With ARC closed, Grocery Checkout serving community on Uber Eats

Queen’s location may continue service beyond pandemic 

Demand for Grocery Checkout on Uber Eats has increased each week. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic forced Queen’s campus to close most of its physical spaces, Grocery Checkout continued to serve customers through Uber Eats.

Since April 6, Grocery Checkout has been available on the popular mobile food delivery service, Uber Eats. Customers can purchase the majority of products carried by Grocery Checkout’s location in the ARC, as well as some new ready-made meal options. 

“We contacted several companies to help us get products to our customers while they are at home,” Chris Asselstine, Grocery Checkout store manager, wrote in a statement to The Journal. “We found our representative at Uber Eats very helpful. They made the process quick and easy, which is what we needed during these challenging times.”

According to Asselstine, the demand has been very strong so far and increased each week, with a large number of customers returning to the service. The majority of customers have ordered fresh perishable items, like fruits and vegetables.

With demand so high, Asselstine wrote that Grocery Checkout “presumes” this service will continue after the pandemic when students return to campus.

“So far the response has been very encouraging. We have had extremely good feedback,” Asselstine added. 

A few students remain on staff at Grocery Checkout to fill Uber Eats orders. To ensure the safety of their staff and customers, Grocery Checkout has been following the health guidelines dictated by the Canadian government and the World Health Organization. 

The store has increased the number of hand sanitization stations for staff and customers, provided masks for staff to use while working, limited the number of workers and customers in the store, increased sanitization of high touch surfaces, and installed plexiglass shields at cashpoints to protect cashiers while customers are checking out.

“[Students] have been a big driving force behind this initiative and the work they have done is exceptional,” Asselstine wrote.

Grocery Checkout has been using their Queen’s location as a pilot for all of their on-campus stores. In light of the positive feedback, they launched the Uber Eats delivery option at York University on April 20.

They have also considered introducing their own delivery service and system of online ordering, according to Asselstine. Currently, they are in the process of developing a beta website that will allow them to offer direct online ordering in the future. 

“Uber is an exceptionally convenient service, but there is a high cost to us as a retailer for this convenience,” Asselstine wrote. “For customers who don’t mind waiting a few extra hours, there would be a cost savings if we [were to] provide the delivery service ourselves.”

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