Walmart, Target and H-E-B have curbside grocery pick-up, and starting this week, so do both Central Markets.
Thanks to Instacart, FreshDirect and PeaPod, shoppers around the country have been able to get their groceries delivered for a few years now, but in the past few years, Austin has seen an explosion in delivery options and the slightly less expensive curbside pick-up.
H-E-B has more than 17 curbside pick-up locations in Austin, and many other grocers, including Randalls and Whole Foods, offer some kind of in-store or curbside pick-up. Some stores or locations require you to come inside the store, but many retailers are adding dedicated parking and staff to bring your purchases straight to your car.
And starting later this week, the flagship Central Market store on North Lamar will join the party.
The south location added curbside earlier this month, and the north location will become the sixth of Central Market's 10 stores to offer curbside.
The store is hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday at 11 a.m. to mark the official launch of the service, and the event will also mark the store's 25th anniversary. The Derailers will perform at the cafe; Bevo will be on hand, and a special Longhorns-themed vintage Cadillac, steered by Hook 'Em, will receive the first grocery delivery.
More than 150 H-E-B stores around Texas now offer curbside, with more launching every month. Whole Foods has advertised two-hour in-store pick-up, but H-E-B and Central Market's curbside orders must be placed at least four hours ahead of the pick-up time. Many companies train their curbside and delivery shoppers to pick out good produce or milk that isn't about to expire, but Central Market's general manager Paul Harty says that curbside and delivery customers can make even more specific requests, such as for an avocado that is ripe and ready to eat today along with another avocado that will be ripe in a few days.
No minimum order is required, and the curbside fee is $4.95, with a 3 percent personal shopper fee added to the total. Customers can't leave a tip on curbside orders, but they can on delivery services, which are available at both Central Markets in Austin. (H-E-B, which bought Favor last year, offers home delivery through H-E-B to You, Shipt and Instacart, which also offers delivery from other local grocers, including Costco, Sprouts and Wheatsville. Instacart's partnership with Whole Foods will cease later this year as Whole Foods transitions to using only Amazon Prime for delivery. Randalls offers home delivery through its own fleet of trucks, but it also has a partnership with Instacart.)
Central Market customers can place orders any time and can schedule orders up to seven days in advance. Curbside hours are between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and the pick-up and delivery fees for the first four orders will be waived for customers, the company says.