As restaurants grapple with the challenges of supply chain disruptions and sudden out-of-stock situations, some have found a more convenient solution for restocking essential items: Instacart. The popular grocery delivery company has discovered that a significant portion of its users are small and medium-sized businesses, including restaurants, who have turned to the platform for their restocking needs.
Instacart’s VP of business and supply chain, Andrew Nodes, revealed that the release of pent-up pandemic demand, coupled with supply chain backups, has made it more challenging for busy restaurants to keep their shelves stocked. As a result, many establishments have turned to Instacart to quickly replenish their inventory and avoid the need for employees to physically visit a grocery store or wholesaler.
Embracing this growing segment of business users, Instacart launched a new division called Instacart Business. The division provides a separate experience within the Instacart app, allowing restaurants and other small to medium-sized businesses to create accounts with features tailored to their needs. These accounts offer tools for tax exemptions, invoicing, and product recommendations, including bulk items.
Instacart Business has been processing millions of orders each quarter, according to Nodes. While the company has not disclosed specific details due to its private status, Nodes expressed confidence in the significant opportunity this space offers for growth.
However, Instacart does not intend to disrupt the existing restaurant supply chain. Instead, it aims to complement the current system by providing a convenient option for emergency restocking. Restaurants can use the app to purchase various items, from fresh produce to cleaning supplies and canned goods, from a diverse range of retailers on the platform.
Orders placed by restaurants are fulfilled by “Shoppers,” independent contractors who shop for the items at designated stores and deliver them to the customer’s location. While Instacart’s delivery fees start at $3.99 and vary based on factors like geography and order size, the convenience it offers helps restaurants save valuable time.
Owners of the five-unit Connie’s Chicken & Waffles shared their positive experience with Instacart, stating that the platform saved them approximately 2,000 hours since they started using it for supplies. The owners praised the ease of ordering directly through Instacart, which eliminated the need for frequent visits to Restaurant Depot.
With its new focus on serving small and medium-sized businesses, including restaurants, Instacart aims to further establish itself as a valuable resource for quick and efficient restocking solutions in the foodservice industry.