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Local Businesses Fulfill Grocery Orders As Online Delivery Services Overwhelmed During Pandemic

DUBLIN (KPIX 5) -- As the Bay Area shelter-in-place enters its second month, many people are trying to use online grocery delivery services. But many of the services, like Instacart, Safeway grocery delivery and Amazon Fresh, are experiencing overwhelming demand and don't have many delivery times available.

Some local businesses are now changing their models to meet the growing need for "contactless" groceries.

INC 82 Brewing in Dublin was forced to close their tasting room because of the shelter-in-place order. In the past two weeks, they've gone from brewing beer to fulfilling grocery orders.

"Thank you. Have a good day!" said John Samples as he put a bag of groceries in the trunk of a customer's car. Samples opened INC 82 Brewing three years ago and worried the shelter-in-place order could put them out of business.

"We had about 30 employees that I had to let know that I can't really keep you guys on, so I did end up laying them off," said Samples. But as he looked at the food available from his wholesalers, he found a way to pivot.

"Since lot of restaurants closed their dining rooms, the food vendors have a lot of food, so we can get the items that the grocery stores can't get," said Samples.

He's now hired back 75% of the staff to help with the grocery business.

Eggs are now stocked on top of kegs. The walk-in refrigerator that was once reserved for their finest craft beers is now filled with loaves of bread, stacks of English muffins and trays of meat and produce.

"It's so worth it to be able to support a local business and not have to go into a store," said Cameron Sullivan as she drove up to pick up her grocery order.

Here's how it works: go on the INC 82 website, order what you want from their list of items, pull up outside, and someone will gather your food, bag it, and deliver it right into the back of your car.

"I thought it was a fabulous idea and now I heard that other restaurants are starting to do it," said Judy Fontaine as she waited for her groceries to be loaded.

toilet paper grocery store fulfillment (CBS)
At INC 82, Samples says their supply of paper products is their competitive advantage. (CBS)

California Pizza Kitchen is offering meal kits along with bread, juice, and pasta. Lazy Dog Restaurants are offering different kits as well, like backyard BBQ, Pizza Night, and Brunch.

Edible Arrangements will deliver boxes of fresh fruits and vegetables. Panera Bread is offering household staples as well.

At INC 82, Samples says their supply of paper products is their competitive advantage.

"Toilet paper and paper towels...definitely, definitely a hit," be says.

INC 82 Brewing will continue to do drive up grocery service until the shelter in place is over. As soon as they can start brewing again, their focus will be back on the beer.

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