados, ripe peaches, etc.). HEB has no note area on the mobile version of the website at all. If you go to their site from a desktop computer, there is one general note area at the very end of checkout. Also, if something is out of stock and needs to be substituted on Instacart, you get a message on your phone telling you of the substitution and you reply back to say yay or nay. On HEB you get a text saying there is a substitution and asking you to reply back to accept or decline but they don’t tell you which item is out of stock nor what they want to substitute it with! It’s kind of crazy. How can I accept something with no information at all on what they are even talking about?

    Overall, I am going to continue using HEB Curbside because it is nice to not have to do the shopping myself and stand in line waiting to check out. It’s worth 3% for me to have that convenience. I do hope they get an app and that it has a notation feature, the substitution info on the texts and that they tighten up the waiting time once you arrive for pickup. I would use Instacart for special occasions when I really want or need home delivery but it is too expensive to use regularly.

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