- Instacart announced on Thursday it has finished integrating FoodStorm, the catering software firm it bought last fall, into its Instacart app.
- “This integration extends our Carrot Order Ahead solution and enables retailers to build a comprehensive online catering, ordering and delivery experience for both their customers and in-store teams,” Instacart Vice President of Product Jeanette Barlow wrote in a company blog post.
- The latest development builds on Instacart’s moves into the meals space, from adding direct-to-consumer (DTC) and meal kit companies to its marketplace to launching an in-app hub for ready-made meals from grocers.
High inflation is prompting more customers to turn to grocers for easy meal solutions instead of restaurant takeout, but grocers often grapple with challenges online in meeting that demand, Barlow noted.
Barlow said Instacart has seen a nearly 20% increase in customer searches for “catering” on its app and retailer-branded sites in the first half of this year compared to the same period a year ago.
“For grocers who are also facing economic pressure, prepared food and catering items are typically some of the most profitable items sold in-store. Easier ordering of prepared catering items has become increasingly important to both grocers and their customers,” Barlow wrote.
Instacart is aiming to streamline the ordering process for catering and meals and make it less labor-intensive by adding FoodStorm’s technology to its services. Instacart’s customers can now order catering alongside grocery items.
With FoodStorm’s software, grocers can have an omnichannel catering experience that allows customers to make purchases online, by phone, email or through in-store kiosks. Instacart’s retail partners also get “comprehensive order management” with the technology and now have the ability to bring their FoodStorm catering catalogs to the Instacart App, Barlow noted.
Instacart said Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, a specialty grocery chain in New York and New Jersey, is the first retailer to merge its use of FoodStorm’s order management system with its storefront on the Instacart App.
During peak times, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas, FoodStorm has allowed the chain to take on more orders and expand menus, Russell McVeigh, catering director at Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, said in a promotional video for Instacart. The grocer’s online meals and catering sales have grown up to 62%, depending on the holiday, McVeigh noted.
In February, Instacart teamed up with South Asian food marketplace Quicklly to sell ship-to-home meal offerings. This expanded the grocery technology company’s DTC and meal kit partners on its marketplace, such as online meat seller ButcherBox and alcohol e-commerce platform Drinks. At the start of the year, Instacart announced Ready Meals, an in-app tab merchandising ready-made meals from grocery stores. For that feature, Instacart leveraged FoodStorm’s technology.