Retailers

Instacart Acquires Catering Software Company FoodStorm

Grocery platform seeks to provide greater automation to retail partners
Instacart Acquires FoodStorm
Photograph courtesy of Instacart

Instacart has acquired FoodStorm, a SaaS order management system that powers end-to-end order-ahead and catering experiences for grocery retailers. With this acquisition, the grocery platform aims to expand its enterprise technology portfolio to further support its retail partners’ e-commerce needs, investing in more innovative technology solutions that help retailers grow, compete, and better meet the evolving needs of their customers, says the company.

FoodStorm’s software automates the entire catering/prepared foods ordering, production, payment and fulfillment process from one centralized system, streamlining what has historically been a labor-intensive and inefficient process for retailers.

The company’s SaaS offering covers multi-channel ordering including e-commerce, phone or in-store kiosk, as well as order management, and payment and fulfillment. Its technology also integrates easily with a large variety of third-party systems including point of service systems (POS), and offers CRM capabilities that help grocers collect feedback, market their offerings and leverage promotional features, says FoodStorm.

As WGB reported in August, Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace reports having doubled its catering sales since adopting the FoodStorm software. Other grocers, such as Mollie Stone’s Market, have found success with holiday catering order fulfillment by partnering with FoodStorm.

Founded 14 years ago, FoodStorm currently has partnerships with a number of Instacart’s existing retail partners including Albertsons Co.’s banners Balducci’s and Kings Food Markets; Bi-Rite Market; Mollie Stone’s; Uncle Giuseppe’s; and Roche Brothers.

Instacart says it plans to make FoodStorm’s technology available to more retailers moving forward. In addition to acquiring FoodStorm’s technology and tools, Instacart has also welcomed the FoodStorm team, which is based in the U.S. and Melbourne, Australia, to its San Francisco-based company.

“As a retailer enablement platform, Instacart is focused on growing our partners’ businesses by investing in innovative new technologies and services that deliver significant value to them and their customers,” said Mark Schaaf, chief technology officer, Instacart, in a release. “Our goal is to help our retail partners increase their sales and ensure more of their customers’ everyday meals come from the grocery store.

“For retailers, this new enterprise solution helps them bring even more of their inventory online, enhance their e-commerce capabilities, grow their business and meet the evolving needs of their customers,” Schaaf continued. “And, for customers, this unlocks a healthier, more affordable alternative to restaurant delivery—creating an easier way for people to order prepared foods online directly from their favorite grocers.”

Based on customer behavior on its grocery platform, Instacart reports that order-ahead technology solutions provide grocery retailers with a significant growth opportunity. On the Instacart platform, customers who purchase prepared foods and catering items like hot and cold side dishes, cakes and sushi from the grocery store have significantly larger baskets and shop more frequently than those customers who do not, says the company.

What's more, for retailers, order-ahead items and prepared foods are also typically more profitable than traditional groceries like produce and packaged goods, the company adds.

“This is a huge growth opportunity for grocers, and we’ve seen increased demand for our products as more customers are searching for seamless online and in-store ordering capabilities,” said FoodStorm CEO Rob Hill. “Grocery is an incredibly complex retail category, making the need for enterprise-grade solutions like FoodStorm and Instacart critical to the long-term success of the industry we all rely on to put food on our tables. We’re excited about this next chapter as we join the Instacart team and create new ways for retailers to serve the ever-changing needs of their businesses and customers.”

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