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Grocery Delivery Service Now Available in Central Arkansas

Instacart Grocery Delivery Arkansas

Little Rock-based Chef Shuttle seemed to be the only option for restaurant and food delivery in central and Northwest Arkansas until May 2017 when owner and founder Ryan Herget sold the popular website to Minneapolis-based BiteSquad. Since then, the food delivery market has quickly grown with Waitr joining the ranks and Grubhub getting its first restaurant on board. It looks like Yelp Eat24, Beyond Menu and UberEATS are not far behind.

If you enjoy eating restaurant food, but would rather do it at home, it looks like you will soon have a great deal of options. The newest technology in food delivery convenience released in central Arkansas is the grocery delivery app Instacart.

Amazon has been playing this game for a while, but options for Arkansans are limited to mostly non-perishable items. The most convenient grocery options so far are order online and pickup options from retailers like Kroger and Walmart.

San Francisco-based Instacart recently started service in central Arkansas. Currently participating stores include Whole Foods, Kroger, Natural Grocers, Petco and CVS. The available options depend on how close the stores are to your zip code.

Instacart offers same-day deliveries in as little as one hour and the cost of a delivery for an order of $35 or more is $5.99 and up. All orders must be over $10.

Pricing for each store varies. Some retailers add an upcharge to “cover the cost of the Instacart service,” according to the fine print on the app. And, as discovered after an order from Whole Foods, they all charge a 10 percent service fee, which is not readily apparent until checkout. While our test delivery fee was waived since it was our first order, the 10 percent service fee was added.

Another charge that’s a bit hidden is the tip. You would think after a decent delivery fee, possible product upcharges and a 10 percent service fee, there couldn’t possibly be any more charges. You would be wrong. There is no mention of a driver tip during checkout, which leads the customer to believe it’s absorbed in the Instacart fees. It isn’t. After your delivery (which took less than an hour in our case) you are prompted to provide a driver tip of another 10 to 20 percent.

Since this service is the first to jump into the grocery delivery game here, we can hope the charges will be lowered after it gains more customers.

Instacart Little Rock

Instacart is a new grocery delivery service in Central Arkansas

Overall, the app is easy to use and has some great filtering capabilities, like searching for products made in-house and filtering by lowest to highest price for a particular product.

In the case of Whole Foods, the personal shopper communicated well on items that weren’t available or needed to be substituted. Unfortunately, several items were unavailable. If you’re short on time or have dietary restrictions, this can make things difficult. The personal shopper does, however, tell you exactly what other product and brand they can substitute, which is helpful.

Coupons and sales are offered for most of the stores to try to help offset some of the costs. If you’re really stretched for time or can’t get out of the house, delivery is a great option. Just remember – you pay for convenience.

Here’s a breakdown of the details for each available store in our zip code:

Whole Foods

  • Delivery Fee: $5.99, plus a 10 percent service fee
  • Product Upcharge: Unclear. The fine print notes that prices and item availability may change without notice, but prices do seem to reflect most in-store prices.
  • Available Hours: 7 days a week 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Coupon Savings: Yes

Kroger

  • Delivery Fee: $7.99, plus a 10 percent service fee
  • Product Upcharge: Yes. According the fine print, “A markup is added it item prices to cover cost of Instacart services.”
  • Available Hours: 7 days a week 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Coupon Savings: Yes

Natural Grocers

  • Delivery Fee: $5.99, plus a 10 percent service fee
  • Product Upcharge: No
  • Available Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Coupon Savings: Yes

Petco

  • Delivery Fee: $7.99, plus 10 percent service charge
  • Product Upcharge: No
  • Available Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Coupon Savings: No, but there are lots of sale items available.

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