Publix Super Markets and Instacart have rolled out the online grocery provider’s Instacart Meals service chainwide, creating a “digital deli counter” with same-day delivery.
Instacart unveiled the Instacart Meals offering in January with a Publix pilot of the new capability in Orlando, Fla., focusing on made-to-order sub sandwiches — known as “Pub Subs” — in the deli department. The following weeks saw the service launch at Publix stores across Florida, and yesterday Instacart said the digital deli was available at nearly all of the retailer’s 1,251 stores in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.
Through Instacart Meals, Publix customers can go online to build their own 'Pub Sub' from a variety of breads, meats, cheeses, veggies and condiments and have it prepared for store pickup or delivery. (Image courtesy of Instacart)
Instacart Meals enables Publix customers to order prepared food online from its digital deli and then pick it up from the store or have it delivered in as soon as two hours. Key features include build-your-own functionality so customers can order food how they want it, plus integration with a store’s order management system to coordinate the timing of food preparation and pickup.
In addition, when customers add a made-to-order item to their cart, Instacart Meals automatically applies eligible combo options and discounts through its Smart Cart Combos feature, allowing customers to get the deals and savings available in stores. For example, Instacart said the rollout with Publix makes the grocer's signature sub combo deal — which includes a sandwich, drink and bag of chips — available online for the first time.
To mark the Instacart Meal rollout at Publix, a joint promotion will enable the first 500 customers who buy a Publix Sub via Instacart on July 16 to unlock access to a free, limited-edition “Team Pub Sub” T-shirt. Winners will receive an email with a link to redeem the free shirt by the end of July 23. The promo is limited to one T-shirt per Instacart account, while supplies last.
“With the expansion of Instacart Meals, we’re excited to make it easier than ever for Publix customers to enjoy their favorite Pub Sub delivered to their homes or ready for curbside pickup in as fast as two hours,” Maria Brous, director of communications at Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, said in a statement. “We’re excited to gift our most loyal customers an exclusive piece of wearable Pub Sub pride.”
San Francisco-based Instacart noted that Instacart Meals makes it easier for customers to order specialty counter items online — along with groceries and household essentials — and pick them up at a store or received them via home delivery. The expansion with Publix signals Instacart’s ongoing foray into grocery meal delivery, helping retailers bring more in-store aisles and experiences online, the e-grocery giant said.
When Instacart Meals was announced, Instacart President Nilam Ganenthiran said made-to-order food represent as much as 15% of sales for the company’s grocery retail partners and has among the highest margins of anything sold in-store.
Publix has seen strong uptake of Instacart Meals since its launch, with customers ordering enough Pub Subs to span 758 football fields, “which tells us that people appreciate the convenience and options,” according to Neera Chatterjee, senior Product manager at Instacart.
“Instacart’s digital deli counter’s ‘build your own’ and Smart Cart Combo features enable online customers to build their Pub Sub with endless combinations and take advantage of Publix’s signature money-saving sub combo,” Chatterjee commented.